Tarot Movie Blog #5: The Boys who Live….

*Spoiler Alert* I will be discussing plot points that will give away key information if you haven’t seen the movie. Be warned. If you want more background regarding the plot of the movie, please read Tarot Movie Blog #1.

*Note: All discussion around tarot, meanings of the cards, etc is my personal opinion. Feel free to disagree. Take what resonates & leave the rest

Please read Blogs #1 - #4 to get caught up on the synopsis of the movie, Tarot, & my take on the other cards pulled during this film.

Three friends in total make it out of this movie alive. The other four die horrible deaths based on their tarot readings. Even an extra character picked up along the way dies during the unfolding of the movie. Haley, the tarot reader/astrologer who did the initial seven tarot “horoscopes” that started this whole thing, survives as I’ve discussed in Blog #2. She is the one able to break the curse & free the soul of The Astrologer who cursed the deck to begin with by reading her horoscope & forcing her to suffer the same curse. So, according to typical horror movie trope she is the “Final Girl”.

When Haley reads Paxton’s horoscope, she points out that he is a “bullheaded & rash” Taurus. He is advised not to act on impulse & that he should beware small spaces & feeling trapped or boxed in. However, she also says that when one door closes another opens & that he will show up for his friends.

Paxton follows along with his friends for the majority of the movie but gets spooked & decides to bail after learning the deck is truly cursed & feeling helpless sitting in the car as another friend, Madeline, gets killed by The Hanged Man. In typical horror movie sentiment this is the point when everyone in the audience is saying “You Fool! Why are you going off on your own??”. Hence why The Fool was such a perfect card for this guy.

As Paxton runs away (impulsively, I might add) from all his friends & walks back to his apartment he notices that he is being followed by a jester-like character - The Fool. This creepy jester chases him into the apartment building & Paxton gets into the elevator to get to his floor, when he realizes he is now in an enclosed space. When the elevator doors open on his floor, the hallway is dark, and then we see The Fool at the end of the hallway, laughing. Every time the door closes & opens again the laughing jester is closer to Paxton until it seems he is right in the elevator with him & we assume he dies.

In quite the surprise twist at the end of the movie we discover that Paxton doesn’t die as we are led to believe earlier in the film. In fact, he does fulfill his horoscope that he will “show up in unexpected ways for his friends”. He appears with a get-away car at the very end of the film as Grant & Haley are leaving the mansion having just broken the curse & released The Astrologer’s soul. He explains that his roommate opened the elevator & essentially saved him from The Fool. A nice bit of “dumb luck” there. 😉

Traditionally, this card did represent a version of a court jester or “fool”. The Fool is the first card in the Major Arcana, but is numbered 0 because The Fool is the hero of the “Fool’s Journey” that the story of the 22 Major Arcana tell. Therefore The Fool can be placed anywhere along the Major timeline as he journeys through, hence the identifying number of 0. Nowadays, The Fool is related to the idea of taking a leap of faith into the unknown to begin a new adventure. The Fool is often associated with naivete and innocence, but can also be a call to a client to not be afraid of what comes next & take a little risk in order to reap the rewards later.

I kind of loved The Fool for Paxton because his personality was very immature & childlike throughout the majority of the film. He definitely has some growing up to do & learning from mistakes. But that learning can’t occur without failing a few times. I don’t think he will so easily go back to his old ways after this experience & hopefully he will grow up a bit & learn to listen when advice is given. The jester was an appropriate embodiment for the card & also creepy enough for a horror film. It was a nice meeting of the two & I liked that even though Paxton took a risk by leaving his friends & going off on his own, it didn’t lead to his death. Instead it gave him perspective & hopefully he will take that into his next adventure - perfect Fool lesson.

Onto the boyfriend/ex-boyfriend/boyfriend who lives, Grant. Haley & Grant are supposedly the perfect couple who are most likely to get married first, according to all their friends around the campfire at the start of the film. Then we find out that they broke up. Grant is apparently too stubborn & emotionally distant & Haley’s cards seem to say they are not compatible so she’s getting out before she gets too entrenched.

Grant sits for his horoscope & Haley sort of rage-reads him. She feels like he is mocking her skills/hobbies & so is not gentle with her interpretations. Haley tells him as a Leo he can be “generous, loyal & a natural leader”. However, The Tower card sits in his 7th House (relationships) showing that he is “pouring gasoline instead of listening & being understanding”. Ouch. His final outcome card is The Devil & she tells him he will need to “face his demons & make a sacrifice or risk losing someone important”.

At the end of the movie it’s basically Grant & Haley against their fates. This is when Haley comes to the realization that maybe they can change their fates or at least fight against them instead of just succumbing to the inevitable. Free will & choice still exist. They both decide to fight back. The Devil comes in the typical goat-demon-man-beast form & Grant is able to steer him away from Haley so she can break the curse, even though the Death card is chasing her at the same time.

It is unclear how Grant defeats the Devil as we mostly see him fighting, running & then coming back at the end unscathed. But I would say that the minute he chose to put himself in the way to allow Haley to try & save herself, and them all, he made an appropriate “sacrifice”. He chose someone else’s needs over his own & listened to her advice to be more open. He faced his demons about vulnerability, sharing his feelings & choosing her over himself. Yay for overcoming toxic masculinity! We even discover that he has been learning more about astrology so he can connect with Haley through her interests, learn about her & himself more, and start accepting all of her.

I find it interesting that The Devil is one of the last cards to play out besides Death. This card is so often associated with The Lovers card (similar imagery, except with chains & a Devil residing over the couple instead of an angel). Grant & Haley are seemingly star-crossed lovers, who care deeply for each other & yet can’t seem to find a way to make their differences work for them. Haley is afraid of abandonment & so pushes away those she might grow too close to. Grant is afraid of commitment & someone knowing him too well.

The Devil card begs the querent to look at the choices in front of them & determine what is the better decision long-term vs the short-term tempting option that might fix something in the here & now, but will bite you in the tush later. Grant chooses to offer himself as a sacrifice in order to let Haley survive. He makes the hard choice & chooses love. They both decide that CHOICE is what will save them in the end. Not taking the easy road & waiting until the cards come for them. Instead fighting back & choosing to not give up.

I did enjoy this interpretation. It stayed pretty true to the idea of The Devil, not just in tarot but also in pop-culture. And yet, it also highlighted pretty well the themes The Devil highlights: choice, temptation, commitment to change, etc.

And then there were 3…

Haley, Grant & Paxton all live to see another day with the tarot’s curse broken. The Astrologer’s soul is freed to go be with her daughter’s in the afterlife. Paxton continues cracking jokes, while Haley & Grant seem content that their relationship is back on track with some important lessons learned along the way.

While there were many instances of cards being used merely for cinematic drama & visual impact, I do think that some cards had appropriate meanings behind them when looking at the characters they applied to. Horror movies don’t always dive into analytical or philosophical depths. This one had its moments & some laughs along the way, while also annoying me at the use of certain cards & the way they played out. If you are looking for a fun movie that incorporates astrology & tarot (although not always accurately) then this might be a good one for you. See what takes you get on it & let me know. 😉