Conversations with practicing fundamentalist Christians on the topic of horror are often stressy things. Either you end up wishing you 'hadn't said that' as they shrink back from whatever evil you propose, or you get a very meaningful discussion about why what you are talking about is evil and, possibly a pamphlet or a mini-sermon.
I write this because I have been thinking particularly about distorting the idea of resurrection. As I think about it, the interesting thing is that the bulk of the motifs of horror come straight from biblical sources.
- Firstly, demons and the idea of possession are present in both the old and new testaments.
- Secondly, the idea of the dead brought to life can be found in the new testament, particularly in the stories of Lazarus and the Roman officer's daughter.
- Thirdly, the story of Christ in the wilderness involves temptation by the devil.
- Fourth, there are enough occult or Fortean events to go around, for instance, parting of the sea, manna from Heaven, Jonah and the whale, the burning bush and quite a few more.
- Fifth, there is the prospect of dystopias in Armageddon, the arrival of the Beast and the Apocalypse.
- Sixth, there is the idea of Hell, the ultimate horror theme park.
There may be several reasons for this.
- Unlike Judaism, which seems to be based on a direct relationship with God within the bounds of a certain set of observances, Christianity is characterised largely by intercession. Intercession demands one interpretation, that of the intercessor. This has led to sects based on uniformity which allow very little room for questioning that stories promote.
- Christianity is based on very rigid boundaries and approved thinking. Thinking which speculates on fears outside of the approved set of horrors breaks down those boundaries. The person who arrives at church with an idea for a horror story in his or her head is seen as dwelling on evil either at the expense of the fears or celestial joy espoused by the preacher.
- Horror discomforts certain Christians because it brings them into contact with the things that they most fear, and they have to watch the obvious enjoyment of these fears.