Filmmaker Michael Bay will make a new thriller centering on use of a Ouija board. This is more important than it may sound.


I’m not one to get paranoid about the occult, but the latest news from the Hasbro toy company strikes me as more than a little odd. The toymaker reports that filmmaker Michael Bay will produce a film called "Ouija" for Universal Studios. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film will be "a supernatural adventure with the Ouija board playing an integral part."

Bay’s most recent film as director was the immensely successful Transformers, released last summer. Hasbro is the maker of the popular toys on which the movie was based.

Bay’s production company, Platinum Dunes, has produced numerous horror films in recent years, including remakes of The Amityville Horror, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Hitcher. The company plans to release a remake of Friday the 13th next year.

As the Reporter story notes, the ouija board is marketed as an innocent toy, but the premise behind it is very strange indeed: "Players’ fingers are placed on a small planchette that mysteriously moves to letters and numbers in order to spell out messages from beyond the earthly realm."

Because of this aspect and the Christian and Jewish objections to what is called divination, Hollywood depictions of ouija board use have typically been cautionary, suggesting that dabbling with them is dangerous. Particularly notable is the centrality of ouija board use in laying the groundwork for the demonic possession of young Regan in the book and film The Exorcist.

It looks extremely unlikely that a film made in cooperation with a firm that has sold millions of ouija boards worldwide since 1966 will take that approach. If the film is a success, interest in and use of ouija boards can only increase. That, of course, is Hasbro’s intention.