9/11 and the Increase in horror films

I was thinking about what I would want to see in a film today. Later I was talking with Tevin and mentioned this and reminded myself that making the Tembo Film  sprang from a note I make in a notebook about a detective looking for the body of Jesus. No notes at this time but I did read this Spengler (Goldberg) article about the explosion of horror films and 9/11 with its spiritual implications. Here are a few quotes:

The “horror” genre supplied one out of 10 feature films released in the United
States in 2009, according to the International Movie Database. During Universal
Studios’ heyday in the 1930s, the proportion was one in 200; only a decade ago
it was one in 25.

The element of incomprehension, that is, of the supernatural, distinguishes the
horror genre from mere gratuitous violence. It is not the spurting blood or
mangled flesh that defines horror but the presentiment that the world itself is
disordered: Demons abound in the absence of a beneficent God, who is somehow

Why do Americans pay to watch images as revolting as the cinematic imagination
can discover? Many things might explain the vast new market for uncanny evil. If
you do not believe in God, you will believe in anything, to misquote G K
Chesterton; and, one might add, if you do not feel God’s presence, you will
become desperate to feel anything at all. Terror and horror are at least some
kind of feeling. After pornography has jaded the capacity to feel pleasure, what
remains is the capacity to feel fear and pain.

America was the land of new beginnings and happy endings. The monsters didn’t
belong. After 1946, Adolf Hitler had been crushed, and that was that. Americans
did not want to think about it anymore. And at the height of the national
self-confidence that followed, the horror genre almost disappeared from American
film. In 1950, for example, Hollywood managed only four films in the genre, all
B-movie filler.

Starting on September 11, 2001, Americans were exposed to an enemy that uses
horror as a weapon, as did the Nazis – who never succeeded in perpetrating
violence on American soil. In its attempt to engage the countries whence the
terrorists issued, America has exposed its young people to cultures in which
acts of horror (suicide bombing, torture and mutilation) have become routine.

As long as we insist that there is no fundamental difference between our
outlook and theirs – and as long as we make only weak attempts to take
responsibility for the civic outcome in such cultures – their horror becomes
ours. In World War II, America portrayed its cause as a crusade against the
forces of evil. Today, we send female soldiers wearing headscarves under their
helmets to show cultural sensitivity to the Afghans.

As Tevin and I agreed with the Beattles today: “You are what you eat”.


About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
This entry was posted in Directions, Spirit of the Age. Bookmark the permalink.

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