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Director Nicholas McCarthy Ties Up Loose Ends On ‘The Pact’

If you haven’t watched The Pact, you may want to skip this until you do. SPOILERS FOLLOW.

Otherwise: I disagreed with some of the more critical reviews out on The Pact. I found it, above all imperfections, to be an effective, well executed chiller. After its recent DVD release, however, several people I’d chatted with were expressing a similar point of view, and confusion. “It was creepy as F—, but what the hell was with the ending?” Usually I’m pretty good at figuring out these subtleties, but after some hard thought, I had to agree – while a couple of the shock sequences certainly took my breath away, the film left me with some questions that I couldn’t answer.

What was “the pact”?
What was with the blue eye/green eye – was there a meaning behind that?
Was Judas still alive?

I got in touch with the film’s director, Nicholas McCarthy, and asked him directly. It opened up a great conversation about the head-in-the-curtain hotel scene, some films that inspired these moments, and above all, some very honest and direct answers to the questions left behind.

BD: How is Judas still alive? Did he follow her to her new house?

McCarthy: I’m not sure which “new” house you’re describing? If you mean the one you’re seeing at the end of the movie, that’s Annie’s old house, now empty of furniture.

I got so much shit for that coda. The sequence is a dream – she falls asleep in the hotel, then we cut to her dream. I wanted to end with the idea that she’s haunted by what happened. Some people got it, lots didn’t, and it’s my one regret with the film. I actually explained some in the audio commentary that’s on the new DVD.

BD: There are references to Annie’s eyes: one being blue, one being green. What exactly was this saying?

McCarthy: The eyes thing was actually explained a little more in a cut piece of dialogue from the cousin character, where she remarks on Annie’s eyes being different colors – she said in the script, “Your mother didn’t have them, so your father must’ve.” I hope that explains it a little more…

BD: Usually you can associate the title to a meaning in the film, but I failed miserably. What was “the pact”?

McCarthy: It’s another thing that I kept hidden that some people instantly got, others were baffled by. The backstory. The mother hid the brother. She didn’t want anyone to know about him. The idea of “the pact” is related to that.

BD: What I liked most about The Pact was that I felt the creepiness for sure. The closet, everything – was effective. The hotel scene with the head hanging in the curtains was nightmarish and really grasped the stunning terror of the moment.

McCarthy: The hotel scene was inspired by a moment in a movie called ‘The Possession of Joel Delaney‘. It’s a fairly obscure, pre-‘Exorcist‘ 70s Hollywood possession movie with this one startling scene with a hanging severed head. Check it out if you haven’t seen it!

BD: I haven’t seen that – I will. In return I’ll offer up The Antichrist, a 70’s Italian Exorcist ripoff. The goat scene in that is over the top.

McCarthy: I’m a big fan of Exorcist knock offs in general. Beyond the Door I first saw here in LA in 35mm — that movie is insane. And I love The Antichrist! I actually just mentioned to a friend of mine this week and I had to see it again (!!).

I think it goes without saying that more movies should have goat rim jobs.



  • Aaron Emery

    That actually helps quite a bit. I really loved the movie, the atmosphere and the creepy Carpenter-esque music drove the mood home. Also the movements of the Judas Killer were creepy as hell too.

    • John Marrone

      Right? Fucking creepy. The shot of the closet alone, and I’d swallow. Not too many films pull that off.

    • all345

      Did he answer anymore of the questions people have been asking on forums ,like was Judas a ghost or not and if so how did Annie explain all the bodies and also was Annie really Glicks daugher,anyway loved the movie ,thanks

  • diapers

    Good information. I’ve watched this film twice. We had decided that the Judas killer must be the father. I admit that, like many other apparently, got the ending wrong… didn’t figure it for a dream. Anyway, I thought The Pact was scary as all get up, kudos to the filmmaker.

    • John Marrone

      I’m glad to have access to a great group of horror minds on Facebook, and we all loved the movie, but were frustrated because we couldn’t figure out the obscure. It seems simple once he explains it, but before he did, I was reaching in the dark. It kind of relieves me that he was so forthcoming with the answers and candid about the fact that he knew that most people weren’t picking up what he was hinting at.

    • John Marrone

      And I didnt know it was a dream either. I thought she moved to a new house.

  • mattster

    I pretty much assumed the ending was a dream because we see Annie fall asleep and listen to her breathing all throughout that final scene. The fact that Judas was her father wasn’t as clear, I just thought it was something in the family and he was her uncle. Some theories I’ve read since watching it guess that Jennifer Glick was her mother and Judas was her father, which makes sense because of the photo of Glick pregnant. Her mother is really her aunt and her sister is really her cousin. The scariest thing to consider after watching it is that the mother locked her children in the closet knowing that her brother could get to them.

  • ARoseK

    Thanks for asking those questions… answered everything I wanted to know. However, I can’t stand when content that is cut out is still relevant in the final cut. Still creepy.

  • barryfallsjr

    I came here to figure out why it’s called The Pact. I really love the title and that you kind of have to think about these different elements of the film deeply to get it.

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