It’s probably because Bram Stoker’s Dracula was one of my favorites reads as a child that this time of year finds me with the itch to watch a good scary movie or read a good scary book. The older I get, however, the harder it is to find a movie that is genuinely scary without being weighed down by unnecessary sex or gore (by the way Hollywood, gore does not equal scary). You may ask yourself if it’s even appropriate for a Christian to be reading or watching scary stories; if you’re interested in such a debate, visit Jared Moore’s excellent blog. For my part, I thought I would share my recommendations for two movies and two books to soak up this Halloween season.
The Day Satan Called: A True Encounter with Demon Possession and Exorcism by Bill Scott: This book is incredibly engrossing. I downloaded it to my iPad one day and finished it the next. Bill Scott relates the events of twenty or so years ago that began with a possessed girl calling his Christian radio show. It is an amazing read that is both chilling and inspirational at the same time. It also raises significant questions regarding the relationship between mental illness and demonic possession. I highly recommend this book.
The Rite (2011): Anthony Hopkins is wonderful in this movie about the Catholic Church’s involvement in exorcisms. I’ve seen it a couple of times now and and enjoy it tremendously. One particular scary scene caused my stepsons to hide under a blanket!
The Wolfman (2010): Yet another Hopkins movie. The cinematography in this flick is excellent and reminds me of the old classic movies I watched on Chiller Theater as a child. There is a fair amount of gore in this one, but it is appropriate gore (we’re talking werewolves here). The story is great and the action is fun to see.
True Haunting by Edwin F. Becker: Like Scott’s book above, the story contained with this book is one the author claims really happened. Rather than demons, however, Becker relates an encounter he had forty years ago with a house full of ghosts. The story is quite convincing (although I must admit I find it more difficult to believe in ghosts than I do demons). Perhaps the most convincing part of the story is that Becker doesn’t really report anything too awfully outrageous. Everything the author claims is somewhat believable, thus making it a little more scary.