APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Hangman’s Curse (2003)

April 9: Easter Sunday – You don’t have to believe to watch and share a religious movie.

No, not Hangman’s Joke, Hangman’s Curse.

The Veritas Project is a privately funded team commissioned by the President — the President, yes! —  that is in charge of supernatural occurrences, mysteries and crimes and looks into them from a Judeo-Christian perspective. They exist in two books, the one that inspired this movie and Nightmare Academy.

Directed by Rafal Zielinski and written by Kathy Mackel and Stan Foster, this takes place at John R. Rogers High School in Spokane, Washington. Ten years ago, Abel Frye got sick of being bullied and hung himself. Now, it seems that his ghost has come back to put the football playing jerks of today into comas thanks to spider-assisted poisoning, a plot straight out of Black Belly of the Tarantula.

We need Christian giallo, right?

The Veritas Project — Nate (David Keith, who is also in Christian Mingle, the movie about the holy hook up company) and Sarah Springfield (Mel Harris, Raising Cane) and their kids Elisha (Leighton Meester, Gossip Girl) and Elijah (Douglas Smith, Big Love) plus Max, a dog that can smell drugs — are here to look into the various arachnid-related comas and the goths that worship Frye and love that he’s finally taking out the students who make their lives so rough every single day.

Back to the giallo, get this plan: every bully has a male spider inside a straw inside their locker and the student targeting them gives them money tainted with female spider pheromones, which causes the spider to emerge from the straw, bite them and give them hallucinations which make them think that the ghost of Frye is killing them.

Elisha figures out all of this and is attacked by the killer and nearly dies from spider bites, as thousands of female spiders have taken over the school. She’s saved by Dr. Algernon Wheeling, who just so happens to be Frank Peretti, who wrote the book.

There are religious mentions here, but it’s not as over the top as many other faith-based movies. Well, praying does save Elisha from the spiders, so that does happen. I’m just amused that they didn’t look too deep into the other films Zielinski made before this, including Recruits, all three Screwballs movies,  Spellcaster and State Park. I mean, Cyrus was a broken vessel too and he ended up being the man who set the Jews free from the Babylonians and helped build the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus did hang out with the sex workers and tax collectors, so maybe He would also enjoy Canadian tax shelter sex movie directors helping to spread the Gospel.

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