October is that peculiar time of year in which Americans in particular demonstrate an extra fascination with the terrifying, macabre, and all-around creepy. As such I wish to discuss from a Christian perspective the potential usefulness of the genre known as horror. However, I must state that I do not wish to confuse my reader by suggesting I am condoning or defending that type of media that simply wishes to entertain man’s baser desires by means of gore or the ghastly grotesque. So let the reader understand that by “horror”, I mean the genre in a general sense.
Let us consider first, the Christian belief in objective evil. This is a doctrine quite at odds with much of the modern world, yet the horror genre needs an evil of some sort to work. In horror it may take the form of a killer, a monster, or a host of other things, but an evil being or force must be present. In this sense the Christian can have a good bit of fun in realizing the irony of this situation, especially considering the popularity of the genre. In a similar way, if the antagonist of a horror book or film is a human, we can potentially point out how this demonstrates the other greatly unpopular doctrine of the depravity of man; especially if the book, film, or video game in question is the type where the moral is effectively, “the real monster is man.” Moving from a potential apologetic or point of contact with modern man, these features of horror also help the Christian to remember that there is such a thing as evil and it must be taken seriously.
Another element to consider is that frequently the supernatural is utilized in horror. This can be useful potentially, considering how much of modern man denies the supernatural outright. So reminding man that even popular media bear witness to the knowledge of the existence of things other than what can be seen by human eyes. Of course caution must be taken here, as simply believing in the supernatural does nothing, and if coupled with an unhealthy inclination, could lead to interest with the occult. Thus, wisdom and discernment are always needed.
Ultimately, horror rather forcefully reminds the consumer that all is not right in the world. Modern man supposedly rejects the idea that he lives in a fallen world and death is an evil, yet his tastes in fiction would indicate otherwise. The specter of death is always present in horror and is portrayed as an evil, which one wants to flee from, contrary to the modern worlds platitudes about it being “part of life” or some other nonsense. Therefore, if we partake in the horror genre, let us use it to remind both ourselves and modern man of the realities of evil, our mortality, and how we combat such things with the Gospel of the resurrected Savior.