The Bible As inspiration for Horror Films

Blasphemer, you say.  Truth, I say.  I mean the Bible is filled with horror stories.  I mean come on.  Let me cite some examples:

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

 They deserved it, you say.  Well mass murder is mass murder, even if it’s in the Bible and the will of God.   First off, when the people come to try and rape the Angels that came to warn the good people, Lot offers up his virgin daughters instead.  I am pretty darn sure that was horrifying to the daughters.  Then of course, if you’ve read your Bible, later on Lot commits incest with his daughters. Or the daughters rape a drunken Lot (remember the story was written by men, so POV makes a difference).   And he was the one righteous enough to be saved.  Then there is the Levite’s Concubine in Judges.  The Levite offers his his concubine to be raped by men.  She is raped all night long.  The next morning, she will not get up.  Is she dead?  I don’t know, the Bible is unclear.  But it is possible to be raped to death.  Either way, the Levite cuts her up into twelve pieces and disposes of her body.  Then there was that time God tried to get rid of humanity by drowning us.  But that’s okay, he said he was sorry with a rainbow.  And what about the time God smote the firstborns of Egypt.  And don’t even get me started on Revelations.  I could go on and on.  And I probably will, in another post.

The Bible is filled with horrifying atrocities that mankind has committed against mankind, and that God has committed against mankind.  And it has been an inspiration to horror films.  Basically the Bible tells us to be good or you will be punished.  Then it goes on to tell us the many ways we are being bad.  Hell isn’t a place we want to go to.  Yet most of us seem to be on the path. It’s a fear that is instilled in a lot us as children in Sunday Bible School or CCD.  I remember coloring pictures of a smiling Jesus with open arms as someone told us kiddos what hell was.

Some of the best horror has been inspired by the Bible, especially Revelations.  Here is my list of the

Best Horror inspired by Theology

that I enjoyed

not in any particular order

Dad Meiks and Otis

Frailty-2002, Bill Paxton, Mathew McConaughey.  This underrated thriller is about the relationship between two brothers and their father.  The father, played by Bill Paxton, has been commanded by God to kill demons.  He is given three tools to help on his quest:  Gloves, a pipe, and a an Axe named Otis.  I love this movie.  It’s completely underrated, and I am not going to spoil it for you.  Go rent it. Or buy it.  You’ll like it. If I ever get an axe I am totally naming it Otis.

The Seventh Sign

The Seventh Sign-1988, Demi Moore.  I saw this movie back then.  I remember liking quite a bit.  Here’s what I can recall:  Apocalyptic things are occurring such as the sea boiling.  And apparently there are seven of those apocalyptic signs.  Abby (Demi Moore) is a pregnant woman witnessing all these events.  The movie goes back and forth between the present with Abby and the crucifixion.  Abby is the reincarnation of someone present at the crucifixion.   I really need to re-watch this.

Christopher Walken is the archangel Gabriel, God's Messenger

The Prophecy-1995. Christopher Walken.  First off, I heart Christopher Walken.  And whoever decided to cast him as the angel Gabriel-Genius!  Also starring Eric Stolz and Virginia Madsen.  There is a war between the angels.  The bad side is trying to get the soul of a recently deceased general who committed crimes against humanity in the Korean War. The soul is hidden in a young girl.  My favorite part is when Lucifer, (Viggo Mortensen), offers his help to the side of good, “because two hells is one too many”.

Patricia Arquette in Stigmata

Stigmata-1999.  Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne.  Patricia Arquette plays Frankie, and ordinary woman who ends up displaying the stigmata.  Gabriel Byrne is the priest who investigates her.  This movie got bad ratings.  Personally, I liked it.  It’s a little slow, but intriguing none-the-less.

Se7en-1995.  Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman.  I will admit, I have only seen this movie once, when it came out.  I don’t know why I have never watched it again.  It’s a great movie.  I think this movie introduced the general public to the seven deadly sins in a way that will not easily be forgotten.  I really need to rent this one again.  I recall liking it and being grossed out by the room filled with hundreds of little pine tree air fresheners to cover up the smell of a dead sloth.

End of Days-1999.  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Tunney.  Robin Tunney, is Christine, a woman prophesied to bear the child of Satan.  Arnold, a retired cop, somehow gets roped into protecting her (I honestly can’t remember how).  If Satan has his way, he will possess a man, impregnate Christine, and have dominion over the world.  The only thing I didn’t like about this movie is Arnold’s name–I mean Jericho Cane…really?  Still a good movie though.

Wynona Ryder, Pre-thieving days

Lost Souls-2000.  Wynona Ryder.  A small group of Roman Catholics believe that Satan intends to become man just as God did in the person of Jesus.  Maya (Ryder) believes that Peter is the man who is to become Satan and she is trying to convince him.  In the end, she does, but what does he do about it?  Man, I really need to rent most of these movies again.  I really want to watch them again.

Creepy Evil Stairway

The Exorcist-1973.  Do I really need to write a premise.  Projective vomiting.  little girl spider walking.  If you haven’t seen it…do so immediately.  Then go to church.  How can you deny the power of a movie that made a stair give you the heebie jeebies.

"It''s all for you Damien"

The Omen-1976.  Gregory Peck.  The anti-Christ is born to an American Ambassador to Italy.  He is given every advantage to thrive despite people trying to stop him.  My favorite part is “Look at me Damien. It’s all for you”, as his nanny sacrifices herself for him.  Uber creepy.  And it ruined the name Damien forever.  I will totally check for the 666 mark if ever I procreate (because I have that kind of luck).

This is not a dream

Prince of Darkness-1987.  Donald Pleasance.  Academics find liquid Satan in a church and release it.  Liquid Satan–John Carpenter is a genius.  The premise is goofy and it had bad reviews.  But I, hands down, love this movie and am totally creeped out by the ending.

There is nothing cute and cuddly about cultish children worshipping corn

Children of the Corn-1984.  Linda Hamilton. and  Creepy little dude who played boy preacher.  Boy preacher makes the other kids kill all the adults in town for “He who walks behind the rows”.  Made for t.v. movie.  But come on.  It’s creepy as hell.  ANY boy preacher is creepy.  Anybody named Malachi is creepy.  And any god called “He who walks behind the rows”  is beau-coup creepy.  Love, love, love this movie.

There is something inherently frightening about the struggle between good and evil.  Personally, it’s especially frightening if it’s all pre-ordained.  Or that you have to worry about your bills, your health, AND your after life.  A small part of me wonders if it’s just conceit that made up stories about a struggle for our souls. Are we really that precious?  Are God and Satan just made up stories to fan humanity’s vanity?  Okay…treading deep waters.  Who cares?  They make for great tales.  

 What are your favorite religiously themed horror films?  


5 thoughts on “The Bible As inspiration for Horror Films

  1. I can’t believe you forgot Legion. I think that was a horror movie because of the scene in the diner. I think I may have even closed my eyes and had to reopen to look at them. Watching a grandma go evil and then realize that God is trying to wipe out the world again because He’s mad at humanity again is suuupppeeeerr creepy. I really enjoyed this post because it’s true that the Bible scared me so much as a child that I had to be cured of the fear. 🙂

    • Guilty. I forgot Legion. And that’s cause one of my friends mentioned it the same day I was writing it. Talk about scary Bibles. I had a picture one. So in case I couldn’t understand the words, I could see what it meant through pictures. Lol!

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