NOTE: Originally published in The Monster Gospels (2017). Photos added.
“It's Halloween, everyone's entitled to one good scare.”
Distributor: Compass International Pictures
Producer: Debra Hill
Director: John Carpenter
Writers: John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Runtime: 91 minutes
Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:28-30
The best Long Island Iced Tea I ever drank was with Michael Myers.
My friend Jen and I had been at the convention for hours and had started to squabble from the heat and fatigue, but we discovered a bar so hidden and small that it may as well have been a portal to Narnia. With most of the throng at the bar itself, we found a small table off to the side. Then, Michael Myers walked in.
With no other tables open, he asked if he could sit with us. Myers was never one of my favorite monsters, but whether I was a fan of Michael or not, he was still one of the most famous maniacs in movie history, so that made it a big deal. Similarly, one time I stood five feet away from the President of the United States. Which one, you might ask? Doesn't matter, he was the President. So, which of the ten (if you count the kids) actors was it? Likewise, it didn't matter; it was Michael Myers!
So there we were with Michael Myers, having drinks and, of all things, talking about faith. This Michael was a Christian and was delighted to have other Christians who love horror to talk with. We discussed the stigma that horror carries with a lot of believers and how he thought of these conventions as a mission opportunity. He told us stories of fans who opened up to him like an old friend just because he played Michael Myers and the experiences that it offered him to pray with people and to show the love of Christ. Michael Myers might not be my “villain,” but this Michael became one of my heroes.
That's what Christianity is all about – increasing the family of God by practicing Christ's love in an invitational way that meets people where they are, not where we think they ought to be. If the people are at a horror convention, go to a horror convention. Granted, horror might not be for everyone, and maybe it's best some stay home, but hopefully we at least come to a place of maturity where we recognize the difference between preference and correctness. I attended a comic book convention once and posted photos on social media. A woman from church made comments condemning the other attendees and even chastised me for going. How, I wonder, will the message of Christ reach prostitutes or drug dealers if church folk are offended by teenagers in Deadpool costumes? The boundary lines of our comfort zones become barriers to the gospel, complicating simple faith.
Simplicity is what I appreciate most about the first Halloween film and what sets it apart from its sequels. By the time they rebooted the franchise, they had to keep the series alive by resorting to scenarios like Michael terrorizing a Reality TV show. Compare that to the primal fear of a babysitter just being stared at through her window. It's not that Halloween was realistic, but it was uncomfortable. That sort of authenticity is hard to keep reproducing.
Sometimes I worry that the church is falling into the sequel mindset. With so many advancements in technology, worship in some churches has become a laser show. It's easy to get distracted by new tech, attendance objectives, or trends in Christian media which might threaten to turn Sundays into one sequel after another just to keep going, but Church should exist to serve, not serve to exist, and there's a huge difference between manufacturing the feeling of a spiritual experience and actually having one. A flashy service means nothing if it doesn't impact or challenge us, but some of us don't want that, so we hide inside of worship like Laurie hid in her closet from Michael Myers.
God, like Michael Myers, is dogging our steps. We run, though, because the closer we let Him get the more real He becomes. God stops being a concept that we can sing of from the safe distance of lasers and smoke and is suddenly a face peering into the window of our hearts. Ironically, that's scarier than any horror movie, because once we realize that God is real we have no choice but to act on that knowledge. Fortunately, all God wants us to do is let Him catch us, but we run for the same reason that we run from Michael Myers: we're afraid of what He might do once He gets a hold of us. I let Michael Myers catch me, and all he did was refresh my spirit. I am certain God has even more to offer those who'd stop running long enough to find out.
- Have there been times when it seemed like God was trying to get your attention?
How did you respond?
- Why do you think we run from God? Have you ran?
If you enjoyed this examination of Halloween, you might like my book, The Monster Gospels, a devotional of spiritual lessons we can learn from 31 of the best scary movies ever made. Get your copy here.
A Queens native, Jason grew up in Lakeland, FL and attended Rochelle School of the Arts before moving to Florida's Nature Coast, where he resides. He always dreamed of being a storyteller, and he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Saint Leo University with a BA in Psychology and a Minor in Religion. He has been a professional guest speaker for thirteen years, talking at churches, graduations, and as a guest lecturer at Pasco-Hernando State College.