In response to Where to Find Christian Values in Hollywood:
It is interesting to observe that the majority of positive Hollywood portrayals of Christianity occur in “black” films. There are a few other movies where good Christians have appeared outside of explicitly religious or allegorical fare (the latter including such series as the “Narnia” and “Lord of the Rings” films.)
The most surprising instance, which I was regrettably late to experience but enjoyed watching on DVD last night, is the horror hit “The Conjuring.” The faith, courage, and love of demon-hunting Ed and Lorraine Warren is all over the screen. It’s also a skillfully made, profoundly unsettling horror film – one of the best relatively bloodless spooktaculars ever. I’m always down for gory horror films too, but I have a particular fondness for the rare genre of movies that can be scary without a lot of overt violence. “The Conjuring” can make you feel like a kid staring through the midnight dark and trying to decide if the closet door just moved a little.
Most other horror and supernatural films are notable by the absence of faith, particularly the vampire genre, which has been busily cranking out crucifix-proof emo bloodsuckers for decades now. I’ve always thought it interesting that the most seemingly nonsensical weakness of the vampire, the inability to enter a living person’s home without invitation, has largely endured, even though they’re never perturbed by crosses any more. I guess that’s a narrative concession to the need for humans to have some reasonable way to escape the superhuman vampire murder machines, who now usually have regenerative abilities and hyper-speed to go along with the fangs and delirious strength. But we sure don’t want to imply that God would pass judgment on our heartthrob undead heroes!
You’d think people on the run from supernatural monsters would find religion – no atheists in foxholes while Jason Voorhees is out there swinging his machete! – but they almost never do. If anybody is religious, it’s usually portrayed as a useless affectation, often a fatal mistake that gets hapless victims torn limb from limb by monsters who couldn’t care less about their dramatic Bible readings. But in “The Conjuring,” as in the all-time horror masterpiece “The Exorcist,” faith is key to defeating the menace, and is sorely tested in the process.
I see the movie raked in about six times as much as it cost to make, so I imagine we’ll be seeing more of the Warrens. Like everyone else who has seen it, I’d like to know more about that hellish doll. Or maybe I don’t.