Thursday, April 25, 2013
Thoughts on Christian Horror: Dark and Twisted
Imagine a happy and peaceful small town. Life goes on like it has for many years. A family lives securely and helps their community. Then, one day, a dark presence creeps into their town. People begin vanishing during the night. Everyone is wondering if they will be next. But a few people get together to battle the darkness...
That sounds like the basic plot of many horror novels, doesn’t it? However, I wasn’t describing a horror novel. I was describing The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, a classic Christian autobiography.
The Hiding Place tells the story of a remarkable woman and her family who lived in Holland and saw the Nazis take over their country, with that dark influence steadily growing over various aspects of their daily lives. Instead of going along with the Nazis, the Ten Boom family and others fought back by helping and hiding Jews. Their true story, with its steadily mounting tension and horror, is scarier than most horror novels.
Unlike many horror novels, The Hiding Place had a point: It showed God’s power and love in the midst of frightening circumstances. And that is the most important thing that Christian horror should do: Show God’s power and love in the midst of frightening circumstances.
How Christian horror should look, and how most horror looks, are quite different. A lot of horror says, “The world is a dark and twisted place. The End.” The focus is on scaring the reader and giving them a thrill. Christian horror should say, “The world can be a dark and twisted place, but God’s light will overcome the darkness and make things right.” The focus is then on giving the reader hope.
Since the world truly is a dark and twisted place, stories with dark and twisted aspects are needed, as long as they point to the light and don’t let shadows obscure the message. Do you agree?
The next article in the Thoughts on Christian Horror series: Living in a Nightmare