I can only think only think of a handful of reasons anyone reading this blog hasn’t seen Mad Monster Party already. Maybe you didn’t know it existed. That’s fine. Or possibly you didn’t know it was available on DVD. That’s okay, too. Or perhaps as part of your spiritual walk, you’ve given up all forms of secular entertainment, even those geared towards children. That’s perfectly acceptable. But without one of those excuses or something equally valid, if you haven’t watched this Halloween treat yet, I may just have to declare you anathema.
Oh sure, it’s hardly the best of the Rankin and Bass productions, but come on, Mad Monster Party has all of the classic Universal Monsters (not to mention Phyllis Diller and a zombiefied Peter Lorre), features a freaky jazz soundtrack by Maury Laws, and stars Boris Karloff, who even sings! It’s just too much fun for any self respecting monster kid to pass up. Here’s the title track.
Okay, so maybe it’s a weird song for the Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer crowd, but I guess the little tykes have to learn about selling their souls to the devil some time, right?
Okay, maybe not.
But the song does make you think, however. With who knows how many stories having been told over the centuries of people who bartered their souls to Satan, have you ever wondered if that’s something you could actually do? You know, agree to some contract (written in blood or not) and hand over your soul to the devil? Well, the Catechism tells us that “the human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual… The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.” So, as Catholic Answers apologist Michelle Arnold explains, “While it is a mortal sin to attempt to sell your soul to the devil, it is impossible to do so. The soul, as the substantial form of the body, is an inalienable possession of the individual. It cannot be sold, stolen, folded, spindled, or mutilated. All one would have to do to return to a state of grace after attempting to sell one’s soul would be to go to confession.” Which is nice to know.
Of course, just because we can’t physically sell our souls doesn’t mean we can’t do so metaphorically. As Prof. Peter Kreeft explains in his book, Catholic Christianity, “He who sins is a slave to sin (see Rom 6:16). Sin is using our freedom to sell ourselves into slavery and addiction to sin. We forge the chains of our bondage with the power of our freedom.” So if your little ones happen to watch Mad Monster Party and ask you what it means to sell your soul, just give’em Kreeft’s explanation and save the heavy philosophy for later. But if they also ask you to explain how you could sell your soul at that party last night… well, you’re on your own there. Good luck.