Every so often there is a message so pure its hard not to stop and listen. As we get closer to the Thanksgiving season, examining the message Fred Rogers fought so hard for can quite literally make our thought brighter. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? isn’t the flashiest documentary of 2018, but it might be the most important.
Now that we’re in October and nearing Halloween, a familiar question resurfaces – should Christians be involved in the horror genre? Is Horror God-glorifying?
October, rather fittingly, is the month that sees plenty of horror films come back to streaming services. Defining horror a bit more broadly, we have a diversity of picks here, as well as a couple for those who aren’t fans of the genre.
Daredevil Season Three (Netflix)
While arguably the most horror-influenced superhero of the mainstream Marvel universe, Daredevil has found success in both the dark and gritty tone of its universe, and the supernatural villainy of its ninja warrior villains. While season two failed to live up to the original installment, season three has pitched a promising return to form, including a return for Wilson Fisk. As the most overtly Christian of mainstream superhero shows, Daredevil may provide more opportunities for Christians to engage with the tension between violence, justice, and faith.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (Hulu)
A worthy tradition of both Halloween and Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a perfect marriage of Disney sentimentality and the creepy Burton stop-motion aesthetic. Jack Skellington’s journey of discovery is about self-acceptance, especially for “monsters,” but the film is also an entertaining adventure and catchy musical.
The Babadook (Netflix)
While this is technically a cheat item on the list (The Babadook is on Netflix, but is not a new addition), I can’t resist the urge to call out one of my favorite horror films. The Babadook begins as a creepy horror/thriller about a malevolent spirit that comes out of a morbid children’s book, but morphs into a riveting metaphor on grief and suffering. The film’s conclusion, which is somewhat unorthodox, carries some insight about grief that I found helpful once the genre layers were peeled back. It is a prime example of the impact the genre can have, and remains one of my go-to films this October.
The NeverEnding Story (Netflix)
This childhood adventure, benefited by practical effects and an ambitious fantasy story, is at turns inspiring and absurd. It showcases the worst of the 80’s in some shots, but also radiates with unashamed childhood innocence. It’s a treat for the whole family, and one of the more imaginative renditions of the “story within a story” motif.
Galaxy Quest (Hulu)
While not being horror in any sense of the word, Galaxy Quest endures for its clever and comical satire of the science fiction genre, and of Star Trek in particular. Featuring washed up actors with see-through parody roles (basically Tim Allen is Kirk, Alan Rickman Spock, and Sigourney Weaver Uhura), the cast fully embraces the cheese, and creates one of the more memorable parodies of the genre.
For the full list of new movies and shows available on these streaming services, click this link.
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Culture bites is a regular feature at Cross Culture where we examine current events, their cultural significance, and suggest a response for Christians. Feel free to give your own feedback in the comments, and discuss how Christians might analyze these events from a biblical worldview.
There’s a fine line between making a stand for God’s truth in a divisive culture and further dividing it unnecessarily. The recent statement on the gospel and social justice aims to do the former. Unfortunately, it may be closer to the latter.