Hollywood’s Voodoo

Shanelle Smith

Traces of the voodoo religion have appeared in Hollywood movies giving society a glimpse on how the spiritual practice works.  Eve’s Bayou, a movie released in 1997 provides an illustration that closely resembles the Voudon religion.

Based in New Orleans, an area well known for Voodoo practitioners, the story’s plot is centered on the Batiste family, particularly Eve Baptiste (JurneeSmollett-Bell) who is the main character of the story. Young Eve planned on using voodoo to get revenge against a man who inflicted pain on her family. Mozelle Batiste-Delacroix played by Debbie Morgan, is the aunt of Eve Baptiste and also a voodoo practitioner.  Mozelle made a living as a psychic, using her skills as a voodoo practitioner to forewarn the community on danger that will soon come and help them with life’s difficulties.  She often shared her voodoo experiences and premonitions with young Eve who was eager to learn about the religion.

After discovering that her older sister had been molested, Eve went to her aunt Mozelle for black magic spell to help her get rid of the man. Unable to get the information she was looking for from her aunt, Eve turned to another well know Voodoo practitioner in town Elzora played by Diahann Carroll. Elzora helped Eve with her Evil plans by casting a spell on the person of Eve’s desire, illustrating a darker side of the religion. Elzora denounced the voodoo doll’s involvement in the religion when Eve came requesting a doll to stick pins in.

The psychic premonitions, the possession of the body, and good/bad forces all represent very real aspects of the voodoo belief system, giving the most realistic view of the doctrine.

The religion has reappeared in Hollywood through the new show American Horror Story in which Anglea Bassett plays a voodoo master.  Bassett’s character is based on the life of the eighteenth century New Orleans voodoo master Marie Laveau