What should Christians do on 'Friday the 13th'?

Betty McNeely
February 13, 2009

If you knew me, you would know that I'm not a judgmental prude or anything, just living by grace. So, let's get that out on the table before commencing :) The friends I have who imbibe in horror flicks do so because they like the adrenaline rush of being afraid. (and perhaps subconciously the sexual overtones, and other elements which appeal to the "flesh") Having known some real terror due to childhood abuse, I'm more in the camp of "Perfect Love casts out fear." I'm not knocking adrenaline rushes; I have my own addictions in that area. Only for me, I can't really give a good defense to horror movies seeing as though whenever there is any kind of supernatural encounter in the Bible, the dialogue usually begins with "Fear not!" or "Do not be afraid!" Psalm 91:5 encourages:<br>"You will not be afraid of the terror by night...." Isaiah 54:14 states:<br>"In righteousness you will be established; You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear; And from terror, for it will not come near you. For me, terror and horror runs contradictory to the fruit of the Spirit I'm trying to allow to mature in me; namely joy, peace, and gentleness, so these kinds of slasher/sexual/terrorizing horror flicks are out for me. Blessings on all your readers!

February 13, 2009

"But do these allegories justify the cruelty and violence that is the genre’s bread and butter? Is viewing the movies this way a case of trying to make the end justify the means?"<br><br>In the cases of "Hostel" and "Saw," I see no redeeming value. That value is stretched to the limit in Romero's zombie films, or any other for that matter. As allegory, the horror genre gets bogged down in the gore to be sure. Science Fiction has always cornered the market on morality tales, political and social commentary, and theological discover. What Horror does, and has done over time, is escalate itself because it thinks it's going to lose the audience. Looking at films like "Saw," you had a pretty self contained sequence of events in the first film and now you find a world in which nothing is safe and anyone can build a machine to "teach" someone a lesson. The world portrayed in these movies is Hell itself, a nightmare from which there is no escape. I find no redemption in horror films due to the plain fact that even the survivors don't get away anymore. The virginal female character, the "hero" in the old-school horror films, always seems to escape until the once dead killer jumps out at the last second. I used to love these movies, but the older I get and the further my walk with God takes me, I feel like if I can't find even a glimmer of a higher layer of thought I'm walking away.

February 13, 2009

Fascinating post.<br>There does seem to be a morbid fascination with horror films. Kind of like a car wreck, where you know you're not doing any favours (NZ spelling) to look, but you do anyway.<br>I watch the odd horror, but I don't really consider myself a fan so much.<br>Maybe it's just the suspense that is so addictive, the adrenalin rush being like a drug?

February 13, 2009

I must admit that I am allergic to adrenalin rushes. I fear not being calm and rational, although I do lose it occasionally. I don't seek movies with that kind of thrill. On the whole, I find the whole genre sick. This is very close to the discussions that come up every year about Halloween. I love Halloween. My birthday is on the 13th, and I enjoy finding it coming up on a Friday every few years. But I despise Freddy Kreuger and most horror flicks. I have no interest in watching or promoting them. How dare Hollywood ruin my favorite holidays with this incredibly 20th century perversion? Perhaps we have rid the world of so many real fears (genuine carnivores in the woods we have to pass to get to school or market) that these warped fantasies have come to fill the void.

February 13, 2009

i would say it is impossible to abhor real violence and appreciate virtual violence at the same time. there is definitely a strong escapist element to it... an attempt to numb our senses to the grave realities of life—and death—that are part and parcel of our experience on this fallen planet.

Chris Ruch
February 14, 2009

I always tend to like a horror film when there's a moral/spiritual point to the subtext. Ghost stories are often intriguing when it's REALLY about the horrors done to another person in life... so we can learn how better to treat someone, or look for ways to help someone in need, so that they don't end up a tortured/lost soul even in this life. Zombie films are often a favorite, not because of the gore, but because of the allusion to society and all the things that cause us to become numb/dead to the greater things of the world and ourselves... and we figuratively become a horde of mindless consumers... devouring the world around us for little more than the energy we need to keep consuming.

February 15, 2009

Since my conversion to christianity I have lost my desire to expose myself to horror movies, or the many concepts they promote. While the cross and the crucifixion of a severly disfigured and bruised Christ dying on the cross is a horrible sight, there is hope in this sight. I see nothing redemptive in the endless array of horror flicks. It is my personal conviction to avoid these movies because they do not fulfill the mandate that :whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is honorable, noble, kind - think on these things.

John D
February 15, 2009

I echo the scripture referred to in the previous comment. I think that turning our thoughts toward darkness brings us down and can leave us feeling unsettled and in need of light, love, and even healing.

February 17, 2009

scary movies scare me and I don't watch them. I do however miss the mortars going over head and wondering where they will hit. Then thanking God they didn't hit anyone except maybe a generator or two. An old soldier sometimes remembers that those things are not so scary, but bring back memories of the old days or of friends you will see again. Movies are movies and have nothing on real life. In God's Grace John

February 19, 2009

I don't believe there IS one.<br>Try Philippians 4:8<br>While watching a movie, and for quite a while after that, if it had any impact at all (and a 'good' horror movie certainly would), you are meditating on, and thinking on, things that are not at all holy, just, good and pure.<br>

Steven Koster
February 19, 2009

I think there are too many types of sub-genres lumped together in the broad category of "horror film" to discern the value. <br><br>Slasher films, for example, have little value and are basically violence porn. And I would judge the 'naughty teens get punished' thesis as what the films argue against. The evil is not in the promiscuity, but in those who oppose it. Those who enforce moral codes are puritanical perversions of humanity. And even that thesis, such as it is, is a tissue-thin excuse for voyeurism. <br><br>Monster films, OTOH, often tell a much different story. Take Frankenstein, the classic tale of humanity's effort to play God. Scientific hubris has disastorous results--this is a story retold many times over, Godzilla, King Kong, even the recent Zombie films. (And this whole category is an antithesis to the Enlightenment myth of human perfection through knowledge and technology, as seen on, say, Star Trek). <br><br>Fantasy films, usually less violent, are often more all over the map on their world-views. From Aslan's Narnia, to the savior in the Matrix, to The-Wizard-is-a-fake Oz, to Pullman's The-church-is-evil Golden Compass. But that's another conversation. <br>

Mike C
February 19, 2009

I think you did a great job covering the quagmire created by this genre of slash em movies. Although I saw most all Freddy, Jason and Mikey movies growing up, I really struggled with this latest version of Friday the 13th for the reasons you outlined, and kept my 13 year old daughter from attending it on opening night - even though she put a lot of pressure on because 3 rows of her classmates were going...sadly. I'm not a prudish Christian, but I just can't relate to parents allowing their couple dozen 13 year old girls (a good bunch from "Christian" families) to see this movie with the amount of nudity, sex and gory murder. Sixteen years old is a different story...but thirteen?! I'm not going to moralize, but I'm a little surprised at how much in the minority I was in this particual instance.

Jocelyn Cox
March 4, 2009

I'm sixteen years old and struggling with the idea of going to see the new "Friday the 13th" movie. I don't mind watching childish thrillers or old 80s flicks where there is no possible way to relate to real life (and if it does, it makes you take a deeper look into society), but I have to draw a line somewhere. I agree with the appeal of adrenaline rushes, but is an addiction to horror flicks not just as bad in God's eyes as dabbling in drugs?<br>Thank you so much for this post and all of the comments. It is really encouraging and has given me a new look on what popular culture tells me is fun and good.

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