I am fascinated by horror movies. Watching them, reading about them, speculating about their endings, and even making fun of them. But over the past few years, I’ve begun to wonder about how much I should watch them, as someone who trusts Jesus. Something gnawed at me when I felt the suspense and fear and terror.
It wasn’t their gore.
No, it was this: Their view of the world is false. And they were trying to envelop me in it.
The way horror movies create their namesake, the emotion of horror, is to absorb you in a world where you (or the victims) have little or no control over your destiny and someone sinister does. This is the complete opposite of the Scriptural worldview. It is the opposite of the way Jesus saw the world, where He said not even a bird dies apart from God’s OK. I agree that human beings like the ones who run from scary things in horror movies are somewhat powerless; but I just know that goes for the killer, too. It’s a lie to paint some twisted yet smiling, knowing, all-powerful, sadistic killer or monster as sovereign. He doesn’t have ultimate control any more than the victims in Hostel. The killer in The Devil’s Rejects or The Shining is just as ultimately powerless as the victims. He is a vapor, in the words of James. We are not at the mercy of a chainsaw-wielding hulk of muscle and psychopathy nor a brilliant serial killer who is too intelligent to be caught. No, we are at the mercy of a God who does only righteous things and who offered His Son for sinners and now offers us the Gospel.
While we do live in a world with serial killers and torturers, they will, like everyone, either receive the wrath of God for those sins or repent and trust in Christ.
Even horror movies that portray things that actually happen in the world are completely wrong about who runs that world and how.
And they can coat our own minds and hearts with that worldview. That residue can stick around for some time. In that sense, they are dangerous. Like all lies.