Shadow of Count Orlock, in the film Nosferatu

Image via Wikipedia

I think I get it. I think I know why some people have such a hard time with the concept of Christian horror.

Recently I saw an ad listing a number of “exploitation, horror and DIY cinema” and the first movie featured “deviant cannibal torture.” In more mainstream horror movies franchises such as Hostel and Saw along with The Devil’s Rejects and Wolf Creek viewers flock to their local multiplex get their fill of blood, guts and sadism.

Is it possible that we have become so desensitized by what some filmmakers call “ratcheting up the stakes” that the only way to get a visceral thrill is to wallow in the viscera? Stephen King once said that horror “feeds the alligators of the mind,” but what are we feeding them?

Who are we feeding them?

Have we become so drenched in the gore that we are losing sight of whose point of view we are experiencing; victimizer or victim? And is there really a difference? In the old 1970s exploitation hacker/slasher films, there was at least a sense that the killer was exacting some modicum of revenge for a wrongful act, or taking out retribution against a group because of their promiscuity. And while that is by no means an admirable model, even that minute spark of righteous indignation is gone as a motivation.

But what about the vampires and creatures from which the horror genre evolved? The Hammer horror films for example? Film journalist and author Alan Jones says, ” … most people can write off the Hammer movies because they can be explained away as fairytales.” We know the monsters aren’t real. They are a manifestation of our unspoken fears.

But the game changed and the horrors are more extreme. And movies like A Serbian Film have pushed the envelope so far that in some countries there is no adequate rating. As one reviewer stated, “You should not watch A Serbian Film. And I will never watch it again. I was repulsed.” Even the torture porn industry is turning its back on such a feature.

And while this does not represent the horror genre as a whole, the fact that it exists representing evil for evil’s sake is disturbing.

And that’s where Christian horror comes into play.

Tomorrow: Dealing with … not glorifying … evil

[Note: Please do not look up trailers and extensive reviews for A Serbian Film.  I’m not a prude by any means, but just what I read and was able to stomach for purposes of this post were THE most vile things I have ever been exposed to. I can’t imagine watching the trailer. So do yourself a favor and stay away. It’s that bad.]

That’s the problem – most people can write off the Hammer movies because they can be explained away as fairytales.
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