Almost since its inception, the principal focus of Old Sins Cast Long Shadows is nineteenth-century supernatural horror in English literature. It will continue to remain so for the foreseeable future. Lately, however, I find myself wanting to explore works and topics, in various media, only tangentially related to this blog's focus. In addition perhaps, though rarely, I would like to discuss horror-related subjects not even closely related to this focus.
Therefore this post will be somewhat of a departure from what is usually discussed in this blog. Yet even so, there is a connection to Old Sins Cast Long Shadows' focus. For whenever one looks into horror or supernatural occurrences back into the nineteenth century, especially in the English mind, more often than not, the Freemasons are never far away.
It is well known by those who know me just how much I love horror and horror movies.
Especially, horror movies with weird monsters.
Especially when those horror movies have an Egyptological basis!
What follows is not a review or even a discussion concerning this movie's strengths versus weaknesses or even its general historical inaccuracies. Rather this entire post is a rant! A considered rant to be sure, but still a rant against one single statement made in this entire film that, despite its glaring historical inaccuracy, offended me personally.
Initially, I was looking forward to watching this movie. The trailer looked good; though, based on long experience watching horror movies, I was not expecting award-winning quality. I was confident to be entertained at least.
As I watched this film for the first time, streaming on my computer, it was just as I expected...until just after the one hour mark...
The Pyramid was released in late 2014 by 20th Century Fox.
There are quite a few reviews written about this movie available online. With very few exceptions, the vast majority of reviews were negative; bemoaning missed opportunities and disappointment. Even a review in The Irish Times was brutal! I thought it wasn't that bad.[i] The plot was pretty standard. I thought the special effects were pretty good. The plot did play fast and free with Ancient Egyptian mythology – but whatever. One can't have everything.
Briefly, the plot is set during the 2012-2013 political unrest in Egypt and involves a father-daughter archaeological team.
They and their small crew discover a weird pyramid in modern-day Egypt.
Despite government orders, they sneak into the pyramid and promptly get sealed inside.
While searching for the way out, ancient traps kill two of the group. Those left venture deeper into the structure and come across amazing things. The survivors blunder into a burial.
Before I go off into my tirade, allow me to set this scene and quote the pertinent dialogue from the 1:04:00 mark in the movie.
The survivors come across the desiccated husk of a man with his heart torn out.
They find a journal establishing that the dead man dates from May 21, 1897.
On a finger of its left hand, they observe that the dried corpse wears a ring. . . a Masonic ring.
Dr. Nora Holden: "That's a Freemason symbol. They must have built the offshoot tunnel that we entered."
Prof. Holden: "Yeah, that makes sense."
Fitzie: "This is all very interesting, but our main priority should be getting out of here. The Masons aren't important."
Prof. Holden: "They were excellent tomb robbers. If they couldn't find a way out . . ."
"They were EXCELLENT TOMB ROBBERS."! Are you freakin' kidding me?!
So typical of Hollywood, well-known for cheap shots.
What makes the Freemasons, and by implication this dead Masonic explorer, "tomb robbers"? There is no evidence whatsoever that the Freemasons were doing anything other than exploring the weird pyramid; just as the archaeological crew in this movie were doing. What makes Prof Holden–lead archaeologist and speaker of the above dialogue–and his crew not "tomb robbers"? Hypocrisy!
I cannot express just how much this narrow-minded statement offends me!
I know of no evidence of tomb robbery committed by Freemasons in the past, ever. Quite the contrary. The reverence the brethren hold for the past is prodigious and well known. For a fact, I know that there have been Freemasons who were respectable historians and yes, even archaeologists. I am also sure that today there are Masonic gentlemen in these occupations. I am equally sure that all of them would resent such a clueless statement.
Interestingly enough, I actually found a comment on this movie and its portrayal of Freemasonry on a Masonic Grand Lodge website. I was surprised by this because in matters of unfavorable representation in the media, it has been very rare (and that only recently) that there has been response to such statements by formal Masonic organizations.
As part of its series regarding the representation of Freemasonry in film, the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M.'s website briefly addressed the fleeting reference. The statement remarks that not only was the film's treatment of Freemasonry unfair, but that this kind of representation unjustly reduces Freemasonry to a caricature and nothing else.[ii]
Following this false and insulting statement, my interest in this film fell away to nothing.
I am a Freemason. And I find this statement concerning Freemasons offensive.
The Pyramid. Dir. Grégory Levasseur. Perf. Ashley Hinshaw, Denis O'Hare, James Buckley. 20th Century Fox, 2014. Online.
The Pyramid (2014). Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M. 25 March 2015. Accessed 12 November 2017.
Wikipedia. The Pyramid (film). 05 November 2017. Accessed 12 November 2017.
[i] Keep in mind that I am also a super-fan of the original Godzilla movies, as well.
[ii] The Pyramid (2014). Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M. 25 March 2015.