Sunday, October 26, 2008


The eagle-eyed Patrick Chan has drawn my attention to some thoughts on Halloween by James Jordan:

I think it would be good if churches taught their people the history and theology of Halloween. I don't object to the holiday, per se.

However, children are susceptible to occult bondage. And I think that's more of a danger now than back when I was a kid.

Many churches sponsor Halloween parties for kids. Giving them a safe venue. And many Halloween costumes are not occultic.

In the pop culture, Halloween has merged with the horror genre. By this I mean that aspect of the horror genre which accentuates, not merely the occult, but blood and gore.

This raises an interesting question. What’s the appeal of the horror genre? In particular, why do a lot of moviegoers like to watch teenagers hunted down and murdered by a psychopathic killer? Wherein lies the attraction?

To some extent, I suppose that some people have an appetite for sadism and perversion. The vicarious and anonymous nature of the film medium allows them to safely indulge their pathological fantasies.

Perhaps, though, there’s also something deeper afoot. Perhaps it’s a projection of the inner fear that there really is something terrifying out there. Something lurking in the shadows.

Even if most of us enjoy the sunnyside of life, there’s the nervous suspicion that ordinary human beings can be monstrous under the surface. That even your friends can’t be trusted. In a survival situation, they’d turn on you. Feed on your.

At a deeper level, people sometimes do horrible things to each other because human beings embody something inhuman. Something extraterritorial, that takes possession. Its very randomness is part of the horror. Everything can be wonderful and then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it can take a hideous turn for the worse. It can pounce anywhere at anytime.

Perhaps this reflects the subliminal awareness—which, most of the time, we repress—that we are fallen creatures in a fallen world, and our sin will find us out. We gamble with evil, and sometimes we lose the bet. Sometimes evil comes around to collect its dues.

The devil’s pact has a way of catching up with you. When you’re alone, in the quiet of your conscience, you can hear its footsteps behind you.

Sinners like to live on the edge. To tempt fate. But sometimes our lucky streak runs out. We draw the short stick. Evil takes its pound of flesh, then everything returns to “normal” for a while—until the next attack.

Evil retreats into the shadows, like a carnivore dragging its kill away. The screams grow faint. The hubbub dies down. The birds stop squawking. The squirrels come out of their boroughs. The picnic resumes. We’re lulled back into business as usual until evil strikes again, snatching away another one of our comrades.

It sees, but cannot be seen; slays, but cannot be slain. Sometimes it’s an ambush predator, well camouflaged. But at other times it will pursue its prey. Whatever it takes.

Not only is it random, but relentless. Once it marks the victim for death, there’s no escape. Even if you stay alert and double-bolt your doors, it will come for you. It will find you. It will not be deterred or denied.

No one is more vulnerable than a sinner. Only the forbearance or forgiveness of God stands between us and some unspeakable horror.

I think that, ultimately, slasher films are a secular version of divine retribution. They symbolize and objectify the subconscious dread of the unbeliever. It’s something he tries to suppress, tries to forget, but in the process he merely displaces his fear. Judgment is waiting. Sharpening its knives. All of us are living on borrowed time. Only Jesus can redeem our debts.


  1. "a secular version of divine retribution."

    I think that's right on. It's also in agreement with Stephen King's assessment, that horror is the most puritanical of all fiction genres.

  2. Some good writing there Steve.

  3. Steve, You wrote, "And many Halloween costumes are not occultic."

    What do you mean when you imply that a Halloween costume can be occultic? Thanks.


    "What do you mean when you imply that a Halloween costume can be occultic? Thanks."

    Children dressing up as witches and vampires. That sort of thing.