Which means slasher flicks, vampires, satanic cults, zombies, giant worms, cabins in the woods, stupid, frisky teenagers, lots of screaming and an unrealistically vast amount of blood that no human body could actually contain.
Growing up, October was That Month where my family and I would be watching TV and some trailer for some horror flick would come on and we’d all frown and collectively shake our heads with a designated “ew” of judgment, mute the screen and wait for it to go away. In addition, I had nightmares at the drop of a hat, so these weren’t particularly edifying or beneficial for me (seriously. I watched half a trailer for Shutter Island and had a nightmare).
But to the people who have only gotten to know me in the last year or two, this might sound weird.
Because now, I like horror. I’ve watched the first two seasons of The Walking Dead, I have Cabin in the Woods in my personal library, my Stephen King book collection isn’t vast, but isn’t insignificant, and I am slowly poking away at the Amnesia: The The Dark Descent game just to name a small fraction of my dabblings. Oh yes, and I continue to be slightly addicted to the Monster Hunter International series by Larry Correia.
To some people, this isn’t really a big deal. But then there’s others where I say, “yeah, I like horror,” and I get minorly shell-shocked stares as they seem to wonder just when I possibly went so far off the deep end as to watch/read/play/[insert medium here]…that.
Which, I totally get. For years I veered away from horror not so much because of a personal conviction or even because of Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)”
but because I could feel the socially unacceptableness of touching that genre oozing from everywhere I went. Despite having been interested in darker, creepier, more, er, “drippy” atmospheres for as long as I can remember, I was scared to look at something that everyone said was bad. Evil. Horror. is. bad. (And then, of course, there was the whole nightmare thing.)
Which, while I believe that fear was a good thing when I was younger, in the last year I’ve come to the conclusion that this blanket judgment is not exclusively true.
This isn’t solely because I’ve come to accept the facts that “I like gross stuff” and that I am attracted to bleak horribleness (I have a picture of an abandoned cell with bloodied drawers as my desktop wallpaper). Additionally, I fully acknowledge, and I truly mean this from my heart when I say I understand that these things aren’t good for some people. If that is the case for you, then stay away! Do not sear your conscience (1 Timothy 4:2; Ephesians 4:30) or place yourself somewhere that might pull you down. Do not put your spiritual walk at risk.
“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. (1 Corinthians 10:23)”
I never, ever want to encourage anyone to go against their convictions.
That said, I’ve been wanting to write some posts on why Philippians 4:8 and 1 Corinthians 10:23 are abused in a bit of a one-sided manner in this topic, in addition to clarifying just what “horror” can mean (it’s a much looser term than you might be thinking). I also want to showcase some examples of “horror” movies from across different sub-genres that have some fantastic themes that may stretch your thinking, or even touch your heart. The point of fiction should be to stretch your thinking, and to come up with more questions to find more Biblical answers to that help strengthen your faith. Each time you read a story, you are reading someone’s worldview from their heart. This applies to horror as well.
This urge to pick on horror just happened to hit over October.
“Horror” has gotten a bad rap, and from what I’ve gleaned probably 90% or more of it is whole-heartedly deserved. There are horror movies surrounding demonic possession, satanic cults, witchcraft, “torture porn,” gore, sadism, sex…everything. But these types of movies are not exclusively what the parent genre has to offer.
I’d love to discuss this with people. Iron sharpens iron, and this might seem such a silly little thing, but I do think it’s definitely something worth exploring. I’m not asking anyone to agree, merely to think outside of a pre-established box of prejudice.
And oh yeah. I re-did my blog layout. Again.