The Ritual, or the Ancient Ritual, is a ceremony that has become necessary for humanity to perform since its very beginning. Long before humans existed, the great and powerful beings known as The Ancient Ones walked and ruled the world. When humanity first appeared, the Ancient Ones decided it would be more entertaining to let them continue their existence, rather than destroy them, under specific guidelines that humanity had to adhere to.
What is the Ritual?
The ritual changed over centuries of time, as the original rituals soon became mundane and boring to the Ancient Ones. As time progressed, the deities began to demand more complicated acts to appease them in order to allow the earth to continue being inhabited by humanity. At first the rituals were simple sacrificial duties, or ceremonial murder performed by Pagan worshipers. For instance, Hadley rants that an undisclosed time ago, the Ritual was as simple as throwing a girl in a volcano, but as time went on the Ancient Ones began demanding more complex rituals.
Soon the necessity of completing the ritual and carrying on humanity's existence was taken into the hands of The Organization, which stemmed from an ancient cult or multiple Ancient One worshiping groups all around the world who united to increase the chance of being successful each year.
Main Rules of the Ritual
- The ritual is performed once a year. Several locally adapted versions take place simultaneously all over the world in order to ensure success.
- Those who are being sacrificed must be young or youthful.
- Each location has a different set of rules that, if completed correctly, the ceremony will be accepted by the Ancient Ones.
- If at least one of the worldwide rituals is completed, then the gods will be satisfied for another year.
- If all of the rituals fail, the old gods will grow angry and rise from their slumber to destroy humanity.
The American Ritual
While each ritual has its own specific guidelines for success, none are really touched upon in detail except for the North American divisions sacrament (which is controlled by The Facility.)
The American Ritual consists of the following specific rules:
- There must be at least five archetypes that are punished for transgression: an Athlete, Whore, Scholar, Fool, and Virgin. The individuals chosen for these roles do not have to be consistent with them, and if needed, their personalities can be altered prior to or during the Ritual to perform their role more accurately.
- A "harbinger" must blatantly warn them of their forthcoming deaths, but they must choose to disregard him.
- The five must choose their method of death by tampering with an item that pertains to a monster that relates to or prizes that item.
- The whore must be the first to die, as she is the most tainted of the five. An optimal scenario has her stripping her clothes at least once.
- With each death, sacrificial blood must be poured into stone tablets that symbolize the individual's archetype, thus signifying their punishment and death.
- Once the virgin is at least sexually tempted, the scholar's life is expendable.
- The virgin’s death is optional so long as she suffers; she may live or die and still placate the Ancient Ones. However, if she is to die, she must die last.
The Japanese Ritual
The Ritual in Japan has a different set of rules, given the different cultural background. The shown scenario bears a close resemblance to the film Ringu so the Japanese scenario is a parody of the J-Horror genre. Some notable differences are:
- It seems to emphasize even younger victims (9 to 14 years old).
- When the American scenario is a parody of the slasher, this scenario's a parody of the J-Horror.
- There's a special emphasis in having a homogeneous group of young girls.
- No adult intervention seems to be present, such as a Harbinger.
- No nudity is needed.
The Swedish Ritual
As part of their Ritual, a natural disaster must take place. A large volcanic eruption is shown on the monitors that display the progress of foreign rituals, using footage from the film Dante's Peak. As the current American ritual is a parody of the Slasher genre, the Swedish Ritual is a parody of the disaster film genre; no doubt disasters other than volcanoes are also acceptable.
The Argentinian Ritual
The monitor dedicated to Buenos Ares showed a Giant Ape, meaning that this ritual is a parody of the Kaijueiga or giant monster films. The American branch has access to similar giant animals, so presumably some American Rituals have employed a similar scenario over the years.
The Spanish Ritual
The screen showed a burning building in Madrid, presumably a castle, and may indicate that its ritual is a parody of the Gothic horror genre.