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Stephen McGarvey Christian Blog and Commentary

Horror: The Perfect Christian Genre?

  • Stephen McGarvey
    Stephen McGarvey is the Executive Editor of Crosswalk.com and Christianity.com for the Salem Web Network. He is a World Journalism Institute fellow and has previously worked for BreakPoint with Chuck Colson, and the Home School Legal Defense Association. His articles have appeared in several publications including WORLD, The Washington Times, byFaith, BreakPoint WorldView, and the Union Leader (Manchester, NH).
  • 2005 Aug 30
  • Comments

Christianity Today has posted an interview Scott Derrickson, co-writer and director of the upcoming film The Exorcism of Emily Rose, who says that horror films are an acceptable way for Christians to address issues of faith. (Crosswalk.com's review of this film will post on September 9.) One of the dilemma's that comtemporary Christian filmmakers and movie fans face is what is the proper way to portray evil on screen. Derrickson says:

In my opinion, the horror genre is a perfect genre for Christians to be involved with. I think the more compelling question is, Why do so many Christians find it odd that a Christian would be working in this genre? To me, this genre deals more overtly with the supernatural than any other genre, it tackles issues of good and evil more than any other genre, it distinguishes and articulates the essence of good and evil better than any other genre, and my feeling is that a lot of Christians are wary of this genre simply because it's unpleasant. The genre is not about making you feel good, it is about making you face your fears. And in my experience, that's something that a lot of Christians don't want to do.

To me, the horror genre is the genre of non-denial. It's about admitting that there is evil in the world, and recognizing that there is evil within us, and that we're not in control, and that the things that we are afraid of must be confronted in order for us to relinquish that fear. And I think that the horror genre serves a great purpose in bolstering our understanding of what is evil and therefore better defining what is good. And of course I'm talking about, really, the potential of the horror genre, because there are a lot of horror films that don't do these things. It is a genre that's full of exploitation, but the better films in the genre certainly accomplish, I think, very noble things.

Read the entire interview on Christianity Today.