Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On the use of "Belial" in the English

Ever see that movie Basket Case? It's about this guy who's born with his jacked up twin brother attached to his side. You may think the awesometer maxes out right there--I mean, how could it get better than that? Why should it even have to?--but, oh, my friends, it does.

The kid's parents hire a back-alley veterinarian to come to their house and saw the embarrassing twin bits off, and then they dump it in the garbage and prepare to move on with their lives. Thing is, they don't understand that the kid and the twinlet have this, like, psychic connection, so the kid gets the cries of help in his head and sneaks out to the trash can in the night--after what you must imagine is pretty major surgery, mind you--and rescues his now physically emancipated home-bro. Then he does just what you or I would do under the same circumstances (admit it): puts the little dude in a basket and runs away from home.

I can't help thinking Basket Case represents fantastic cinema, OK, because this, frankly, is how I was raised. I'm not trying to cast blame but, if I'm being honest, my family is fucked up. Exhibits A and B: The two most recent movies I've viewed with my mom and step-dad? Both Sci-Fi Channel Originals, one named Mansquito, for Christ's sake, and the other Manticore.

Check out the Mansquito if you dare:

OK? I mean, seriously.

This level of cheesetastic horror is so much a part of our family narrative that we routinely use the word "Belial" in familial communications. We have, in fact, forgotten, I think, that it's not an actual word. You see, Belial is the name of the maniacal rubber twin from Basket Case. So, say you're in some kind of public seating, like in a theater or airplane, and a rude or just plain expansive person next to you insists upon taking half of your space in addition to his. You may use the noun form and refer to this nuisance simply as a Belial, or you could choose to employ the verb form and complain, "My seatmate was totally Belialing me the whole flight."

Either way, you are comparing the person to a nasty malformed Siamese twin thing that is so all over you it would take an unscrupulous veterinarian with a sharp scalpel to detach him.

No doubt you see the versatility of this term already. Belial status can be realized more figuratively as well: a dumped boyfriend/girlfriend who refuses to go away? Belial. A co-worker who spends more time yapping at your desk than working at hers? Ditto.

The best part, obviously, is that we can often get away with muttering "I've got a real Belial here" to each other right in front of the Belial in question, since who's going to know what the hell that means?


At 6:07 PM, Blogger Margo Bond said...

Okay. So did I ever tell you about the sci-fi book I read (This Alien Shore by C. S. Friedman) in which the creepy alien twin is named . . . Belial?!?! It totally made me think of you. :)

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Shell said...

See! It's reaching archetype status!

I guess you just always want to name your evil shadow something demonic? (Isn't Belial a demon? I should visit Wikipedia before I start throwing assumptions around. . .)

At 6:04 AM, Blogger Belle said...

OMG! I am an avid B-movie horror fan. I'm so gonna' see these now!

At 8:51 AM, Blogger Shell said...

Oh, yeah, everyone should see Basket Case at least once. Belial not only murders a bunch of people (and hides in a toilet at one point) he sexually assaults his brother's love interest. You might be thinking, "But from that screencap it looks like he doesn't have a bottom half?" and you would be right. It's a mystery.


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