I don’t fit in anywhere. I like dark, macabre things which, if you haven’t noticed, most Christians don’t. I also have an incredibly deep faith in God…which most horror-lovers don’t. Most of the time I feel like the proverbial fish out of water. Not only here online, but in my real life too.
“How can you write such dark stuff?” a family member asked me at a barbecue.
“Have you ever read the Bible?” I asked in return. It’s full of love, hope, light and goodness…and also lots and lots of brutality, killing, rape, murder, pillaging, torture, kidnapping, slavery and more horrors.
Photo by Michael D Beckwith on Unsplash
Some of those closest to me made tsking sounds when I first started writing thriller and suspense books. I knew they’d be much happier if I wrote, “good, Christian stories”. And some of my friends who like darker, scary stuff couldn’t understand why I spent so much time worrying about what other people thought of me and my writing. Why was I having a spiritual conundrum over writing stories?
I dream of a place where people of faith can come together and share wholeheartedly in their love of dark, creepy stories. We’d swap bits of macabre trivia, visit graveyards and chat about the old Victorian practice of post-mortem photography. We’d read Edgar Allen Poe and take field trips to see the latest horror movie on its release night. We’d go all-out on Halloween, dressing up like Frankenstein’s bride and Michael Myers and any other dark character we wanted…all without feeling ashamed or embarrassed or like we had something to hide.
Likewise, I’d love to build a community of horror and dark thriller lovers who don’t “poo-poo” my faith and Christian beliefs. Those who wouldn’t, after learning I’m believer, act as though I’d just admitted I have some catch-able disease and extract themselves from the conversation immediately with a little chuckle and a pained expression.
Resources for Christian Horror Lovers
Until I find or build that community, I’m working on finding more people out there “like me” (and maybe you). My resource list is small at present. But I’ve been searching religiously (pun intended) for other believers who are also interested in the darker side of life. And those who see a correlation between the supernatural and the darker side of fiction, whether expressed through books, film, plays or other mediums.
Here are a few:
Christian Horror: On the Compatibility of a Biblical Worldview and the Horror Genre, by Mike Duran. Explores the myth that horror shouldn’t be a genre Christians are interested in. The author explores the Christian roots of much contemporary horror and how a biblical worldview frames the vision of terror in many works by today’s popular horror authors.
“What is it Like to be a Christian Who’s Obsessed with Horror?” by Shannon McGrew. A personal account of someone with a deep Christian faith who is also fascinated by horror and has been for life. (McCrew also runs the popular Nightmarish Conjurings on Instagram.)
“6 Tips for Christian Artists to Redeem Horror,” by Alex Alli. I think this article would better be titled, “Why Horror Isn’t Something to be Ashamed Of,” as the author does a great job of summing up the many reasons why and how the horror genre and the Bible/Christianity intersect and how they influence each other.
“Horrors Most Influential Filmmaker is a Christian,” by Jesse Carey. This article in Relevant magazine features Scott Derrickson, known for producing films like, Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and Hellraiser: Inferno. Derrickson is also a devout Christian who doesn’t shy away from delving into the darker sides of life.
The Frighteners, by Peter Laws. This is a book I’ve just found and am looking forward to reading soon. From Laws’ website, “The Frighteners follows the quest of Peter Laws, a Baptist minister with a penchant for the macabre, to understand why so many people love things that are spooky, morbid and downright repellent.”
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you’re a believer who’s also drawn to the dark and mysterious or a horror-fan who doesn’t see the relation between one’s faith and what one likes to read, please speak up. This post is meant to be a conversation starter and I’d love it if you joined in and shared your thoughts.
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