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"Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

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"Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

Old 09-22-15, 11:50 PM
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"Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18





Stigmata (1999)



Selected by shellebelle



IMDB ENTRY

ALYXSTARR LINK

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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.
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2015 DISCUSSION | 2015 LISTS


Last edited by Chad; 10-01-15 at 08:40 PM.
Old 09-30-15, 05:13 PM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

I saw Stigmata twice when it was in movie theaters (once when I walked out of the super boring 6th Sense) and really enjoyed it when it came out. There's some now dated 90s trendiness (the paranormal investigator, and that music) but it's an unusual horror film and the ending is smart.

I've been a lifelong atheist and Stigmata answered some questions about religion that had always bothered me - how it was that Jesus *had* to die "for our sins;" and gaudy cathedrals. Stigmata illustrates the need for direct messages to get beyond establishments and offer hope of redemption by circumventing authority; not that it made me a believer. It's an ambitious film that seems uniquely critical of religion but also empowering of it. Ultimately it seems to "bite off more than it can chew" by offering religious criticisms to those not likely searching for them in a horror movie or being so based on that overly general commentary it might alienate gore hounds.
Old 10-18-15, 04:49 AM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

I hadn't seen this in about 10 years. And I'd remembered it as much better back then. It feels like I just watched a 90-minute music video. Long slow motion scenes of rain falling indoors, hundreds of lit candles, papers blowing in the wind, and doves fluttering around.

I'm not sure you can call this a horror film. Sure, the film has enough blood to get an R rating. But there isn't a single attempt to scare the viewer. Not even a phony jump scare.
Old 10-19-15, 01:08 AM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

Wow, but it's quiet in here!

I saw this when it first hit home video and thought that it was worthwhile. It's not the greatest thing that I've ever seen, but it's not a waste of time, either. I liked the music; if I can find the soundtrack cheaply enough I may grab a copy. What I found interesting is that the suppressed gospel as seen in the film is pretty much what Protestants believe, anyway. The Bible doesn't say anything about churches being made of stone, or having to have an intermediary between the average person and God. It seems to me that the whole foundation of the film is a spurious argument.

Still, besides all of the doctrinal stuff, it's an interesting movie. I did find myself wishing that Patricia Arquette's character had taken about half of her candle budget and hired someone to fix her leaky ceiling.
Old 10-19-15, 01:20 AM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

Originally Posted by Undeadcow
I saw Stigmata twice when it was in movie theaters (once when I walked out of the super boring 6th Sense) and really enjoyed it when it came out. There's some now dated 90s trendiness (the paranormal investigator, and that music) but it's an unusual horror film and the ending is smart.

I've been a lifelong atheist and Stigmata answered some questions about religion that had always bothered me - how it was that Jesus *had* to die "for our sins;" and gaudy cathedrals. Stigmata illustrates the need for direct messages to get beyond establishments and offer hope of redemption by circumventing authority; not that it made me a believer. It's an ambitious film that seems uniquely critical of religion but also empowering of it. Ultimately it seems to "bite off more than it can chew" by offering religious criticisms to those not likely searching for them in a horror movie or being so based on that overly general commentary it might alienate gore hounds.
As a believer, the movie treads on a handful of interesting ideas but in an overly superficial manner that ended up undermining any sort of statement or power it might have delivered. I wouldn't get your Christian theology or history from Stigmata, it's a very slanted movie in those terms.

Aside from the message, I was mildly let down by this movie. I remember seeing the trailer and excitedly watching it at the theater, only to realize all the good bits had been used in the trailer. I guess I was expecting something closer to The Exorcist, Stigmata is light on explicit horror and feels distinctly feminine.

Last edited by PhantomStranger; 10-19-15 at 10:48 PM.
Old 10-19-15, 08:27 AM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

Interesting thoughts everyone. As a believer until very recently it made me think, but also made me wish it was heavier on horror or Exorcist-like content.
Old 10-19-15, 09:52 AM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

Re-watched Stigmata last night and it has admirable energy with nicely dripping gore and a premise that is ambitious (person spontaneously splashed blood everywhere, no clear external conflict). There's not a lot of substance there and the priest's devotion to Stigmata girl is questionable so while I didn't enjoy it as much as when it first came out still found it interesting. Stigmata gets too preachy shoehorning a lukewarm at best religious message instead of selling the conflict at hand, even the reveal at the end is dismissed in favor of 'educating' people about the lost gospel. It shows potentially interesting 'shades of gray' that a beloved and respected priest would resort to such extremes as possessing the girl in a gruesome way to convey the message of the hidden gospel but those moral (ends justify the means?) elements seem under-developed. Also, the head priest seemed too one dimensional, it's assumed he wants to subvert religious details/text to maintain the status quo but that doesn't make sense.

It's a shame they don't make ballsy religious horror films like Exorcist, The Sentinel, Stigmata, etc enough any more...
Old 10-19-15, 09:17 PM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

Must be my turn to question the "horror"ness of a subset pick...!

Originally Posted by Undeadcow
Stigmata illustrates the need for direct messages to get beyond establishments and offer hope of redemption by circumventing authority; not that it made me a believer. It's an ambitious film that seems uniquely critical of religion but also empowering of it. Ultimately it seems to "bite off more than it can chew" by offering religious criticisms to those not likely searching for them in a horror movie or being so based on that overly general commentary it might alienate gore hounds.
I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I agree that one of its strongest aspects was that it was very critical of ORGANISED religion (i.e. Catholicism), but utterly clear that most kf the underlying structure and Truth was True. Which is rare on both counts, and very intereating to see done this way in this kind of film.

It seemed like a religious manifesto/creed wrapped up in a conspiracy thriller, and I was particularly interested that the inspiration was the Nag Hammadi texts. Since the film came out, there's been a big to-do over the Gospel of Judas, and multiple translations of the NH Gospel of Thomas, plus a slew of pop-religion books - old and new - accessible to normal people (Bart Ehrman, Geza Vermes et al.) and it's especially nice that this film addition wasn't crazy-conspiracy Dan Brown rubbish, but actually reasonably fairly handled possible-probable "unexplained" phenomena and possession.

Might have to buy this one. Good choice!
Old 10-19-15, 09:20 PM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

Originally Posted by rbrown498
What I found interesting is that the suppressed gospel as seen in the film is pretty much what Protestants believe, anyway. The Bible doesn't say anything about churches being made of stone, or having to have an intermediary between the average person and God. It seems to me that the whole foundation of the film is a spurious argument.
True, it's basically the case against Catholicism rather than religion.

Originally Posted by rbrown498
Still, besides all of the doctrinal stuff, it's an interesting movie. I did find myself wishing that Patricia Arquette's character had taken about half of her candle budget and hired someone to fix her leaky ceiling.
Me too!
Old 10-19-15, 09:26 PM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

Originally Posted by Undeadcow
Also, the head priest seemed too one dimensional, it's assumed he wants to subvert religious details/text to maintain the status quo but that doesn't make sense.
Sadly, it really does. If you've built a life (and a fairly cushy one) on a particular set of values that you can quote as being from a higher power and then use to order people around... you would not be at all happy to have the very basis of what you believe/use questioned and thoroughly revised.

And that's just ANY questioning/revision - the specifics here were that "Jesus said... cut out the middle man". As in HIS ENTIRE ROLE (and three-quarters of his religion's trappings - buildings, priests). And having that suggestion coming as a direct JESUS. SAID... is rather unequivocal. Hence: suppress, deny, ignore and hope it stays under the carpet..
Old 10-23-15, 11:16 AM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

Wow, surprised that a lot of people liked this one. I thought the marketing trailers were great but when I saw it in theaters it sucked balls.

The demonic possession was misleading in that in the trailers they used a different voice in the possession than what was used in the final.

The trailers made it seem that Arquette's character would get possessed by the devil or demon and ultimately it was just a priest.

In any event I have not seen the film since theaters.
Old 10-28-15, 08:37 PM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

I wasn't a fan of this movie at all. I think the comparison to music videos was an apt one. I kept thinking of that as I watched, especially all the rapid editing scenes. Ultimately, it didn't feel like there was much there. It seemed sort of empty to me, despite the fact that it was trying to tackle some big issues. Like Why So Blu? says I remember that the trailers for this were very effective back in the day, but I never got around to watching it, probably because of the abysmal reviews it received.

The dubbing when Patricia Arquette's character was possessed was also laughably bad. It took me out of the moment each time because that voice was clearly not coming out of that woman's body. I don't know if that was the fault of Arquette's performance or if falls on the filmmakers. I lean toward the filmmakers.
Old 10-29-15, 04:15 AM
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Re: "Stigmata" Reviews/Discussion - 2015 Horror Challenge: Day 18

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger
As a believer, the movie treads on a handful of interesting ideas but in an overly superficial manner that ended up undermining any sort of statement or power it might have delivered. I wouldn't get your Christian theology or history from Stigmata, it's a very slanted movie in those terms.

Aside from the message, I was mildly let down by this movie. I remember seeing the trailer and excitedly watching it at the theater, only to realize all the good bits had been used in the trailer. I guess I was expecting something closer to The Exorcist, Stigmata is light on explicit horror and feels distinctly feminine.
Agreed with what I bolded there. As a person that believes in Christianity this movie def made me cringe a few times. Sometimes because of the visuals, but also because of how misleading and bad it was. The biggest issue (besides the whole stigmata thing itself) is that I don't think a priest would go into a body of another human being.

Roger Ebert called it "possibly the funniest movie ever made about Catholicism from a theological point of view." And I got to kind of agree with that. It's a slow burn movie with some good visuals and kind of ok acting at times, but the religious side of this is just so bad and if I wasn't a believer, would be laughable.

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