Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


Hex is a jolly Brit TV show that started like it was going to be a rip-off of Buffy, but has steadily got sillier and more endearing.

A fallen angel (who looks like Ralph Fiennes, only more devastatingly handsome) is angling for the soul of a blonde ingenue. She is protected by the ghost of her lesbian school chum.

The lesbian ghost spends her time sleuthing and eating junk food.

I love the lesbian ghost.

Of course the angel isn't only after the ingenue's soul. When he isn't dogging her footsteps he's hanging out in this faintly absurd S/M club- with the leather-clad vixens and the coloured lights.

Ooh- and how wicked of him- he smokes like a chimney.

Supernatural evil=sex.

It's the Victorian equation. Sex was banished from the circle of the lamplight and the only way writers could deal with it- in popular fiction at least- was to have it erupt from the shadows disguised in a clay-spotted shroud. The classic ghost story is powered by thwarted desire and sexual guilt.

Once it became possible to write frankly about sex the ghost story withered and the sexy spook (Dracula for instance) dwindled into camp. Ghosts that are simply ghosts (and not metaphors for something else) are not really all that frightening. Were you scared of the ghastly ghouls in Pirates of the Caribbean? No, I thought not.

The modern ghost stories that work are not about sex. They are about things that scare us now. The Japanese movie the Ring is about our powerlessness in the face of modern technology. The Spanish movie The Devil's Backbone is about social dissolution and the breakdown of the family.

And something like Hex, which is still messing about with the demons of sex, can only hold our attention by cutting the supernatural with comedy.
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