Shh! I need to tell you something. It’s a secret. No, not here. Come around the corner… Where it’s a bit darker.
I’m a fan of horror fiction. I grew up reading Stephen King. I still read his work. Now, I’m not a fan of horror for horror’s sake, or the buckets of gore served up ad infinitum in so-called torture porn. That said, even the Saw movies present a kind of twisted “what would you do” scenario: do you sacrifice, or save, yourself. (I’ve not seen them).
The best horror stories are always morality plays. The darker the darkness, the starker, the brighter, the light is in contrast. It’s good vs. evil on grand scale, where the forces of evil always seem on the cusp of winning, but then good overcomes. Characters–regular people, like you and me–are placed in these insane situations, and we get to see: will they rise to the occasion, or be overcome?
Fiction in general, and horror fiction in particular, helps us to make sense of a seemingly senseless world. It often does so by invoking the supernatural. This, I think, is really what explains our ongoing fascination–as a culture, as a species–with the things that go bump in the night. Whether we are atheists, agnostics, rationalists, scientists, and whether want to acknowledge it, or not, in our inmost selves we know that there is more to the world than what we experience with our senses.
Horror takes this intrinsic understanding, and makes it tacit reality: the monsters are real, the unseen exists. There really is more to this world than meets the eye.
We who are Christians of course know this: there is a God, a devil, and a war for the souls of every person who has ever lived. Horror, in a sense, shows the world as it really is: a battleground between the forces of light and dark. Because that’s the stark truth: we were, all of us, born into a world at war.
We who are Christians also know something else: in the end, we win. In the end, good will ultimately triumph over evil (although it’s bloody battle now). The devil is not, nor has he ever been, God’s equal. He will lose.
Which is why I get excited when a movie comes out that acknowledges the fundamental nature of reality: good, and evil, are real. The world is often a scary, confusing place, and there are sinister forces at work that we can’t comprehend.
What movie is this? That marries two things I love? A good scare, and the overcoming goodness of God?
What do you think? Are you going to see it?