When I received this email question: Is it bad for a Christian to be a fan of horror movies? I thought immediately of my friend Scott who likes certain horror movies and is a huge movie buff in general. I greatly respect Scott and value his opinion, so I was thrilled when he agreed to respond to this question. Scott writes regularly about pop-culture goings on at his great site, The Pop-Culture and Faith Review. He’s currently working a series on movies that’s really been a lot of fun. You should go check it out.
In the meantime, here’s his response about horror:
Thanks for the question. I think it somewhat depends on what kind of horror movies you like. Some horror movies are known for containing a plethora of graphic nudity, making them almost torture porn films. I think we need to stay away from those. Other horror films may have some things that illustrate Christianity well. For example, a zombie is a living dead person. In that sense, we are all zombies until we come to know the love of Christ in a real way.
Some horror films are almost demonic in nature, while others deal with the demonic from a Christian perspective. The film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose was actually directed by a Christian.
I wish it was as easy as a simple yes or no, but I do think some horror films are not ok for Christians to watch and I think some are ok.
When looking at any film, I ask the following questions:
1. How will watching this film affect me as a person?
2. How will my watching this film affect others?
3. How will my watching this film affect the cause of Christ?
If you can watch the movie without feeling convicted about it by the Holy Spirit and if you can watch critically to evaluate the claims in the film, then the film is probably ok. If you watching a film gives you an uneasy conviction, you feel that it is affecting you negatively, or that it is causing you to negatively affect others, then you should not watch.
I tend to dislike movies that glorify the demonic or evil, but movies that present truth or stand for truth I tend to really enjoy. I think the original Frankenstein and the remake from 1994 are both incredible movies that present some very interesting truths.
Horror films that pit good against evil can also be enjoyed. Some of my favorite films are thrillers. Thrillers spill over into horror with movies like Jaws, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Psycho. I think these films are all well written, well filmed, and very entertaining.
I hope this helps, but if you have any questions about a specific set of movies or a specific type of horror movies, let me know. I am happy to discuss with you further.
As Christians, we want to glorify God in all we do. We want to live a life that is pleasing to him, but part of pleasing God is enjoying life. Watching films when we have free time and want to relax can be an act of pleasing God. We just have to constantly evaluate what we watch to make sure we are not watching things that we shouldn’t.
What movies we see effect how we think, how we act, and how we view the world. So we must always be careful.
What do you guys think?
Do you like thriller, suspense, and horror movies/books?
What advice would you add?
Scott does lots of good thinking about philosophical and spiritual issues in our culture. He writes about it in a way that is very easy to understand over at his blog The Pop-Culture and Faith Review. Scott is currently finishing a Ph.D. in Theology from the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute.