Life and Human Dignity

The Point: Horror and Our Inner Darkness


John Stonestreet

Is there anything good about horror stories?

The name Stephen King is synonymous with “horror.” One of the newest adaptations of his work, Pet Sematary, will come out next spring. It’s the second film based on a novel that King was reluctant to publish and almost didn’t finish writing because of how dark it was.

So why do people like horror stories? In his essay, “Why We Crave Horror,” King offered an answer to that question. Whether we acknowledge it or not, he writes, we all have some level of “insanity” inside us. Horror allows us to deal with our inner darkness without being overcome by it.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons to avoid most horror movies, especially those that go beyond exposing evil to reveling in it. Horror should never be for horror’s sake, but horror stories done well can tell the truth about the darkness in the world and in the human heart—a darkness that’s truly terrifying apart from Christ.

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