Christian Horror | Renegade Cut

In the 1968 horror film Dracula Has Risen
From the Grave, two men attempt to stake Dracula through the heart and perform a ritual that
will end his reign of terror. Unfortunately, the staking proves ineffective
when the two men – an atheist and a priest with no faith – do not have the conviction
to perform a prayer and vanquish the vampire. It is only through faith that Dracula can
be defeated, at least until the next movie. This goes unquestioned in Dracula Has Risen
From the Grave as well as supernatural horror in general. The enemy of evil is faith, and the accomplice
of evil is doubt or godlessness. [PART 1: CHRISTIAN BY DEFAULT] Supernatural
horror is a film genre that includes fantastic elements such as ghosts and demons. Supernatural horror can also contain elements
of religion. The United States is predominantly Christian
in religious ideology. This is also true of the United Kingdom, Canada
and other western nations that both make and export horror films. Consequently, supernatural horror made in
the west is either understood to be existing within Christian ideology implicitly or existing
within Christian ideology explicitly through Christian imagery. This does not mean that a horror movie made
in the United States can’t take imagery from other faiths, but the dominant ideology makes
Christianity a “default” for supernatural horror that deals with the afterlife, spirits,
demons, devils and the power of faith to overcome the antagonist. Supernatural horror from western origins being
Christian by default is the product of dominant ideology. Horror often draws upon supernatural beings,
and if Christianity is the dominant form of supernaturalism in a culture, said horror
will also draw upon Christianity even if the intent is not to create an inherently religious
narrative. Unless contradicted in the text, references
to God in supernatural horror is understand by a Christian audience as the Christian God
by default, references to the afterlife understood by a Christian audience as the Christian afterlife,
etc. Most Christian films are not part of the horror
genre. Christian exploitation films like the God’s
Not Dead trilogy or anything dealing with the Rapture, more often than not have an Evangelical
Protestant flavor. Supernatural horror films, however, are more
likely to be unmistakably Catholic. Roman Catholicism is steeped in ancient, sometimes
foreboding imagery and has a powerful, hierarchical system that is naturally intimidating. There aren’t too many horror films in which
a family’s Presbyterian or Lutheran roots are integral to the plot. Horror with Christian themes is likely to
either be of the Catholic denomination or without any specific Christian denomination. Supernatural horror films generally position
the church or faith or God as the savior that can assist the potential victims overcome
the monster, the demon, the ghost or the devil. Characters in the film who are opposed to
the supernatural entity often actively seek out the help of the church or use Christian
icons or prayers to defeat the antagonist. If supernatural horror movies don’t seem explicitly
Christian, that is because Christianity being a norm and the dominant ideology in a culture
can give it a kind of cultural invisibility. We are accustomed to it so much that it’s
the background radiation of any discussion or narrative dealing with supernatural elements
in a majority Christian nation. Not all horror will serve as a puff piece
for Christianity, of course. See: The Mist or many other films adapted
from a Stephen King novel. However, supernatural horror made in western
nations generally goes the Jesus route. According to Hauntings and Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary
Perspectives, widespread and frequent repetition of similar stories with similar characters
and similar results can have an impact on the social consensus or individual conviction. When movies feature ghosts, demons and other
supernatural elements, they can’t help but comment on belief, the afterlife, doubt and
finally rejection of that doubt and renewed faith. If we understand Hollywood supernatural horror
movies to be Christian by default, then that faith being renewed is Christianity. If media repeats these narratives endlessly,
it reinforces the pre-existing worldview about Christianity or even changes and strengthens
that worldview. James Houran wrote in the aforementioned book:
“The concept of media power suggests that the images audiences consume are infected
by a dominant ideology. In an era in which knowledge of an experience
substitutes for experience itself, moving image media can have a powerful influence
on what audiences think they know.” Most writers and directors of supernatural
horror are not intending to proselytize but instead use the cultural currency to reach
Christian audiences. However, some writers and directors believe
in the source material, they believe in what messages they are conveying to the audience. In an interview with the Christian Post about
The Conjuring 2, writer Chad Hayes said “Conjuring 2 is a story told through the eyes of believers,
whose strongest weapon is their faith in God. Our films allows believers and nonbelievers
to travel their journey with them, and in some ways, maybe affect someone who is on
the edge of faith, and give them the strength they need.” Whether intentional or not, supernatural horror
conveys meaning to the audience. So, what do supernatural horror movies within
the reach of Christianity tell us? [PART 2: Follow Jesus…or Else!] The Conjuring and its related movies are based
on the life work of two scam artists: Ed and Lorraine Warren. The films portray the Warrens as actual demon
hunters rather than frauds. Though, whether the real life Warrens believed
their own fantasies or not is irrelevant to the consequences. In the first Conjuring movie, Ed and Lorraine
are summoned to a haunted house. They conclude that the house itself needs
an exorcism, contact the Catholic Church, but when the priest does not arrive in time,
the Warrens dispel the entity themselves. The movie traffics in reactionary right-wing
politics: women as vessels of evil, and secular society putting the world in great danger. The Warrens’ career focus was educating their
followers that no longer believing in the Devil is what gives him his power and that
disbelief and modern thinking will doom us all. The film ends with this weaponized message
to the audience: “The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny as
people hinges on which we decide to follow.” When supernatural horror movies falsely claim
to be based on true events, they re-frame the historical persecution of women and marginalized
people who were labeled witches. Under this revision, this warning that witches
and dark magic are real, the victims of witch trials are portrayed as having gotten what
they deserved. Under this revision, those who the church
mistakenly believes have been tempted by the Devil into a life of sin actually are what
the church says they are. Under this revision, our actions are guided
by spirits, our misdeeds are the work of demons, and the Harry Potter books might actually
be dangerous. Historically, when people get paranoid about
some menace that they can’t actually see – whether it’s ghosts, demons, secret communists or
secret terrorists – they are most likely to target the most vulnerable people. The Conjuring 2 continues its message. Lorraine is able to defeat the demon Valak
by remembering something she wrote in her Bible. The Nun traffics in even more Catholic imagery. Lest you think the film is anti-Catholic because
the nun is the antagonist, the film makes it abundantly clear that the demon in the
film is not a nun but merely appears as a nun to remain undetected in the cloistered
religious order. The film begins with a Latin phrase “God
ends here” to describe the demon’s resting place, features a young man using a crucifix
for self-defense and most prominently features a group of nuns as the best weapon against
the demon. The same actor who played Ed Warren starred
in another demonologist supernatural horror film series: Insidious. The conceit of this film series is the same,
that demons are out to possess us and that only those of strong convictions can stop
them. Although, the Insidious film series has no
pretensions about being derived from “true” stories. Some supernatural horror films go one step
further with their “true story” declarations. Rather than claim to be based on actual events,
the horror movie is based on Biblical prophecy or at least the screenwriter’s interpretation
of Biblical prophecy. That way, even though the story in The Omen
is merely a work of fiction, the predominantly Christian audience can believe that something
like this could or even will happen due to it being in the Bible. The Omen and many other supernatural horror
films that quote the Bible are actually misquoting the Bible quite a bit or at least twisting
it to have even more sinister implications – something that better suits a horror film. Horror movies can be critical of faith – such
as The Sacrament – but the conceit of supernatural horror specifically is that the supernatural
exists. This makes supernatural horror movies that
are critical of Christianity, such as Carrie, still exist in a world and with a worldview
that is familiar to Christianity, comforting to Christianity. Some supernatural horror movies, such as Frailty,
give us a setup that makes the audience believe they are watching something critical of religious
zealotry, only to be told that supernatural forces were in play the whole time. [PART 3: Have the Heard the Word of Not Jesus?] Supernatural horror movies made in the west
depict non-Christian religions with suspicion or sometimes outright panic. In The Exorcist, Father Merrin learns of Pazuzu. In Ancient Mesopotamian religion, Pazuzu was
the king of the demons of the wind. In the film, Pazuzu possesses the body of
a Christian girl, Reagan. Pazuzu is not only a demon but a foreign demon
from a foreign religion. The fact that it predates Christianity is
a threat to the Church and to the audience of the film. Pazuzu must be destroyed, and he must be destroyed
by the Catholic Church. Rejected by the Church. Movies like The Serpent and the Rainbow depict
Vudu as inherently dangerous and frightening. In truth, Vudu is a series of different but
interrelated religions which originated in West Africa and became popular in
the Caribbean. Supernatural horror’s most common target is
the Church of Satan, depicting them as murderers and a cabal that exists only for human sacrifice. The Church of Satan is actually far less sensational
and does not teach belief in the Devil. Wicca, meaning modern pagan witchcraft, is
perhaps the second most frequent antagonist. Horror movies about witches make no differentiation
between Wicca and diabolical, fantasy black magic, and this purposeful obfuscation has
undoubtedly lead to some ignorance. Often, devil worship and witchcraft are conflated
or at least joined together as if one serves the other. Midsommar features a superficially pleasant
but dangerous cult. Hereditary features a fanatical cult that
worships Paimon. The director of both Midsommar and Hereditary
is not a Christian, but his films still traffic in the “otherness” and villainy of unorthodox
religions. The Wicker Man depicts a group of pagan fanatics
who plan a human sacrifice, but this film is a little more complicated in its messaging
about religious zealotry in general. The protagonist, a deeply conservative Christian,
is also the subject of criticism by the film, and some interpret the narrative as burning
away old conservative ideas. However, most horror films with Christian
elements have no such nuance. According to Christian Horror: On the Compatibility
of a Biblical Worldview and the Horror Genre, horror movies require “…an ultimate good
to frame evil. Horror is horrific precisely because it is
a perversion of something good, pure, normal, right, and/or true. … Horror intersects with religion because
they both appeal to a supernatural view of the world and grapple with existential questions
about life, being, and nature.” The problem is that supernatural horror made
in western nations by default frame Christianity as “normal” and “true” and subsequently
frame any other religion or a lack of religion as abnormal and false. These movies don’t only frame life as a battle
between good and evil but as a battle between the Christian God and anything that might
be opposed to the Christian God. [PART 4: The Skeptic] A supernatural horror
film almost always has a skeptic, a character who exists in the movie to be proven wrong. Usually, the skeptic will conduct a series
of tests to determine what exactly is the real underlying problem. If the skeptic is investigating a demonic
possession, those tests will probably be psychological. If the skeptic is investigating what they
believe to be a staged hoax, those tests might be interrogations of the characters who claim
their home is haunted or that their children have consorted with the devil. In The Exorcist, Reagan is put through a battery
of medical tests, x-rays, scans of her brain and so forth to determine why her behavior
has suddenly changed. The doctors give reasonable explanations,
but naturally, with this being an exorcism film, they are building towards these notions
being disproved and a real demon emerging later in the movie. The doctors, the scientists, these “great,
modern thinkers” can’t solve the problem – only the Catholic Church can. He is proven wrong. In Ghost Stories, the protagonist is the skeptic. He is proven wrong. In The Last Exorcism, the skeptics are an
entire film crew trying to expose a hoax. They are proven wrong, too. The identity of the skeptic changes from movie
to movie, but one fact remained constant over the past few decades in supernatural horror
produced in the west: the skeptic is almost always proven wrong. For all talk among right-wing pundits about
secular Hollywood corrupting the God-fearing masses, Hollywood is the most ardent defender
of the supernatural and therefore Christianity by default. Hollywood consistently tells its audiences
that the skeptic is the fool, that modernity and science cloud our perceptions about what
is true. This is not necessarily for reasons of intentional
propaganda. Hollywood is not run by the Pope, thank God. Christianity is the default faith of the characters
of the film due to dominant ideology and demographics, and supernatural horror rejects skeptical
interpretations more often out of necessity than as propaganda – the movie might not
be as exciting if the ghost or demon or devil were revealed to be a harmless prank. Nevertheless, the end result of reinforcing
dominant ideology remains. For reasons of keeping the movie engaging,
the only way the supernatural event can be revealed as false is if the revelation is
as engaging as the presumed supernatural event. For example, in the 1990 film Whispers, a
character at first believed to be some demonic figure returned from the dead is shown to
be the twin brother of the deceased. The skeptic in the film was proven right. These outcomes are rare and have become even
more rare as the years go on. But it wasn’t always like this. Skepticism was not always portrayed as so
one-sided. A classic Hollywood story – no longer commonly
used – was that a haunting or other supernatural event was revealed to be a hoax or misunderstanding. And that the characters’ skepticism was justified. In these films, belief in ghosts is not only
a mistake but detrimental to the well-being of the protagonist. In some of the earlier films, someone might
be frightened to death by a “ghost” that is revealed not to be a ghost at all. If was often the job of the heroic skeptic
to uncover the truth. In the 1938 film Religious Racketeers, a skeptic
tries to expose fake mediums. The turning point may have been The Exorcist,
a film that is not only Christian by default but features a Catholic priest who has lost
his faith and must vanquish not only the demon Pazuzu but his own doubts about the existence
of God. The demon may be the antagonist, but his character
arc and development doesn’t center around saving a child but regaining his faith. In The Exorcist, faith is the key to defeating
Pazuzu. Skepticism actually hinders the investigation
– it is not only unhelpful but puts Reagan in greater risk by not performing the exorcism. The film was incredibly popular and to this
day continues to spawn pretenders to its throne. Atheism as an obstacle to victory is a recurring
theme in supernatural horror movies. In From Dusk Til Dawn, Jacob Fuller is a former
pastor who abandoned his faith following the death of his wife. Jacob is needed to make holy weapons to fight
vampires. The template was created, the repetition and
formula was set, and now every supernatural horror movie requires someone to disbelieve
the supernatural, be proven wrong and often even have that change in worldview be central
to both character development and the victory over the demonic antagonist. Sometimes the supernatural horror movie can
be more nuanced than “skepticism=bad” but sometimes, yes, the underlying message
is, well, skepticism=bad. It is an affirmation of the religious audience. An atheist can’t kill Dracula. Only we – the believers – can kill Dracula. Amen.

100 thoughts on “Christian Horror | Renegade Cut

  1. Very few people get blocked in my comments section, but if you spam reply after reply every few minutes until I answer your question, and then I tell you not to, and THEN you reply with an attitude, expect to get blocked. It's not in my channel's best interest to block liberally, but I have my limits. Don't be a jerk.

  2. I'd be interested in discussing films where the horror stems from a lack of God, or from a silent God. Films like 30 Days of Night where the Alpha Vampire mocks a woman's prayer to a nonexistent deity, or any of the Apocalypse Trilogy films from John Carpenter, where God is either non-present despite the existence of the supernatural, or far from what he believed it to be. Films like Hellraiser openly portray demons and otherworldy forces come from a perceived "hell", but the existential dread is doubled by a lack of equivalent force or presence from a "Heaven" or divine entity.
    There's something to be said for the Lovecraft approach, where God is real, is powerful, and also either despises humanity or considers it to be an inconsequential speck to be brushed aside when the time comes to reclaim or devour Earth.

  3. Another awesome video. Thanks. I like the comment about "background radiation". As an atheist I'm so used to these movies coming out I barely notice (although I've never liked this genre).

  4. These movies are all fun and games until you realize one of your friends believes in magic and thinks demons and shit are real.

  5. If you want real religious horror just look at the bigotry, hatred, support of a a lying, misogamist, criminal in the white house and the unbelievable hypocrisy of evangelical bible cultist. This is real life horror.

  6. This is used/subverted to good effect in some types of horror (Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in general, and probably other examples as well).
    While the background of the characters featured in them might still be western, christian, etc… in there humanity's spiritual efforts (in whatever flavor) are but a short-lived, ineffective blip in an unending darkness filled with far older entities completely unfazed by any exercise of faith and religious ritual.
    Which might participate in instilling horror in the readers, should they be used to this default situation you describe.

  7. The concept of an atheist vampire is one I find interesting and one I only remember seeing once. Lestat in the Vampire Chronicles I believe.

  8. Something this video reminded me of is crime investigation shows. I've noticed that it is a common trope for these shows have a "supernatural" episode or two. The crime scene evidence will point some of the cast to believeing that a supernatural cause explains the circumstances of the crime, while other members of the cast remain skeptical. For example, there was a Bones episode where some of the characters entertained the idea that the victim was a time traveler, Psych uses this trope all the time, and there was once a Monk episode where the characters and to some extent the audience were lead to believe that the murders were comitted with Voodoo magic. In all the examples of this that I can think of, the skeptical view always pays off, but if anyone can reply with a counterexample I'd like to hear about it.

  9. About 10 years ago I was very concerned with this exact subject and set out to write a screenplay which revelled in all the trappings of supernatural horror without the magical, religious dogma. A whole lot drug-induced hysteria and subjective point of view seemed the natural solution. There's a good amount of anti-religion moralizing in the subtext too, well, even in the text if I'm to be honest. And it all ends with a Scooby Doo style unmasking and the villian escaping on a (pseudo)science-powered broomstick. Just as well it will never be made. Pearls before Swine.

  10. This was always my problem with the Scooby Doo movies that tried to shake up the formula and make the monsters "real this time" (most notably Scooby Doo Zombie Island and the first live action film).

    If the original show had a theme, it was the importance of rational thought and skepticism. The gang never would have thwarted the bad guys' plans if they gave into their irrational fears and accepted the supernatural as a legitimate explanation. Their skepticism was framed as brave, rational, and the only true way to discover the truth. It taught kids that monsters didn't exist and that through exploration, we can solve life's biggest mysteries.

  11. Christian horror is a thing? I wonder what the monsters will be… premarital sex, STDs, Satan, going to hell for an eternity, etc makes for good horror content.

  12. I was and wasn't aware of this. It annoyed me that most of the ghost stories depicted priests as the good guys, but at the same time paranormal is my favourite horror genre because I do not believe in any of this. I know that perpetuating pro religious gibberish and strenghtening christian hegemony by the means of pop culture is what can lead us further far right as a society. But for me as a viewer fictional threat is so refreshing and soothing after real existential horror of everyday life. I am very scared that the temperature in my bedroom will sink below 15C this winter, that I will be hungry and so on. Since creature features are predominantly a source of empathic grief, thrillers/slashers scenarios can happen in real life there is only the paranormal which can entertain me w/o feeling really threatened

  13. Christian Horror. Oh. I thought you were talking about the Spanish Inquisition where innocent people were brutalized, tortured and executed in the most horrendous ways by people calling themselves Christians.

  14. I am surprised there hasn't been a "anti-exorcist" movie where the idea someone is possessed is the source of all the horror and trauma; requiring an intervention from a skeptic to save the person from their zealous abusers. There might be a film like that, but I have never encountered it.

  15. It would be interesting to see a horror movie from the perspective of a "possessed" individual. They would be a person struggling with mental illness but instead of getting the help they needed their well-being and eventually their life would be threatened by religious zealots insisting there is a demon inside them that must be forcefully removed.

  16. it's worth mentioning that it's not just the foreignness of voodoo that makes it so often the enemy in horror stories, it's specifically that it's a black majority religion and it was popular among slaves in the Caribbean and the US. the trope of "voodoo hurting white people who don't deserve the revenge given them" trope is specifically derived from the fears of plantation owners who felt threatened by their lack of control over the religion of their slaves, and who feared revenge for enslavement.

  17. We need more Cosmic Horror where humanity and its faith are worthless in the face of the unknowable entities that destroy us by their mere existence, swatting us away like dust motes without malice or any thought that we could comprehend. We need to be reminded of our insignificance, of our our smallness. No god hears our prayers and when our Sun one day expands to burn this world to ash, no one will tell tales of our deeds, of our great history, of our art and science, of our wars and weapons. No one will mourn our passing. We need that humility now more than ever.

  18. I think the skeptic is proven wrong mostly because supernatural movies are about forces that logic cannot explain and therefore the protagonist cannot fight them, I know good stories can be made with a plot where the ghost isn't real but I think that kills the fright since everything we comprehend is something we don't fear, that's why people from old times were more supresticious and at the same time religious.

  19. So… if you apply that Christianity is the default religious belief to the supernatural horror film Final Destination one could say that the primary antagonist is God himself. I know,I know the villain is "death." But in a theology where god is all knowing and has a plan for everyone, death is simply a part of his plan and his will. And when god himself is hunting you down trying to kill you there is no amount of faith that can save you. This is why there is no hero or savor in these movies. You can't out think God and you can't outrun "God's will." At least that's my take I didn't see all of those movies. So if there were other supernatural elements at play I'm not aware of them, I could be way off base.

  20. Curious what you'd think of Focus on The Family and Adventures in Odyssey specifically, when it comes to christian exploitation.

  21. I was thinking about scooby doo for most of the video, and was happy that you put the clips in at the end. It’s interesting that all of the feature length scooby doo pictures (I think) follow the same pattern as other super natural films; it turns out the ghosts are real. I wonder if this is to do with the fact that the original show came out in the 60s, before The Exorcism

  22. My youtube recommendations brought me here, which is weird, because this is a great video and a channel I'm actually interested in. Go figure!
    The bit where you mention "outsider" religions targeted by Christian horror made me really curious as to whether you've covered (or found much about) antisemitism in horror media. It's been a while since I watched the Possession, but I remember it being "interesting" in it's use of a story initially based around Jewish mysticism and history, and I'd love to hear your take on it.
    (As an illustration/comics type person, I recall typically Jewish/Jewish-coded traits being straight up taught as useful visual cues for designing "evil" or "scary" characters. Similar to Christianity in horror, anti-Semitic imagery is a trope that's been repeated so much that it's seen as value neutral, from what I've observed.)
    I'm also interested in the way that the fictionalized, spoooky idea of witches often intersects with Jewish-coded characters, and whether that's explored in any of your other video essays.

    ANYHOW, really interesting video!

  23. I love how Carpenter turned this concept on its head in Prince of Darkness by making the Catholic Church merely a cover-up for the much more "Lovecraftian" truth. People would be much more likely and willing to believe in the supernatural stories of God, Jesus and the Devil than in cosmic beings and anti-beings because it boils concepts way too enormous to comprehend down to understandable archetypes. The Catholic priest turns to scientists to solve the mystery, because the secret order of priests were merely the keepers of the secrets while the solution lies with science.

  24. About Pazuzu;

    I think it's funny the Exorcist made Pazuzu into such a bad guy and put just him into such a bad light. Yes Pazuzu is known as a wind demon who brings famine during dry seasons, and locusts during rainy seasons. But he's also used as a kind of protection against the goddess Lamashtu, people believed she caused harm to mothers and their children during childbirth. There's as well the belief that Pazuzu drives and frightens away other evil spirits and protects humans against plagues and misfortunes.

  25. IIRC, the Church of Satan does believe in Satan and the supernatural (although they don't sacrifice people or any such bunk), and the Satanic Temple is the one that doesn't hold any actual religious beliefs.

  26. Somebody should make a movie about a young boy who got deshumanized by conservative christian values involving repression of emotions and too many strict rules.

  27. This is why for me horror works best when the antagonist/evil force comes from yourself and not a demon that can be defeated by praying really, really hard. When the horror results from your own psychological problems, trauma or other toxic things, it's much more effective and becomes a metaphore. Of course, this doesn't mean that there's no overlap but generally speaking there is a trend in separating the two and I find "evil" born from our own flaws more compelling because it means we have to confront our own mistakes and make amends while an emphasis on Christian belief system is basically "If you pray hard enough, good will happen. If bad things happen to you, it's your own fault for not living the right (Christian) way and not praying/believing hard enough. Sucks to be you."
    We can see this belief in how many Christians treat poor people, POC, women and aid/humanitarian work and how abusive people are excused while victims are blamed for their own trauma.

    Also, since you mentioned the use of other religions as evil: growing up in a conservative Christian family I know how these type of Christians rationalise it first hand. "They" – whoever these non-Christians are – pray to the wrong gods and thus chose evil and therefore deserve to be punished (they should have known better basically). Anything that is not the Christian god is automatically evil and if you point out how the Christian god can historically be traced back through various millennia, cultures and regions and how he's based on a couple of different gods, be prepared to be labelled evil, bad, a Satanist and be physically and verbally abused because they do not like to be questioned in any way.
    It never made sense to me how for many Christians being historically aware is tantamount to blasphemy. Which in my opinions shows how fragile their belief is if any form of critical thinking is deemed evil and must be punished and silenced.
    I once dared to say that the Bible is a heavily edited book and compiled a bunch of people who sat down to decide what texts go in the Bible, how they are translated and how humans were the authors and thus each text is prone to bias and mistakes, often filled with prejudice and hatred. I got screamed at for hours and verbally abused for weeks. Weeks!

  28. Can we also add that in instances where the “creepy cult” is portrayed by Christianity in these types of horror stories, it’s always one that’s twisted hilariously out of proportion to be seen just as much as a perversion as the pagan cults.

    Can we have a horror story where the creepy killer cult are, IDK, Southern Baptists. One where the supernatural threat is allowed to happen by a neglectful, careless, and apathetic god. One where mankind is forced to find a solution in modern science rather than old faith? Please?

  29. Thank you for this video. I know so many people who get huge about these movies. They're so boring and predictable. Nothing compelling ever happens and even the most stanch atheist waver at a few well placed jump scares.

  30. Thank you so much for this. As a Hindu, I can't explain how much offensive and inaccurate the potrayal of polytheistic and pagan gods is in Hollywood. There's this movie where the sound of Shankh (which is used in many auspicious occasions) was used to create a feeling of fear of some demonic activity. This is the same with Islam as well.

  31. Ha 😀
    I was actually thinking about leaving a snarky little Scooby Doo comment, and then the end clip showed up, and I was like, damn… guess I wasn't as clever as I thought I was 🙂

  32. If anyone is interested in a candid and brief look at the Warrens, there is a podcast called Monster Talk with an episode called The Warren Omission. I enjoyed it and found it enlightening in regards to the kind of people that they were.

  33. It's suprising how little I notice this being a fan of this genre. The only time I realised the importance of religion in a story was when watching anime, since Christianity is less prominant

  34. One movie that kinda breaks the mold of this is Prophecy (1995), in which after all their other attempts to save a possessed girl fail, the protagonists take her to some Native Americans, who do their own ritual to cleanse her, until they announce "The Enemy ghost has been defeated". This is surprising because the main character is a failed priest (he does regain his faith, but since Indigenous People's religion saved the day, you think he'd join them?), but I don't think he ever tries to do an exorcism himself.

  35. well ….it would be hard for an atheist to kill dracula, as he doesn't belive he exist.
    The faithfull, on the over hand, can IMAGINE dracula, and then kill him….

  36. This is a tangent but one of the many things that makes me like the original Castlevania series over LoS is that, although the Church does play a pretty significant role in the series as a whole and the Belmonts fight demons with holy weapons, it isn't nearly as religious. It includes no overt Christian ideology and concepts. Holy weapons are just what kills vampires. The Belmonts' own religious views are irrelevant (and the Netflix adaptation really portrays the Church in a bad light. Despite Trevor's use of holy weapons, he really hates the Church, for understandable reasons).

    As religious horror films go, I think "The VVitch" nailed it. It isn't about Wicca and doesn't pretend to be, since Wicca existed circa 1950 and "The VVitch" is based on authentic eighteenth-century Puritan perceptions of witchcraft.

  37. Concept: A supernatural horror film where the entity's strength is proportional to the belief in it. At first events start small, but as the protagonist(s) become more fearful and believe more strongly that the cause is supernatural, the events grow more frequent and horrific. Then in the climax the protagonist realizes that something doesn't line up; that there's some fundamental contradiction in what they've experienced; that none of it is real. And then all the paranormal events abruptly stop, because what gave them their power is no more.

    EDIT: And maybe as an end-of-movie "It's not over" sort of thing, the protagonist tells someone (let's say a journalist) about their experience and later when the journalist is alone we see the beginnings of the the entity antagonizing them (maybe a brief glimpse of the entity or a coffee mug suddenly flying off the desk).

  38. The Skeptics as Villains trope really does need to go away. Even if it turns out the problem is, indeed, supernatural, to borrow an aphorism often used in medicine, "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras." Rule out more commonplace stuff before you start pursuing the realm of the fantastic.

  39. The Posession (2012) was always a kind of favourite film of mine mostly because instead of it being all about Christians it actually had a Jewish exorcism.

  40. I think fright night is the one of the few movies that almost gets christianity right.

    Actually frailty did too, but you really have to pay attention when you watch it and really think SUPER SUPER critically about it. And it doesn't get it right in the way you night think. Basically bill paxton axe murders people after a spiritual encounter, but he didn't follow the Christian principle of "testing the spirits"

  41. All of Leon's EXP from battling God in old fashioned jRPGs carried over into his videos. Renegade Cut now deals 9999 to Jesus.

  42. This, the Masters of Universe and the David the Gnome one are my fav videos of you so far. I like that your videos are open enough for me to question things and think about it later on my own time. Idk, just saying your videos are amazing.

  43. Suggestion: You should revisit Left Behind and do a video about the last book "Kingdom Come". It's all about the thousand year reign of Christ, and everything is literally boring as a result. The earth is only flat, green land, the sun is too bright, people without glorified bodies become frail aged zombies constantly suffering and other things I won't spoil. I don't know if it was Tim Lahaye's intention or not, but not many people demonstrate the fear of perfection…..

  44. The Exorcist is weird. Either Blatty or Friedkin has said in interviews that it's a film about a situation where god must exist but the books are practically ambivalent about whether Reagan was possessed or mentally ill. The detective, Kinderman, plays a much more prominent role and makes an excellent case for a skeptical interpretation of events. Legion, which Exorcist 3 is based on, has a "spirituality is real" element but Kinderman once again practically debunks the possibility of the dead ringer for Karras being possessed – at least by the Gemini Killer.

    On some level credulous endings are better. If everything you watched is revealed to be a hoax at the end you get the kind of ripped off feeling you get from "it was all a dream" endings. If the possibility is introduced earlier you wind up with more of a mystery than a horror story. I don't completely agree with the idea but it's been argued that if there's no monster, you don't have a horror movie.

  45. MidSommar isn't so much as a dangerous cult but a way for our main character to have sloughed off her old life of isolation and traversed in a somewhat healthy manner through her grieving…her boyfriend was abusive, his friends were jerks, the ones sacrificed from the cult understood the honor and weight of this sacrifice…

  46. america is not a christian nation we have freedom of religion not a theocracy and if the Christians want a say they should tax churches and pay for admission or STFU

  47. As an atheist, I would enjoy these types of movies on a "horror FANTASY" type level, but I never REALLY thought about these points til just now, and it's fascinating.

    Because you're absolutely right; whether intentional or not, these movies reinforce the agenda that religion , and more specifically Christianity, is not only the default position but the only REAL solution to the "Evil" that plagues society.

    I'm not gonna call for an atheist boycott of supernatural movies or anything LOL. But it's certainly some points worth pondering.

    Great video.

  48. i guess this is why i prefer psychological horror to supernatural horror

    supernatural horror in the west is by default christian – and i cant really relate with that

  49. Interesting look. As someone who has done some horror styled writing, yet is very much atheist, you are right in a lot of things that I really didn't think to much about before. Will definitely, make my writing more aware of tropes, and such.

  50. This is exactly why as far as horror goes I'm mainly into slasher/gore. A psychopathic killer who may or may not be supernatural is a lot scarier to me than "bELiEvE iN bAbY jEsUs oR dA DeViL gOn GiT yOu!"

  51. And this – Christian-centric movies – from supposedly "Holywood Jew elites" according to mainstream conspiracy theorists. There's a disconnect there.

  52. Yes ty for this! You basically confirmed all my thoughts on christian movies in hollywood lol! it's a good feeling to have your thoughts echoed back at you in an intelligent light haha!

  53. For as much as it’s a matter of “default Christianity” it’s about as clear and correct as the Trumpist “American default Christianity.”
    It misquotes the Bible, and doesn’t even get the theology correct.

  54. Actually, aIl this gave me an idea drawing on Medieval demonology which essentially takes the whole Christian horror script and flips it, because the antagonist would be an Avenger of Evil – which is to say, one of the angels guarding hell, who are let out to demonstrate God's displeasure with the mortal world, and are noted even in the original canon to be hasty and quick to judge, not caring who they hurt in order to punish the sins of those who they came out for.

    The climax would be revealing that the "sin" was a complete accident done by an innocent child, normal exorcisms don't work on an angel, and ultimately a local skeptic turns out to be an actual occultist who studies the Ars Goetia style of magic in his free time on a lark, and uses his knowledge of geometry to trap the Avenger in a banishing circle, and the climax plays out like a typical "faith reignited" ending – except the faith reignited is in Satanism, as the skeptic is newly fascinated in the power of the occult, the priest character curses a God who would create such monsters, and for a final insult, it turns out the skeptic's initial belief that a "possession" was a fake turns out to be mostly correct, the person "possessed" was simply having a nervous breakdown after seeing the Avenger. It really wouldn't be a happy ending, because the whole idea would be the revelation is that God, or at least His prison guards, aren't trustworthy.

  55. I feel like The Cult elements in Midsommar, Hereditary, and The Witch serve as almost anti-heros against the decaying social institutions those films examine. The coven in The Witch serves as salvation for Thomasin from the patriarchal ego and religious zealotry of her father, the cult in Midsommar engages and shares in Dani's trauma and pain and kills off her superficial acquaintances and her loathsome boyfriend who wanted noting to do with her anguish in the first place, and in an incredibly abstract sense the cult in Hereditary saves Peter (who may or may not be a demon now) from his cold, distant family (I'll admit this last one is a stretch). I feel like these films do more to harm the dominant form of Christian ideology than they do to reinforce them.

  56. I wonder if there is a movie where the skeptic is simply unaffected. Like the disbelief shields him from the supernatural.

  57. to be fair in ghost stories (spoiler) he was ultimately not proven wrong (even if he converts) because its all a coma dream. Very unsatisfying ending.

  58. What about the Skeleton Key with Kate Hudson? There is an othering religious framework, but I think the horrors inflicted are because of belief. Am I remembering that right? It's just I seem to remember that movie as not having the Christian/catholic overtones that I was expecting.

  59. i went through the entirety of "vvitch" thinking it was leading to have a real ambiguous ending, was it supernatural work? or was it just the gradual meltdown of a family forced into isolation?
    just kidding IT WAS WITCHES!! it was THE DEVIL and women are bad. such a lame ending. if u just end it right before the epilogue it's almost a good movie ;o;
    love your work love your videos! thanks for your hard work!

  60. I think you just made me realize why I like The Hound of the Baskervilles so much. A perceived supernatural terror allows for easier manipulation of the public by those in power. Deduction, trusting our senses, and not allowing our perception to warp reality via our easily influenced amygdala (fight/flight/freeze mammalian brain) end up giving us the real answers & showing us who's pulling the strings. Great video : )

  61. There was actually a movie called "The Skeptic". The ending is kind of ambiguous (were the supernatural events real or imagined?), but the titular skeptic and protagonist is deliberately portrayed as humorless and unlikable.

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