Not an actual exorcism but you’ll get the joke in a minute.
As you should know by now triple convicted child killer Damien Echols lives in Salem, Massachusetts because he’s a 13-year-old goth girl. A few weeks ago a screening of Echols’ ‘documentary’ West of Memphis was held and the following day Echols participated in a forum called “Truth in Documentaries”. I know, sometimes the jokes write themselves.
Before the film was screened in Salem Todd Moore, father of West Memphis 3 victim Michael Moore, wrote a letter to the Salem News voicing his displeasure with the Salem Film Fest glorifying Echols and rightly so. Mr. Moore still lives in Arkansas so I imagine attending the film or discussion would be very difficult. Enter Mike Blatty.
Mr. Blatty is a resident of Salem, Mass. and just happens to be the son of author William Peter Blatty who penned, The Exorcist. I know, a long way for that reference but stay with me. In the interest of transparency, Mr. Blatty and I have briefly exchanged e-mails in the past about our mutual opinions of Echols. Mr. Blatty attended the forum where Echols appeared and I just had to share his story…
Interesting experience a short while ago at a “Truth in Documentaries” discussion at Salem Visitor Center at which Mr. Echols was one of the speakers. Also on hand was a film critic and two REAL filmmakers, so the creepy factor was about 50/50. Mr. Echols, who apparently recognized me at the back of the auditorium, took a good long look at me before the event started from his seat at the front of the theater. When I draped over the seat directly in front of me a yellow boy scout scarf in honor of little Michael Moore whom he has pleaded guilty to murdering, it was like the effect of garlic or wolfbane on a werewolf as he studiously avoided making eye contact with me for the entire conference, even when I was directing a question to him.
Things got off to an ironic start when one of the panelists (a very nice lady whose name I don’t recall) invited everyone to come up to the front rows as there were only about 30 of us in an auditorium that accommodates hundreds. I chose to stay at the rear for safety’s sake. This nice lady then said, “Don’t worry, you can come closer – none of us bites!” And then looked briefly in the direction of Echols to her left and said, “At least I don’t think so. Anyway, I don’t!” Made me wonder if she is even aware of his well-documented history of having sucked the blood of a schoolmate who had cut himself which led, in part, to his being hospitalized some time prior to his murders.
Echols, when he spoke, recited his usual memorized, robotic speech about how his jury thought he was satanic and the justice system tries to kill you and you can’t trust what you read in the press and blah blah blah. It was so clear to me that this was a canned speech he has given probably a thousand times in the last few months.
The good news is that, judging by so meager a turnout at which Echols was present as a panelist, it would appear that his 15 minutes of fame in Salem at least are nearly over.
Silly me for imagining that documentaries are supposed to be about conveying the truth about the topic under consideration!
First Mr. Blatty let me say bravo in your tribute to Michael Moore. I only wish I could have joined you as I would have loved to have seen the look on his face when it happened. It was almost like an exorcism. What I really take away from Mr. Blatty’s story is the attendance. Thirty in a room that seats hundreds. Much like his appearance in Memphis Echols’ ‘celebrity’ is waning.
Echols thinks he’s a big fish because he has tons of supporters through the films and the internet and us ‘nons’ as they refer to us are just a vocal minority. That’s true. However, in the grand scheme of things people outside of Echols’ ever-shrinking sphere of influence have never even heard of him and if they heard or read the stories they would think he was guilty too. Echols may have the support of such celebrities like Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder but I bet it eats at him that no matter how hard he tries he’ll never be them. Then his house of cards built on the blood of three innocent children will come crashing down around him.
You know I remember another guy with a following who wanted to have rock star type status. He even wore douchey sunglasses.
It didn’t turn out well for him either.
Thanks to Joe for the tip.