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.