2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience
– Ephesians 2:2
Personally, I’ve never really been much into the Horror genre when it comes to films. But this time of year, October/Halloween season, if there’s ever a time I’d be privy to catching a spooky flick, it’d be now! … But in this post, I just want to explore, what exactly ought to constitute a “Horror” Movie?
Of course , when it comes to the horror movies of the silver screen as they are commonly defined in pop-culture, then tend to feature such elements as ghosts and goblins, witches and vampires, forsaken castles and dungeons, and of course, even the theologically-inspired demons and the otherwise paranormal.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Halloween, Nightmare Before Christmas,Saw, The Texas Chainsaw,Jaws, the pulse-pounding litany of films depicting haunted places and killings…. all these we have identified, collectively as ‘horror’. It’s almost as if it’s been relegated to an aesthetic that’s emphasized Oct. 31st. But what about any other time of the year? What is the danger of emphasizing horror/ the demonic as an aesthetic as opposed to a very real reality that is more than mere fiction?
Herein lies why I believe I don’t care too much for HOrror films- because they don’t depict the existential horrors (i.e. demonic strongholds) that plague people’s lives. I struggle to take them seriously, even if they may be sometimes fun to watch. In my last post I mentioned Satoshi Kon, a highly regarded Japanese animator who had a huge influence on many- one of which is the great Darren Aranofsky.
Aronofsky is known for some pretty trippy film experiences : The Black Swan and the recent controversial Noah ( yes, even that was trippy!), but none of his films has had quite the same impact on pop culture as ‘Requiem For a Dream’
Without revealing too much, Requiem For a Dream made me understand the demonic like no other movie I’ve even seen. The very title itself is telling- essentially “[Catholic] Funeral for a Dream”, as we see it tell of the lives of 4 folks whose biggest hopes, dreams and aspirations are literally snatched and gnawed away by the vice grip that drugs ( of various kinds) have on their lives. The looming sense of terror and anguish I felt in my own body just watching this film, was unlike anything any ‘horror’ films could have ever even begun to make me feel. And it made me cringe at the horror of a human life being worn away by the forces of the human condition that are so strong, they needn’t be reduced to an aesthetic. The grip and destruction is real. The destruction wrought on young black unarmed, innocent men and women at the hands of police brutality is real, the effects of war, terrorism, corrupt institutions- if Christ’s ministry teaches us anything, it’s that with Satan being “Prince of the Air” , we are all living in something of a ‘horror film’ that is gradually being redeemed- whose genre is gradually changing!