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Way down in the hole
March 5, 2004 5:20 PM   Subscribe

John Debney fought with Satan to score "The Passion of the Christ." Literally: "I had all these computers and synthesizers in my studio and the hard drives would go down and the digital picture that lives on the computer with the music would just freeze on his [Satan's] face... and I was verbalizing and saying to Satan, 'Manifest yourself right now...'"
posted by squirrel (54 comments total)

 
The Passion of the Christ Blooper Reel
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:24 PM on March 5, 2004


Sweet. What a nice two-pack, elwood. Thanks.
posted by squirrel at 5:41 PM on March 5, 2004


OK, this movie is at the root of some mass allucination.

> The computers froze for about the tenth time that day and it was
> about nine o'clock at night and so I got really mad,

Santa must be inhabiting most business places that are using computer, these days. I think our lab is possessed, too.

I was going to spare you the "Gates is Satan" allegation, but they're in everybody's mind.

Altough he's most likely using a Mac, but the "Jobs is Satan" is to be found everywhere too.

Sigh.
posted by NewBornHippy at 5:53 PM on March 5, 2004


I wonder if it ever occured to him whether it was god, not satan, trying to stop him.
posted by electro at 6:03 PM on March 5, 2004


If it was me I don't think I'd be talking about it. I don't doubt it was exactly how he said, though. I'm gonna have to get a copy of the soundtrack.
posted by konolia at 6:12 PM on March 5, 2004


NewBornHippy: Santa must be inhabiting most business places that are using computer, these days.

Whether this was a typo or deliberate, I love you for this.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:13 PM on March 5, 2004


I'm gonna have to get a copy of the soundtrack.

I heard that if you play it backwards, you can hear a Bush speech
posted by matteo at 6:14 PM on March 5, 2004


Joey Michaels:

> Whether this was a typo or deliberate

It was a typo and then I realized after the facts that people might think it was deliberate. Color me opportunistic.
posted by NewBornHippy at 6:23 PM on March 5, 2004


Interesting story, but after reading an in depth interview with Cinemusic I'm having some doubts about the quotes. It just doesn't sound like him. This stuff also isn't in any of the other interviews referenced on Debney's site and I find it unlikely he saved his best stuff for World Net Daily.

Bonus quote:"One of my friends said, "Oh you've got to get this one guy! He's, like, the Steve Vye (sic) of oud! ..."
posted by cedar at 6:52 PM on March 5, 2004


I wonder if it ever occured to him whether it was god, not satan, trying to stop him

Of course not, because God agrees with him, likes the film, and would naturally want to help him out!

Duh.
posted by aramaic at 6:52 PM on March 5, 2004


According to this BBC article, they also got struck by lightning twice during filming. Smoke came out of Jesus's ears.
posted by Aaorn at 6:54 PM on March 5, 2004


The lightning bolt hit Caviezel and the film's assistant director Jan Michelini while they were filming in a remote location a few hours from Rome.

Wow. Could it be any clearer?
posted by squirrel at 7:30 PM on March 5, 2004


Aaorn - I was just just going to mention that, but I'll add : I thought that only God was in charge of the lightning bolts (like Zeus).

This is the big problem with the "God opposes this" or "Satan opposes this" dilemna - how can one discriminate between a divine and a satanic lightning bolt?

Still, I'd have to wonder, if I got hit twice by lightning, as to whether God was upset with me. Christians tend to assume Satanic interference at every turn, but - given that God is much more powerful than Satan......it stands to logic that the lightning bolts were his.

But Satan - as we all know - is a music lover. And so Debney's
studio problems were clearly satanic.

Then again.....

...whatever happened to the "God's Plan" stuff ? If God is all powerful, as many fundamentalist Christians assume, well then - God was clearly opposed to Mel Gibson's "Passion" (studio music and all), and so the movie was satanic.

'Less'n, of course, God was merely intent on testing Mel's faith before allowing him to play the role of Antichrist the Second Coming of Jesus.

Religion confuses me.
posted by troutfishing at 7:32 PM on March 5, 2004


Ugh; I've heard this kind of thing before. Way back, some barking friend played me a tape of a recorded evangelical lecture about the evils of backward masking. The PA system kept going into feedback, and the speaker blamed it on Satan interfering with the equipment to stop him giving the talk.
posted by raygirvan at 7:37 PM on March 5, 2004


I love MeFi.

Not sure about Jesus or Santa, though.
posted by divrsional at 7:40 PM on March 5, 2004


Wow. Could it be any clearer?
Maybe: Jim Caviezel's initials are JC and he was 33 when cast. Plus he was approached by a random person in the street who said something like, "You will play Jesus" months before anyone ever heard of Mel Gibson's project.

Or so he says in this month's GQ.
posted by realityblurred at 8:16 PM on March 5, 2004


Remember: Religion makes you stupid.

Had this guy just gotten the software fixed, he'd have gotten his job done easier. And he'd have gone through less pain.

Instead he chose the stupid route: Blame the unusual on the unknown. How quaint!
posted by shepd at 8:21 PM on March 5, 2004


If Debny felt a supernatural force trying to prevent him working on the score for this film, it wasn't Satan, it was God objecting to the fact that Debny was plagiarizing so much of Peter Gabriel's score for The Last Temptation of Christ.

It's not just that he has songs featuring the Armenian "duduk" instrument - Debney uses one of the very same traditional songs that Gabriel did. Not only does Debny have Shankar play on the score, but the piece on which Shankar plays is nearly identical to one on Gabriel's album. And there were several other similarities I noticed when watching the film. I don't have a problem with someone writing a score that's influenced by something like Gabriel's score, but this in my mind goes clearly beyond that to outright copying.
posted by dnash at 8:22 PM on March 5, 2004


"...it wasn't Satan, it was God objecting to the fact that Debny was plagiarizing so much of Peter Gabriel's score for The Last Temptation of Christ." - I would say that it was at least that, and probably more.
posted by troutfishing at 8:46 PM on March 5, 2004


Ah yes, the classic reinforcing ancedotes to appease the believers. Like various cement stain miracles, old wives tales, and lucky charms, as usual there's no proof. What a crime it is to lie to oneself and then to others.
posted by skallas at 8:47 PM on March 5, 2004


and its worldnetdaily.com. They almost reach the journalistic standards of the WWN.
posted by skallas at 8:49 PM on March 5, 2004


Led Zeppelin - The Satanic Messages!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:50 PM on March 5, 2004


It was a typo and then I realized after the facts that people might think it was deliberate. Color me opportunistic.



Opportunistic is a delightfull shade of yellow, apperantly.
posted by delmoi at 9:05 PM on March 5, 2004


Stavros

That so totally rocks!

Never heard that before. I'm not a big Satan believer though, but I wonder whether that means that Led Zepplin were a bunch of Satanists, or just goofin.
posted by Windopaene at 9:06 PM on March 5, 2004


I wonder whether that means that Led Zepplin were a bunch of Satanists, or just goofin.

Probably neither. I've heard that backwards bit a hundred times over the last 20 years and I've never heard those words. I knew I was supposed to hear "something about Satan", but it was never clear exactly what (except the "here's to my sweet satan" line, that's fairly clear). Only when you have them written out do you begin to think you hear actual English words. In other words, the power of suggestion is very strong.
posted by jpoulos at 9:49 PM on March 5, 2004


j-po: All that backwards masking stuff is like the images of the Virgin Mary that appear in drying paint on walls, donuts, clouds and the sesame seeds on a hamburger bun. You just have to cross your eyes a little and tilt your head to see them.

And be delusional. That helps too.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:27 PM on March 5, 2004


This is amazing , i hadnt realised how funny other peoples beliefs were, thanks squirrel , this has made me look at spirituality in a new and interesting way, perhaps there might be a few other people who'd like to make enthralling posts like this one , certainly this would get my vote for best fpp if theres a round up at the end of the year.
There seems to be a movie mentioned here , does anyone know anything about it ?
I've been reading metafilter for ages now and havent heard a thing about mel gibson making a jesus movie , it amazes me someone hasnt posted about this before.
Thanks again squirrel.
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:41 PM on March 5, 2004


To repeat a joke I heard often in connection with this story, it wasn't Satan... just Windows.
posted by clevershark at 10:50 PM on March 5, 2004


what's that clevershark, is the devil making windows crash? Blue Screen of Demons?
posted by quarsan at 12:13 AM on March 6, 2004


It was just a screensaver. Some people are so easily impressed. Or high.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:19 AM on March 6, 2004


Opportunistic is a delightful shade of yellow, apparently.

Repent, freak.
posted by squirrel at 3:39 AM on March 6, 2004


For instance, I would be working on a certain scene, like when Mary flashes back to the baby Jesus falling down, and I would see it 20 times, and then I would see if for the 21st time I would just start to weep

For Chris shake it's obvious you were weeping, seeing a same scene consecutively for 20 times I'd be weeping as well.

I was tested. I once said to Mel, 'With every lash that Christ felt, I was feeling those lashes in my own way.' I was sorely tested

EH ? I can imagine Mel saying "You really like you job that's admirable" and thinking " Jebus what a fucknut I hope he remains mentally stable enough to finish his job. It's only a movie you freak"
posted by elpapacito at 5:11 AM on March 6, 2004


elpapacito - It's just a movie to you. For some, it's the voice of Satan confirmation of everything they've always believed.
posted by troutfishing at 6:24 AM on March 6, 2004


I thought the Thornbirds was a better made for tv movie.
posted by the fire you left me at 6:31 AM on March 6, 2004


I like how, in the fourth paragraph, we learn that one should capitalise "Guy Upstairs", but not "guy downstairs".
posted by chrismear at 9:12 AM on March 6, 2004


troutfishing: I'm pretty much confident that was exactly what the voice in my head I affectionately call Charlie Mel tought.
posted by elpapacito at 11:31 AM on March 6, 2004


The movie is cursed by God, if anyone, not the Devil.

Jan Michelini, the film's assistant director, was struck by lightning twice during the filming. The second time the lightning hit both him and Caviezel, 100 feet apart - "I'm about a hundred feet away from them when I glance over and see smoke coming out of Caviezel's ears."
posted by abcde at 11:33 AM on March 6, 2004


"I was stretched every which way but loose," Debney said. "I was stretched by Mel Gibson. I was stretched by the Guy Upstairs and also I was stretched by the guy downstairs. What it did was completely strengthen my faith and I have realized something very interesting. I had never before subscribed to the idea that maybe Satan is a real person, but I can attest that he was in my room a lot and I know that he hit everyone on this production."

Hehehe.
posted by biffa at 12:22 PM on March 6, 2004


Next up, gaffer breaks his silence: "Satan made my adhesive tape all gummy and clumpy. He didn't want those cables secured."
posted by squirrel at 1:13 PM on March 6, 2004


This is the big problem with the "God opposes this" or "Satan opposes this" dilemna - how can one discriminate between a divine and a satanic lightning bolt?

Or the sun, which rises on the good and the evil, or the rain, which falls on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45)

Events really aren't any clear indication of divine or diabolical far/disfavor. That theme is a major one in at least one prominent old testament book.
posted by namespan at 2:35 PM on March 6, 2004


Just got back from the movie. A little long in the middle (walk, stumble, fall, walk, stumble, fall, walk, stumble, fall . . .) but otherwise rather interesting and not nearly as violent as I'd been led to expect. The score was good enough, but I wouldn't have guessed he'd been wrassling with Satan (who plays quite a large role in the film, by the way). I don't have a lot of interest in reading the bible right now, but I'm hoping the DVD will have some sort of gospel-for-dummies track or someone sets up a cool website deconstructing it. I just kept thinking, "Dude, he ripped this off from Last Temptation of Christ."

During the movie, I kept thinking this will be an excellent film for someone who really detests the picture to record their own DVD commentary and release it on the internet. I could rip a couple MP3 tracks to CDR, throw it in the CD player, and learn what I'm missing.

Anyway, off to start a pogrom . . . I mean, make burritos.
posted by subgenius at 2:50 PM on March 6, 2004


Satan gave me a taco and it made me really sick
The chicken was all raw and the grease was mighty thick
The rice was all rancid and the beans were so hard
I was getting kinda dizzy eatin' all the lard
There was aphids on the lettuce and I ate every one
And after I was done the salsa melted off my tongue
Pieces of tortilla got stuck in my throat
And the stains on my clothes burned a hole through my coat

-- Beck
posted by matteo at 3:31 PM on March 6, 2004


delmoi: CTRL-H, please.
posted by kahboom at 3:49 PM on March 6, 2004


Didi anything spooky happen during the filming of Bruce Almighty I wonder?
posted by chrid at 6:06 PM on March 6, 2004


God must have really hated The Twilight Zone and The Crow.
posted by subgenius at 6:55 PM on March 6, 2004


"Events really aren't any clear indication of divine or diabolical far/disfavor. You can cite that theme from at least one prominent old testament book." (namespan) - and yet God interferes in earthly affairs an awful lot too in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament.

Fact is - despite however heroically many christians try - the Bible is far from a logically consistent document even on it's own terms. As much as it's compilers tried to homogenize the message (hence the apocrypha) there are nonetheless gaping chasms of inconsistency.
posted by troutfishing at 7:55 PM on March 6, 2004


You people are mean.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 PM on March 6, 2004


How I hate freedom.
posted by squirrel at 10:14 PM on March 6, 2004


fff - I'm just following example ; so is God, or so it would seem to me from my well thumbed Old Testament.
posted by troutfishing at 4:43 AM on March 7, 2004


> ... gaping chasms of inconsistency.

Next you'll be telling me that the christian birth myth used culturally and religiously significant symbols like the star of ishtar and mentions magi to appease the zoroastrians just because the Parthians were the only serious alternative to the Romans that anyone could think of at the time.

I would agree with you that whoever was responsible for continuity management amongst the various convocations that compiled the biblical canon would never keep their job in today's hollywood. It sounds like a really hard job though: it was no doubt a very sensitive political exercise where changing some of those stories too much could cause the contributing cults and religions to complain and reject the alterations.

Out of curiosity do any of the christians here still feel like they're somehow linked to an old semitic tribe from (or around) Ur, or are the majority of christian groups deemphasising the cultural background to the old testament these days?
posted by snarfodox at 6:19 AM on March 7, 2004


Now that I start to think of the timelines and make my own guess as to when things were actually written and rewritten to suit the politics of the time it might have been the christians leaders among the sassanians that the council of nicaea (in [roughly] the 320s CE) was listening to when they formalised a bible with those zoroastrian references.

If the christians in rome before the edict of milan in 313CE were being persecuted and slaughtered it stands to reason that christian communities in the sassanian empire (who didn't have those problems) would have been more organised and numerous. They presumably had enough social and political sway amongst the early church to get some serious voting power happening at the council, even compared to the power that the western bishops had gained from Constantine's edict a decade earlier. It then makes a lot of sense that they held the convocation in Bithynia (of all places) to let their eastern members more easily attend.

Parenthetically it still amazes me how few people know anything about the sassanians, especially given the fact that they're pretty central to the origins of the islamic faith as well. Even worse is that so few people seem to have heard of the battle of nihavand (in around 642CE) despite the fact that the repercussions of that day are still being felt today.
posted by snarfodox at 7:07 AM on March 7, 2004


Fact is - despite however heroically many christians try - the Bible is far from a logically consistent document even on it's own terms. As much as it's compilers tried to homogenize the message (hence the apocrypha) there are nonetheless gaping chasms of inconsistency.

Probably true -- life looks mighty inconsistent and messy, and if Godel was right, logical consistency is something you may as well throw out the window for anything useful anyhow, right?

But... for the topic the post addresses, and the underlying problem of correlating events to the appropriate super-natural pole... this doesn't seem to be one of the big inconsitency problems. The statement "if you are wicked, you will be punished with unfortunate consequences" does NOT mean "if you experience negative consequences, you are wicked"... but the Bible is often taken as offering the latter statement by both believers and non-believers. It *could* imply "if you do not experience negative consequences, you are not being wicked." Except the Bible also strongly implies that many consequences are deferred for the sake of allowing for human mistakes.... and, more importantly, that everyone will experience negative and positive events that aren't consequences of their own actions... or God's, because there are any number of conscious actors in the universe.

I suspect the big problem most unbelievers have with statements like this isn't a logical inconsistency here, but the belief in any supernatural actors at all. That's fair enough, I suppose -- I think there's a stronger case for that than glaring inconsistency on this topic (or even for the assumption that the Bible is supposed to be consistent throughout). But I wanted to state my problem with the article -- which is to point out that the canon says there are negative (and positive) events that take place that have nothing to do with any actor trying to oppose or punish you.

I think I understand his mindset, though. Anytime you're involved in a cause you consider a good one, you tend to view interference as diabolical. Whether that diabolical entity is a fallen angel formerly known as lucifer, or Karl Rove depends on your belief system.
posted by namespan at 9:02 AM on March 7, 2004


I wrestle with Satan every day. He's got the moves, I've got the passion.
posted by troutfishing at 7:07 AM on March 8, 2004


You go, trout.
*snap, snap, SNAP*
posted by squirrel at 10:55 AM on March 9, 2004


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