1. notleia says:

    Aaaand there’s a Chick tract to the side. Just sitting there, being all Chick-tract-y and gross.

    • True. Chick buys into magic/mysticism and made-up notions about about Christianity is and what’s happened in church history. That’s never a good thing.

      • That cartoon represents the worst in “Christian” use of popular arts and culture, I think: preachy, inaccurate (Ouija boards in Harry Potter???), false teaching, and a misuse of Scripture.

        But about Mike’s interview, I like what he said about how people should recoil from horror. I don’t think I’ve heard that from an advocate for the genre before.


        • Mike Duran says:

          Becky, I have a real problem with someone who takes glee in darkness and pain. Thing is, it’s not necessarily the portrayal of darkness and pain that’s the problem. In theory, someone could watch The Passion of the Christ and exalt in the gore. However, the intent of the director was not to satiate someone’s thirst for gore. Far from it. I’d suggest that the purpose of the Christian author is to portray evil as evil, which means he’s intending his audience to be repulsed. This, however, would not prevent a reader from taking glee in it.

      • Amen.

        Similarly, we’re not supposed to like the concept of Hell. It should also make us recoil. But many Christians have fallen into uselessness, or even heresies, by taking the “speak no evil” notion way too far and thus avoiding certain truths.

  2. Mike Duran says:

    Thanks, Stephen, for the interview.


  3. dmdutcher says:

    I actually dislike Peter Jackson because he brought a splatterpunk sensibility into LOTR and King Kong. People forget he started as a director of ultraviolent horror films like Bad Taste and Dead Alive, and it shows in LOTR in a milder form. I don’t really get people who dislike horror but think those movies are awesome, because his enemy and creature designs are horror-inspired.

    I grew up with horror too, but in the eighties, where it was more nihilist in its social commentary. I think to a point you can argue even those films helped, because they demolished a lot of the  modernist idea that the world can be fixed perfectly. The idea that science could actually cause great harm, or be ineffective, really was a needed corrective to the “rocketship” scientism of the 50’s and 60’s. Sometimes I think you need to have that faith in christ-substitutes kicked out from under you, and maybe those horror movies helped.

    Top five (definitely not Christian friendly) would be Return of the Living Dead (send more paramedics!), John Carpenter’s The Thing, David Cronenberg’s Scanners, The Innocents, and The Grudge.

    I also recommend Mike’s book. Not many people even bother with Christian cultural criticism apart from the hot thing of the moment, but Mike does and really does it well. Now if we could just get him to write the next Reagan Moon book quicker…


    • Mike Duran says:

      Thanks, David. That’s a great observation about horror undermining Scientism. One thing I’d springboard off of regarding Jackson’s importing of a “splatterpunk sensibility” into LotR, is that this isn’t unique to Jackson. The horror genre over-all is rather malleable, so that many horror tropes and images have been integrated into more mainstream stories. Some examples: Event Horizon, typically labeled sci-fi, contains many horror elements. The Alien films all overlap with horror. Saving Private Ryan has incredibly graphic gore. A lot of Michael Crichton’s stuff contains horror elements (The Andromeda Strain, Terminal Man, Jurassic Park, Sphere, Prey, etc.).  Even Indiana Jones contains some horrific moments (think Nazi man melting).

    • Somehow I have missed the term “splatterpunk.” Very apt, that.

      Alas, the worst parts of the (still underappreciated) The Hobbit film trilogy are the “splatterpunk” bits. I don’t mean horror bits, like orcs’ limbs getting lopped off (which is still done rather tastefully and without gore in the films). Rather it’s just the dumb gross-out humor that doesn’t even succeed in grossing anyone out, such as the part in the second film when The Master of Laketown eats pig testicles. Ha ha! So gross! Oh wait, no it’s not, it’s completely awkward and unfunny and adds nothing whatsoever to the story. In the behind the scenes of the extended edition you can tell everyone is just pretending that it will somehow be very amusing. You can also tell that Peter Jackson was descending into his worst proclivities and they all but directly state that the other writers (Boyens and Walsh?) had to rein him in.

      With all that nonsense going on, I put up perfectly fine with the action-silly bits.

What do you think?