Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Frightening, Isn't It?

In 1996 Peter Jackson made his first entry into mainstream filmdom with a Robert Zemeckis produced horror/comedy called “The Frighteners.” In the words of on online review with a Christian slant, “The Frighteners is a dark, gruesome… film which many Christians will find objectionable, twisted and disgusting.” True. Others include it among their “guilty pleasure” and place it on their blog under the “not a recommendation” category.

If you like a scary story with a sense of humor and can deal with the objectionable stuff that comes with scary stories and today’s sense of humor, then this is a fun film. It deals with a psychic, Frank Banister who uses his very real powers to con people into thinking they need a “ghost buster.” Coincidentally, a ghost starts to actually kill people around town and Frank is forced to match wits with it.

Mostly, this is a bit of mindless entertainment. However, there are some interesting thoughts brought up. First, there is the way that the materialistic character is treated in the film. Most people today would completely agree with his view of the world. Nothing that cannot be empirically proven exists. The only problem is that in his world, supernatural things do exist. Even when he dies and becomes a purely spiritual being himself, he cannot at first believe what has happened.

The other interesting thing is this movie’s view of the afterlife. Like most postmodern thinking, they are open to considering an idea of heaven and hell, but on really screwy terms. It seems just about anyone gets into Heaven. All you have to do is try to be a good person. Only really bad people are sent to hell. It seems that good intentions are all that is needed. Or is it? That same materialistic character from before had a chance to go straight to heaven when he died. This, even though he was pretty much a jerk in life. The only thing that kept him out of heaven was that he didn’t believe. He didn’t believe he was dead. He didn’t believe in any afterlife.

These are ideas worth talking to people about. How important is it what you believe and when you believe it? How much does reality affect the answer to that question? You might be surprised with how little thought goes into most people’s answers.

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