If you know me, even just a little bit, it’s apparent that I’m incredibly passionate about the horror genre. At any given time, you can either find me writing about horror, watching horror movies, attending horror events and/or going to haunted attractions and immersive experiences. However, what a lot of people may not realize is that I’m also a Christian.
Christianity has been getting a bad rep as of late, and I can understand why. Between the political climate and religious zealots, being a Christian isn’t something most people want to divulge upon first meeting. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and I’ve also been obsessed with horror for pretty much the same amount of time. It’s a unique juxtaposition — to love being scared, to see blood and gore ooze from people’s bodies, to see terror unfold on the screen, and then tell people that I used to do missionary work and that Jesus and I are thick as thieves.
The question I’m asked most, from people on both sides of this issue, is how can I be a Christian and still love horror as much as I do?
So gather around, because it’s time to share my story…
To be quite honest, I think Christianity is to thank for my obsession with the horror genre, because when reading through the Bible, it’s apparent there is a lot of dark shit intertwined within the parables and stories of salvation; really, at the end of the day, it’s a bloody account of the history of Christianity.
For me, my fascination always centered on the book of Revelations, and to this day, it’s still a topic of immense interest. From a young age I learned about the dark side of life, about Hell and Satan, and about the never-ending slew of demons that are constantly tempting us. To be honest, that’s some heavy shit to learn when you are a kid, and that knowledge and education surpassed just Sunday school and Church: I also went to a Christian High School.
Though I tried to be what is considered a “Good Christian Girl” growing up, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the darker things — whether it was reading books that my school deemed too controversial (such as Harry Potter, which isn’t even horror), or watching horror films — I just couldn’t get enough. Whenever I would attend Sunday School, I would hope and pray (pun intended) we would learn more about Satan and the Book of Revelations, but it felt like no one ever really wanted to dissect that.
To this day, I still don’t know much about Revelations, because no one at my Church was too fond of discussing it… and this is where we run into one of my main issues: By denying someone the opportunity to learn about something, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, it’s only going to drive that person to want to find out more about it… which is exactly what I did. As the Church continued to try and shield us from all that they deemed sinful, I went in the other direction and started educating myself — in a healthy way, of course. I wasn’t over here killing people, or anything crazy like that.
So here I am, 33 years old and still just as obsessed with the horror genre. I’ve read books on witchcraft, watched films about Satanic cults and serial killers, and gone to extreme haunts… and yet I still think Jesus is a pretty chill guy I would like to hang out with.
I remember once the pastor of my Church asking me how I could be a Christian when my life revolved around immersing myself within the horror genre. To me, the answer was simple: I’ve always been aware there is darkness in the world. Instead of denying it, or pretending that it isn’t there, I’ve embraced it and acknowledged its existence. Just because I enjoy watching horror movies and being scared doesn’t mean I’m evil or dabbling in the dark arts. I love when my heart is pounding and the adrenaline is coursing through my veins as I watch a movie that’s truly terrifying, or I go through a haunted house alone. There’s a psychological release in experiencing that, and in a way, it’s almost therapeutic.
There have even been instances where I’ve learned more about the darker side of the Bible through horror films. Case in point: last year’s surprise hit THE WITCH, which showcased what I believe to be one of the best personifications of Satan to ever be shown on screen. I remember talking to a few Christians about the film, urging them to check it out, and they declined because… well, Satan. What I’ve learned through my 33 years on this earth is that most people, especially Christians, would rather shield themselves from that which is foreign to them instead of informing themselves and taking the time to learn about a subject that may seem “un-Christian.”
Now, don’t assume that I’m bashing Christianity because it doesn’t align itself perfectly with my taste of the horror genre; I’m still a Christian to this day, and though I don’t believe in organized religion per se, I have a deep faith that has helped me through battling an addiction, as well as the loss of my father at a young age. Having had to go through those experiences was reinforcement that even through trials and tribulations, there is usually a silver lining, a goodness that can come out of it. You can’t have the darkness without the light; you can’t have the good without the evil; you can’t have God without Satan; and you can’t have a hero without a villain.
As terrifying, unsettling, and disturbing as the horror genre can be, for the most part, goodness prevails. Sure, there will be times when the killer gets away, or the monster will devour its prey, but there are also those moments where the light breaks through and demolishes the evil.
The same can be said for Christianity: It’s not perfect — I mean it’s really far from perfect — but there’s a lot of good in there as well. It can help people in their time of need, when no one else is there, and it can give those hope that some day they will see their loved ones again. Christianity has a bloody history, and the Bible is filled with shady characters that murdered, raped, and pillaged the innocent… but throughout all of that, we are also shown that there is good in people, and there are those who have an immense amount of love and forgiveness in their hearts.
There’s a lot of horror in between the pages of that book, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone why I would be into the genre the way that I am. In the end, not all Christians are going to accept me because of my love for horror, and not all horror fans are going to accept that I’m a Christian. But to me, that’s not what’s important — because in the end, I’m proud to say that both of those things are defining aspects of who I am as a person… and that’s what matters the most to me.