The Horror of it All. Or Not.

The Other is busy writing the follow up to his recent creepy release. It has me also wondering which will come next after this current book (about sexual slavery) is released. I have two projects I am tinkering with. One is inspirational and about wrestling with our Purpose. The other is about spiritual warfare and is very very close to horror.

And, as such, it has me wondering how effective horror can be as a Christian fiction platform.

One would think it could be quite effective. Horror is usually populated with all of the evils that most of us are susceptible to. As a “student” of horror, I know that 90% of the monsters and baddies in horror are really just physical manifestations of our own personal demons or intangible aspects of our environment that scare us. (Did you know that the character of Annie Wilkes  in Stephen King’s Misery was the representation of King’s addictions at the time? Makes it a whole new kind of story once you know that, huh?)

ImageAnd what’s more intangible than the unknown? The unknown, of course, also including God for non-believers (whether they’ll openly admit it or not).

Think about the more popular stories in the Bible. There’s a ton of horror in there. Aside from the talking snakes and angels with seven heads (I honestly still don’t know quite how that works), there’s the all of Revelations, There are giants, demons, ghosts (to some degree), Satan everywhere and on and on.

There’s also the fact that a great deal of horror fans are agnostics, atheists or, at the best, lukewarm believers. I see horror and all things dark (this includes music, too) as a means to convey the gospel to an audience that might otherwise not hear it.

Another thing about horror is that a great deal of it is about facing that unknown head on. Sometimes hijinx ensue. But more often than not, the characters have to do some self-reflection. Sometimes it’s about personal choices, sometimes about faith. Given that, it seems that horror would be an opportune platform for Christian fiction.

Of course, living in the Bible Belt, I also know that many believe that “Christian” and “horror” should be nowhere near one another. (Note: many of these same people believe that electric guitar and bass drums don’t belong in praise and worship music and that the fitting way to end any service is with a luncheon where mac and cheese and baked beans are the holy of holies).

This is where horror gets muddied because there are many sub-genres that are nothing more than blood, gore and terribly overdone zombie stuff. But let’s think about traditional, classic horror. Horror with a plot where people have to overcome some obstacle pitched forth from the unknown rather than the maniac in the warehouse with torture devices.

Later, in future posts, I plan to break down several classic horror films into how they are, at their base, about our struggle to find God (or whatever force non-believers believe will fill the hole God should be filling) or the need to better understand faith. It’s a little easier than you might think.

So what say you, everyone. Is there any reason to not use horror as a fitting platform for Christian fiction?

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