Horror, Heroes, & Hell
This weekend I saw a dark comedy slasher flick and it got me thinking about Hell. (Incidentally, it was called Tucker and Dale vs. Evil and it was hilarious. I think it is destined to become a cult classic in line with the Army of Darkness. Be warned: It’s got plenty of blood and guts mixed in with the humor.)
Anyway, I started wondering why I like horror flicks so much. Am I I really messed up? Am I facing the very limits of gore and fear thereby proving my manhood–like some American Indian right of passage?
>Horror films are primal, with little pretense, and they quickly get to the point of illuminating true character.
I’m no expert, but I think every successful horror film has a singular purpose, and it’s not to be gross. The grossness simply helps accomplish the goal.
Any horror movie worth its weight in screams and gore uses the monster to reveal what’s truly lurking within. As the characters feel trapped and isolated with no apparent way out, the impending doom exposes their true qualities. Sometimes self-serving characters transform into sacrificing heroes. Or characters you like at first end up leaving everyone behind to save themselves. The monster without reveals the monster—or the savior—within.
That’s why I love them. The evil is easily identifiable.
>And I think the evil portrayed in horror movies perfectly matches what hell is to Christianity. The idea of hell reveals a lot about the Christian faith and those who believe in it.
It’s no secret that hell is probably the most uncomfortable aspect of the Christian faith. For many years I was content to ignore it and simply think, Everyone goes to heaven. When that stopped making sense—in light of the evident evil in this world—my conclusion evolved into this: Good people go to heaven, bad people go to hell. But that started to break down, too, as I realized that “good” is measured on a sliding scale, and everyone has a different standard. Some twisted minds even view obvious evil actions as good.
I realized I had to do some more investigating of this idea of hell, though I wondered what good could come from it. To say that I hate hell, and that I especially hate talking about it, is a huge understatement. But if I’m going to find the true value in the teachings and person of Jesus (and the Bible), I have to deal with this issue.
And so I did. It something we all need to do.