It's been a while since I had a tropefest post, huh? Let's fix that.
Before we get started, though, I have to include a disclaimer. I know that you guys are all used to me talking about gore and sex and turning the air blue with my insistence upon using words my mother said never to use in polite company and generally being offensive as fuck. Today, however, is different.
Today, we're discussing religion in horror films and how Christianity in general has lent itself to many a macabre plot. I am an atheist but I am not attempting to denigrate spirituality. I am not pointing fingers at a particular sect. I am not saying that anyone's belief in particular is wrong. I am not going to argue religion or the existence of divinity (that's being handled on my personal Facebook page). This post is strictly about how religion is depicted in horror films and, I gotta tell you, it's never pretty.
|Much like Christopher Walken.|
|Your child should never be doing this. Seek medical attention.|
Most depictions of religion in horror films (See the "Exploit for Evil" section above) come from a few different belief systems. Maltheism is the belief that if there is a God, it is either utterly incompetent or outright malevolent. Related to that is hypothetical maltheism wherein the problem with the existence of Hell, or the existence of evil itself, is the fact that if there is a true force for good in the world, why wouldn't that omnipotent being eradicate evil (war, sickness, poverty and the social problems they solve, some of which are mortal sins) so that there wouldn't be a need for Hell?
|Pretty sure that Hell is back-to-back viewings of Nicolas Cage's filmography.|
And then there's Misotheism which is hatred of God which is a further extension of Maltheism in which case the deity in question done you wrong and you actively hate them for it.. This isn't seen in film so much, anymore, but it's pretty prevalent in sword and sandal flicks and it's VERY prevalent in mythology through the ages where it was often a source of hubris. See the character of Riddick. Along those same lines, Richard Dawkins is quoted as saying that "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." It seems that a lot of horror directors agree even if they choose to make up a religion rather than state their intentions toward Christianity right up front.
Finally, there's Dystheism where the deity in question isn't wholly good or evil but their behavior is such to make a character question their divine motives. Hellenistic and Norse mythology kinda relies on this because their gods were more "human".
|Not a god. Not Hellenistic or Norse. Why is she praying?|
|This isn't symbolism at ALL...|
And it will scare us shitless.