Horror Film Genre as it Relates to Christianity

Doug Phillips has some interesting thoughts. He cites a conversion with George Barna which says Horror is the most influenctial film genre for modern young people. Some of the comments reminded me of some things Ravi Zacharius said regarding the use of certain music forms during worship (series can be found here 9/18-9/22). I will have to go back and listen again. The quote below is from Doug’s blog.

One of the subjects we addressed last year, and then again at this year’s Christian Filmmakers Academy, is the duty of the Christian filmmaker to evaluate film genre from a presuppositional and biblical ethic. The truth is this: not all genres are created equal. Genres reflect philosophical and theological priorities. Some genres are so immersed in anti-Christian presuppositions that to divest them of their perverse worldview is to destroy the genre itself. Consequently, some genres are unredeemable. Pornography would be one example. Horror is another.

I am also reminded of a couple passages from Augustine’s ‘Confessions’.

They (acts of violence) may even be done for the mere pleasure in another man’s pain, as the spectators of gladiatorial shows or the people who deride and mock at others. These are the major forms of iniquity that spring out of the lust of the flesh, and of the eye, and of power.

The passage below is long but worth reading. In it, Augustine is talking about a close friend of his who is drawn to the violence of gladiatorial shows.

He had gone on to Rome before me to study law–which was the worldly way which parents were forever urging him to pursue–and there he was carried away again with an incredible passion for the gladiatorial shows. For, although he had been utterly opposed to such spectacles and detested them, one day he met by chance a company of his acquaintances and fellow students returning from dinner; and, with a friendly violence, they drew him, resisting and objecting vehemently, into the amphitheater, on a day of those cruel and murderous shows. He protested to them: “Though you drag my body to that place and set me down there, you cannot force me to give my mind or lend my eyes to these shows. Thus I will be absent while present, and so overcome both you and them.” When they heard this, they dragged him on in, probably interested to see whether he could do as he said. When they got to the arena, and had taken what seats they could get, the whole place became a tumult of inhuman frenzy. But Alypius kept his eyes closed and forbade his mind to roam abroad after such wickedness. Would that he had shut his ears also! For when one of the combatants fell in the fight, a mighty cry from the whole audience stirred him so strongly that, overcome by curiosity and still prepared (as he thought) to despise and rise superior to it no matter what it was, he opened his eyes and was struck with a deeper wound in his soul than the victim whom he desired to see had been in his body. Thus he fell more miserably than the onewhose fall had raised that mighty clamor which had entered through his ears and unlocked his eyesto make way for the wounding and beating down of his soul, which was more audacious than truly valiant–also it was weaker because it presumed on its own strength when it ought to have depended on Thee. For, as soon as he saw the blood, he drank in with it a savage temper, and he did not turn away, but fixed his eyes on the bloody pastime, unwittingly drinking in the madness–delighted with the wicked contest and drunk with blood lust. He was now no longer the same man who came in, but was one of the mob he came into, a true companion of those who had brought him thither. Why need I say more? He looked, he shouted, he was excited, and he took away with him the madness that would stimulate him to come again: not only with those who first enticed him, but even without them; indeed, dragging in others besides. And yet from all this, with a most powerful and most merciful hand, thou didst pluck him and taught him not to rest his confidence in himself but in thee–but not till long after.

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2 Responses to Horror Film Genre as it Relates to Christianity

  1. hayseed says:

    awesome post. i’ve just started reading augustine’s confessions, so this was right on time for me. thank you for sharing this. and i also take to heart the message. i have stopped watching horror movies some time back, and i shudder now when i realize the harm i have done to myself by watching horror movies. it truly does beat down the soul.

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