After the global pandemic shut down theaters, production studios like Blumhouse and A24 provided a shot in the arm to box offices around the world with the success of horror films like The Black Phone, Smile, and Halloween Ends. But these aren’t exceptions or isolated incidents—if anything, the demand for horror stories is only increasing.

In this introductory episode, we consider whether the current revival in horror films is, in some way, connected to the horrors we are all facing in the real world. We also take a look at some of the more horrific passages in Scripture. What’s the value of these stories, and why do we have such a hard time reading them, much less reflecting on them, studying them, and examining them over and over again as part of our spiritual practice? Why would the Bible itself invite us to not simply know about, but to meditate on graphic stories of torture, violence, and evil?

Joining us this week:
Pamela Ebstyne King is the Peter L. Benson Professor of Applied Developmental Science and the executive director of the Thrive Center for Human Development. King’s academic and applied efforts aim to promote a movement of human thriving that contributes to flourishing societies. Her primary research interests lie at the intersection of thriving and spiritual development. She is passionate about understanding what individual strengths and environments enable diverse humans to grow individually, relationally, and aspirationally.

Wes Craven is a well known American filmmaker who is considered by many to be the master of horror. Although Craven passed away in 2015, his influence lives on through interviews like the one we conducted at the Reel Spirituality Conference in 2001.

Resources Referenced:
CDC report on orphans created by COVID

Read More from Christianity Today about Today’s Topics:
“The Horrors!” | Christianity Today
“The Universe Is Not a Horror Show” | Christianity Today

“Be Afraid” is a production of Christianity Today, Fuller Seminary, and Uncommon Voices Collective
Executive Producer: Erik Petrik
Producer, Writer, and Editor: Kutter Callaway
Producer and Editor: Stephen Scheidler

Associate Producer: TJ Hester
Music: Jeremy Hunt and Qoholeth
Graphic Design: Stephen Scheidler

More from Kutter Callaway on theology and culture:
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