60. Michelle Remembers – Michelle Smith & Lawrence Pazder, M.D.
A bit of a fudge in my “Year of Ladies” to include a book co-written by a dude, however, I think it’s warranted because this book is not only basically Michelle’s fault, but it’s also full of her own words with lots of ellipses between thoughts.
Michelle Remembers is The Chronicle that could be righteously blamed for a lot of the Satanic Panic. I’ve been aware of it for a long time as a Satanic Panic enthusiast and finally found a copy in the horror section of Half Price Books – on 50% off day! A sign if ever there was one. Strangely, it was not locked up in the special pricy books cabinet where it had less potential to harm anyone or inspire them to make up repressed memories. And, shockingly, I was less than impressed. The X-Files episode with Mrs. Paddock was way better. The Touch of Satan, the MST3K episode from which I quoted my title, was also way better, as long as it’s that exact episode. The Touch of Satan on its own is probably about the same level of inspiring as Michelle Remembers, that quoted title is a real line of dialogue. Someone wrote that on purpose and put it into a film. I’ve had to look it up several times to make sure they didn’t mean to say “This is where the fish live,” as in multiple fish, but that’s not what it is, it’s “This is where the fish lives,” as in only one fish. Geez-us, I have so much trouble with that. The only hope I have is that it wasn’t written that way, even though it was spoken that way.
Anyway, back to Michelle, so… Michelle shows up needing to get something off her chest and ends up in hours and hours and hours-long sessions with Dr. Pazder, going back to “that place” and recounting endless weirdness and ritual abuse and she decides to start kicking it religious-style so she feels warm and safe again despite all the ridiculous abuse and then she and her psychiatrist get married (that’s not in the book, though). I can see how this would be taken seriously when it was published. Dr. Pazder has an M.D., the editor includes a nice note, there’s some corroborative evidence of hospitalizations presented in the narrative. That said, my problem is that Satan actually shows up and so does Mary and so does Jesus. Once Satan showed up at one of the shitty Canadian Satanic rituals specifically so that he could wrap his tail around Michelle’s neck I was beyond out. Suspension of disbelief ruined! I don’t care how many rashes Michelle got – and man, I get hives and rashes for no particular reason all the time, so, perhaps she was allergic to Dr. Pazder’s floor and also demonstrating her inner guilt for making it all up? My other super-glib explanation is that Michelle wanted to be an inspirational novelist, because when I write my novels, I occasionally feel like I blacked out and went to a different place because I’m writing down what I see in my head. It’s like a movie, but I’ve never considered writing about poop-covered crosses as my security blanket like Michelle, those just don’t reside in my head. Although I’ve never imagined a lake occupied by a single fish either, so maybe my imagination just isn’t working hard enough because I haven’t been touched (enough?) by Satan. Ichy.