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The Baphomet Idol is the name of a small, mysterious and ancient statuette resembling the mythological demon Baphomet and it plays a major antagonistic role in Return to House on Haunted Hill, the sequel to the 1999 horror/thriller film House on Haunted Hill. It is responsible for keeping the ghosts of everyone who died in the Vannacutt Psychiatric Institute Vannacutt Psychiatric Institute for the Criminally Insane trapped in the haunted mental hospital.
Nothing is known about the Baphomet Idol's origins, except that it has existed since the Dark Ages and that it was carved in the image of the enigmatic demon Baphomet. During that time when the early Christian Church was growing and in power, sects of the cult of the devil Baphomet who were growing and on the rise, revered and worshipped the Idol. However, it was then mysteriously lost at the time of the Inquisition and the several Baphomet-worshipping cults went underground. the Baphomet Idol was never seen from again.
Centuries later, in the early part of the 20th century, before the complete construction of the namesake asylum he runs, psychiatrist Dr. Richard Benjamin Vannacutt during his travels across the world discovered the infamous object in Europe and became fascinated with it. Then became increasingly obsessed with it as if something, an unknown force was possessing him. This in turn, driven him to bloodthirsty madness as he tortures and murders the mentally ill patients he has taken under his care. The Idol caused him to perform horrific and torturous experiments and medical procedures on his patients at his psychiatric institute, and to hide the Idol in a hidden chamber at the heart of the facility. The Idol caused the souls of any and everyone who died in the building over the years, including Dr. Vannacutt himself, to become trapped in the house and to trap and kill nearly anyone else who entered the asylum. The Idol, meanwhile, remained hidden in its chamber at the heart of the house.
The Search for the Baphomet Idol
In 2007, after discovering a diary written by Doctor Vannacutt that reveals the history of the Institute. Ariel Wolf, who was the sister of one of the two survivors of the House on Haunted Hill, and her friend Paul are then kidnapped by an unscrupulous art dealer named Desmond Niles, who knows a great deal about Sara and Vannacutt's hospital. Ariel quickly realizes that Sara did not commit suicide: Desmond killed her. Desmond forces Ariel to help him find an artifact allegedly located inside the old Vannacutt Psychiatric Institute, the Baphomet Idol which is worth millions of dollars. While Desmond's henchman Samuel holds Paul captive outside the asylum, Ariel, Desmond, and 4 of Desmond's accomplices enter the building. Once inside, they encounter Dr. Richard Hammer. Dr. Hammer who was an archeaology professor interested with the Baphomet myth, has been lured into the asylum by his assistants Kyle and Michelle. Desmond is one of Dr. Hammer's former students, and Michelle is Desmond's lover. Michelle seduced Dr. Hammer to learn what he knew about the sanatorium and the Baphomet idol, and then lured Hammer and Kyle into the asylum so they could help search for the statuette.
Several loud noises are heard, and Ariel explains that the building has been rigged to keep everyone inside for at least 12 hours. The group splits up to search for the idol: Desmond with Ariel, Michele with Richard, and Kyle with Desmond's accomplice Norris Boz. The remaining henchmen, Warren Jackson and Harue, each go off alone. Warren is killed when his body is sucked into a wall. Harue is seduced by 2 lesbian ghosts, and she dies when her face is sliced off by the ghostly Dr. Vannacutt. Ariel is separated from Desmond and dragged into a padded cell. The ghost of a dead inmate traumatizes her by showing Ariel the depravity he and the other inmates suffered under Doctor Vannacutt. These images reveal that Vannacutt was driven mad by the idol, and later performed experiments on the mentally ill. The dead inmate led a revolt against Vannacutt, during which the sanatorium burned down. (The audience is shown footage from the 1999 film House on Haunted Hill, which depicted these events.). The deaths of characters in the previous film were assumed to be caused by the spirits of dead inmates seeking vengeance. But now Ariel is shown that the dead are actually forced by the idol to do Vannacutt's bidding and did not willingly kill. Ariel falls unconscious. She wakes to find herself in a straightjacket, and screams. Her cries lead Desmond, Dr. Hammer, and Michelle to her cell and they rescue her.
In the asylum's entrance hall, Norris is dismembered by ghosts. Ariel, Michelle, Desmond, and Dr. Hammer hear Kyle scream and rush to the entrance hall. Although the 12 hours are up, the master locking mechanism begins to lock the house down again. Ariel escapes before the house is sealed again. But she discovers that Samuel and Paul have entered into the house to look for her. The main door opens as if to invite her in, and she goes back inside. In the entrance hall, Samuel swears he heard Desmond tell them to enter the building. While Desmond and the others discuss the situation, Samuel is lured away by a shadowy phantom nurse and killed by the ghost of Dr. Vannacutt himself. In the ensuing chaos, Paul, Kyle, and Dr. Hammer subdue and disarm Desmond and Michelle.
Ariel convinces the group continue searching for the idol. The group first looks in the hydrotherapy room. Desmond knocks Kyle into the water and flees with Michelle. Ariel tries to save Kyle, but he is dragged to the bottom of the pool by a ghost and slain. Dr. Hammer and Paul pull Ariel from the water and save her life. Elsewhere, Desmond and Michelle argue over whether to keep looking for the idol. Convinced Michelle wants the idol for herself, Desmond attempts to kill her. Michelle flees but is killed by Vannacutt. Desmond resumes the search alone. Ariel, Paul, and Dr. Hammer discover a grate leading to the sewer and a way out of the asylum, but it is blocked by iron bars too narrow for a person to fit through. The ghost of the rebellious inmate gives Ariel another vision, showing her that the idol is in a hidden chamber behind an oven in the asylum's basement crematorium.
Ariel, Paul, and Dr. Hammer descend to the crematorium, locate the correct oven, and discover a secret exit at the oven's rear. They walk down a corridor and discover the "heart of the house" (composed of living flesh) and within it, the fabled Baphomet Idol. Ariel tries to destroy the idol with her handgun but it is indestructible. She removes the idol, reasoning that if it is flushed down the sewer and leaves the building all the spirits will be freed. The team travels back up the corridor and out of the oven, but are ambushed by Desmond. With the idol threatened, the spirits begin attacking. Desmond is seized by fiery ghosts of sick patients and pushed into a furnace where he is burned alive. Paul avoids death by fleeing into the oven and back down into the heart of the house. Ariel and Dr. Hammer rush to the sewer grate to flush the idol before Paul dies. But Dr. Hammer is overcome by the idol's evil and tries to strangle Ariel. They fight, and Ariel encourages Hammer to resist the idol's influence. Hammer recovers his senses, but the ghost of Dr. Vannacutt appears and begins killing him. Ariel seizes the idol and throws it through the grate and into the sewer. The spirits begin vanishing (saving Paul's life at the last moment). Several spirits, including the dead inmate that led the bloody revolt, attack Dr. Vannacutt, tearing him apart as they disappeared.
With Vannacutt no longer controlling the locking mechanism, the building comes unsealed. Ariel and Paul leave.
In a post-credits scene, a man and woman are shown about to make love on a beach. The woman feels something under the sand beneath her. They dig, and pull the Baphomet idol into the light.
Powers and Abilities
The Baphomet Idol is apparently possessed by the power and the evil of Baphomet. It can corrupt those that desire it or become attached to it, and it can also keep dead souls bound to Earth and force them to do Baphomet's bidding (although the souls can be freed if the Idol is separated from them). The Idol is highly impervious to damage as well, and it is possibly even indestructible, as when Ariel shot the Idol over and over, it was not even scratched. It is also hinted that the Idol is alive as well as possessed, as several times, faint Latin chants can be heard coming from the Idol, and when Paul and Ariel pulled the Idol from its altar, it emitted a shriek of pain.
- The Baphomet Idol is similar to the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings. Like the One Ring, the Baphomet Idol causes those who desire it to become obsessed with it, and eventually corrupted by its evil.
- In the unrated DVD release of Return to House on Haunted Hill which has the Navigational Cinema technology, if (during the scene in which the occultically enigmatic mercenary Harue is seduced by the Lesbian Ghosts) the viewer chooses for Harue to not resist the ghosts, then she will find the Baphomet Idol on the beach at the end of the film, instead of the love-making couple who found it in the film's canonical ending.