Thursday, March 21, 2019

The French Cat Massacre! (True Life Horror)

I stumbled across a mention of the "great French cat massacre" in my many cat readings, and needed to know more. I found a book titled The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History by Robert Darnton at the library that references this disturbing story. Talk about horror!


The original story that Darnton references was written by Nicholas Contat in the 1760s. He wrote about being a printer's apprentice in the 1730s France.

***It's disturbing, so I'm issuing a trigger warning now.***

Contat wrote about how the apprentices were treated horribly and suffered at the hands of their master and his wife~ who never worked. The apprentices were relegated to sleeping on a dirty floor, unable to sleep, and ate scraps left over from the 25 beloved cats that roamed the building. The cats were cared for by the wife and treated with high regard. Of course, the apprentices resented the cats. They would get in the way of work and keep them up yowling at all hours. 

The apprentices had a plan. To yowl above their master's chamber and blame the noise on the cats. After a few days of interrupted sleep, the master told the apprentices to get rid of the cats.

Instead of luring the cats and releasing them to a nearby city, they beat the cats to near death and held a mock "trial" in which the cats were convicted of witchcraft and hung. Yes, you heard that right. There was indeed a massacre, and all the cats were bludgeoned and hung up for the wife to see. Naturally, she got very upset at seeing her furbabies suffering ~ to the amusement of the apprentices. (What kind of monsters are these people? I don't care how much you hate your boss, what did the cats do to you?!) Supposedly, the apprentices talked about how funny it was for years to come. 

They slaughtered the cats to distress their masters as a form of protest. Instead of working, they were killing cats. Instead of killing their masters, they were killing their cats. The take away from this is the poor hated the bourgeoisie and our sense of humor is very different than it was back then.


Here's a plate from the book. I think they are shoving a rod up the butt of a dog. 
WTF is wrong with these people?

Let's put things in a little more context. It was common to torture cats and considered a popular form of amusement in Europe, especially around this time of year. During Mardi Gras in Burgandy, they held charivaris, or a folk custom that incorporates a noisy mock serenade with a group of people through the streets, and the kids would pass around a cat, and rip out it's fur to make it howl. It was called faire le chat. The Germans did a similar thing and called it Katzenmusik aka "cat music".

During the summer solstice bonfires were held in Paris. Crowds would throw magical objects into them to avoid disaster and obtain good fortune for the coming year. (Think Wicker Man). One of the objects was cats. They were tied up in bags, hanging from ropes, or burned at the stake. Parisians incinerated cats by the sackful because cats are symbolic in folklore, they suggest witchcraft. I've written about the connection several times, and it never stops making me think cats are magical but not in a negative way. You can read more about witchcraft and cats in my other blogs...

Under a Cat's Spell: Cats as Familiars

The Anti-Cat Pope

Overabundance of Black Cats









Thursday, March 14, 2019

Movie: Veronica (2017)

Veronica, "scariest" movie on Netflix. Psssh not really, however it IS a good possession film. It's subtitled and takes place in Madrid in 1991, oh an it's based on a TRUE STORY!


***Spoiler Alert***

The movie starts at the end of the story. The police get a phone call from a young girl saying "He's here." (Although the trailer says "It's here.")

Flashback three days prior, we meet Veronica, her three younger siblings that she cares for, her bar owner mom, and we find out her dad died. Her mom spends all of her time at work. Veronica is the kids mother figure with lots of responsibility for her age and no help from anyone else.

Veronica and her two younger sisters go to a Catholic school and her baby brother is presumably in pre-kindergarden. 

It's the day of a solar eclipse and Veronica and her two girl friends skip watching it outside instead to perform a seance in the basement of the school. Innocently, she just wants to talk to her dad again. The board ends up breaking and starting on fire and Veronica becomes possessed and passes out. She wakes up at the nurses office. We then find out she's fifteen and hasn't had her period yet. (Lucky girl.) So yes, this is a type of coming-of-age film too. Following the nurses office, she leaves school for the day and "Sister Death", the blind nun takes notice of her, seemingly watching her when she leaves.



Once home Veronica tries to hide the broken Ouija board but it jumps off the shelf. She sits down for dinner with her siblings and can't maneuver a fork to her mouth. She looses time and control of her body and doesn't know what happened.

We see her bathing her little brother in a beautiful mid century modern bathroom. Yes, I'm possessed by the blue fixtures and poodle pink tile. Simply gorgeous!


But then, she gets locked out of the bathroom and the tub water gets scalding hot and burns his skin. She saves him just in time.

The TV turns on by itself, lights flicker, she has visions, sees shadows...and I should mention this is only 30 minutes into the movie!

She talks to Sister Death since she seems to see things even though she's blind. The nun tells her the "spirit answered her call" oh and that spirit IS NOT her dad.


Veronica tries to take things into her own hands (like she is forced to on a daily basis) and makes the Viking symbols of protection in her siblings rooms, but the demon in her house burns them. Body shapes are burned underneath all of their mattresses. Oddly, she didn't check her mom's mattress but then again her mom is useless and demons don't care about her.


Her sister wakes up in the night by getting choked by Veronica? Veronica still doesn't know what's going on. This is a lot for a fifteen year old to take. She goes back to the only person that listens to her...Sister Death and her advice is "You have to do right what you did wrong." She went back and researched and remembered they never said goodbye after the seance. She goes to her two girlfriends that performed the ritual with her to help her say goodbye to this demon and they are too busy partying to care. (Some friends.) Now Veronica is really becoming unhinged.

She sets up another seance at her house with her sisters to say goodbye and it doesn't go well. She finds out the demon was in her all along and trying to kill her family. She cuts her own throat and sacrifices herself to the demon. The end.



Great acting by the kids. They are charming and likable. The story is solid. Lots of foreboding and creepiness. I give it four out of five black charred demon hands.

Here's the trailer...






Monday, March 11, 2019

Cat Video Fest 2019

Yesterday I was able to see another movie about cats at the North Park Theater. I have written about the theater before when I saw the movie Kedi. This time I went with friends and we watched the Cat Video Fest 2019 on a big screen. What is the Cat Video Fest you might ask? Well it's just that! It's a compilation of the best viral cat videos, music videos, and animations featuring cats! You can only see it in theaters and it raises money for cats in need through partnerships with local cat charities, animal welfare organizations, and shelters.


The North Park again paired with the Ten Lives Club and had kitties in the lobby for adoption, but by the time we got there ~ we saw the later show ~ they were sleepy and napping, so we took in the beauty of the theater.



I recognized some of the cat videos featured, many were new to me, and some were of celebrity cats that I follow on social media. If you get a chance to see the Cat Video Fest, you'll recognize a kitty I had the pleasure of meeting in Buffalo, NY, Lil Bub, but there's so many more! You'll see snappy dresser Pecan the Nut, the kitty dynamic duo of Cole & Marmalade, a nice recognition of Oskar the Blind Wonder Cat's contribution to blind people, his best friend Klaus, and Klaus' new blind sister Juno.


It's just a feel good time. I laughed a lot, of course it helps when you go out with friends that have contagious laughter. If it comes to your town go out an see it, it's a win-win!