1. Kessie says:

    Thanks for this article! I’ve often wondered what Christians should think of the horror genre.
    I’m not a fan of hack ’em up slasher flicks, but I do like thrillers and some of the horror monsters, like werewolves. I’ve often thought that horror portrays sin and redemption in much clearer terms than other genres, because evil is raw and in your face, and redemption is a complex thing sought after by the people who have been bitten/cursed/whatever.
    I know Dekker delves into horror, but I don’t like his as much because he seems to have this junior high obsession with ‘gross’, throwing worms and eating boogers. Psychological thrillers are what scare the heck out of me, like Turn of the Screw by Henry James, or even The Oath by Peretti. (I can’t read that book without checking in the mirror to see if I have the mark over my heart.)
    Bram Stoker’s Dracula, on the other hand, is more Christian than most modern Christian novels. When Mina is bitten, she’s praying and pleading with God for forgiveness, and even Dracula is redeemed at the end by being finally killed, because death released him from his awful vampiric curse.

    • Christian says:

      Dekker doesn’t really write horror but his books are plenty psychological in their focus. I’ve never read a book of his where people eat boogers and throw worms and I’ve read all of his books so far (save his joint effort with Tosca Lee). So I really don’t understand what you mean. I loved and still love The Oath. It’s an intense, reflective story of the nature of sin. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was also very good.

      • Kessie says:

        The bat larvae being “worms” and the bad guys doing gross things like Marsuvees Black eating the wart he’s just miraculously removed. One bat spitting into the mouth of another bat. You know, things “just to be gross”. Dekker even said that he writes half that stuff to gross out his mother-in-law. :-p

      • Kaci Hill says:

        Haha. I think it’s mostly Marsuvees who does that stuff.  And he’s a freak.

  2. Galadriel says:

    Doctor Who verges on horror quite frequently–and part of the attraction of that in my mind is that I know it will end  “well.” So I can be scared and still feel somewhat safe.

  3. Jeremy McNabb says:

    I think the only serious problem with horror is when it lowers the value of human life repeatedly killing people. Horror can be achieved by the threat of death as much by death itself. 

    Thanks for highlight reel. I had entirely forgotten about Hollow Man, and never heard of The Addiction. Great piece.


    • Brian Godawa says:

      I agree. When it becomes all about seeing new ways of killing people then you enter into exploitation. A fine line between exploitation and exposure though. I have been writing a script about Jezebel and Iron Age Israel, and God makes a moral point at the end of Omride dynasty by finishing it off in a bloodbath akin to The Godfather or Scarface. And in Judges, the point of showing the grotesque is to make the point of illustrating what we become when “every man does what is right in his own eyes.”

  4. Fred Warren says:

    I’ve always been struck by how moral horror stories usually are, despite the horrific things that happen along the way. Good and evil are clearly identified (almost to the point of caricature), characters are most often undone or made vulnerable to the forces of evil via their own moral or spiritual flaws, and evil is vanquished by good at the end, most of the time, or at least thoroughly beaten-down for a while. Some examples from Stephen King’s portfolio: The Stand, and It.

    Horror stories that fail for me violate that basic structure. Characters are killed off randomly, evil is portrayed as more powerful than good, and/or evil wins in the end, with no hope left to the reader/viewer that this is a temporary situation. Stephen King examples: Pet Cemetary, and Children of the Corn.

    • Kaci Hill says:

      Thanks, Fred. I’m a bit weird about horror, not because I’m squeamish, but because I refuse to slog through pointless, grotesque muck for no reason. (That, and apparently most of what I’ve been exposed to is the kind rather lacking just in storytelling quality.) Examples: I’m sorry, but I shouldn’t be able to say the line before the actor does in a movie I haven’t seen (The Grudge) or predict every infinitely stupid move the characters make from scene one (The Strangers); or get to the last scene feeling completely cheated of two hours (The Strangers; The Ring).
      Interview with a Vampire disturbed me, but I appreciated the overall desire for redemption. I’ve seen two Dracula movies…but overall, my issue with vampire books is still that I’m not into the sexual violence combination. (I don’t know if the Dracula book does or not; haven’t read it.) The exceptions to that, I usually enjoy.
      Anyway, to Mr. Godawa and others who provided suggestions: Thanks.  Now I have a nice list to browse through. 0=)

      • Brian Godawa says:

        Yes, there are certainly many wasteful horror movies with bad predictable elements. But there are also those same problems with romantic comedies, fantasies, dramas, and all genres. Unfortunately, we have to wade through a lot of crap to find the gems in every genre.

        I would suggest that the Twilight series is a great antidote to the usual sexual violence combo in vampire movies. The theme is a metaphor for abstinence and our sinful nature, the original purpose of the vampire mytholgy. 

      • Christian says:

        Brian, and in turn Twilight substitutes sexual violence for abuse ‘relationships’ and terrible writing.

      • Kaci Hill says:

        Brian, sorry I missed this before.

        Yes, there are certainly many wasteful horror movies with bad predictable elements. But there are also those same problems with romantic comedies, fantasies, dramas, and all genres. Unfortunately, we have to wade through a lot of crap to find the gems in every genre.

        I agree. I have a short-list of vampire novels I really enjoyed. As far as horror goes, I really think for the most part I haven’t been exposed to the good stuff, movie-wise.

  5. Lessa says:

    Your right, Revelation is one of the best horror stories ever written!

  6. Brian Godawa says:

    Spam alert.

  7. […] nature [see Christopher Miller's recent post "Writers Slay Dragons (and you should too)"]. In his apologetic of horror, guest blogger Brian Godawa said, ” Monsters become metaphors for wickedness suppressed in […]

  8. […] the horror genre of fiction. I’m thinking of articles by Brian Godowa (a series existing of Parts 1, 2, and 3), Mike Duran (such as this article, this one, and this), R.L Copple (in this, this, and […]

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