What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Demons

The 2009 horror comedy “Jennifer’s Body” received a lukewarm critical reception and less-than-stellar box office performance, per Box Office Mojo. But, in the years since, it’s gained a cult following, with fans praising the film for its centering of female trauma and revenge. It follows the quasi-afterlife of Jennifer, a popular high school cheerleader who’s sacrificed to the Devil by a struggling indie band desperate for success. The sacrifice goes awry, the human Jennifer departs, and a monstrous succubus inhabits her body.

While the succubus in “Jennifer’s Body” is properly horrifying, often displaying a demonically unhinged jaw full of needle-like teeth and using it to literally eat her male victims, it’s not quite accurate, at least according to historical accounts of succubi. And, if you think about it, voraciously consuming your victims all at once may be flashy, but is not a terribly sustainable practice.

Instead, as Encyclopedia.com reports, succubi were thought to be female demons who siphoned off the vitality of male victims by initiating amorous nighttime encounters with them. Some sources claim that the first man ever, Adam, had congress with these entities for over 130 years — hardly practical if they kept literally eating him. And, while the succubus of “Jennifer’s Body” was sort of defeated by her host body being harmed, quite a few accounts state that the real solution is prayer-based or, as the Conversation reports, dependent on someone living a morally upright life.

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