There are horror films of all flavors, likely one for every kind of weirdo out there. From films set in reality where the murder is a human/someone you know (Last House on the Left, Scream) to the fantastical and silly where killer dolls come to life with a magic spell or during an electric storm (Child’s Play, Dolls). Or sometimes, like in the case of IT, the terror falls somewhere in between.
I call it, the Religion Bomb™.
1) In A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, the creatives that be proved they were running out of ideas when they introduced Amanda Krueger, a sweet and innocent nun. Amanda was a poor victim of circumstance, lock away and attacked by 100 maniac rapists, which of course produced the monster we know as Freddy Krueger. Instead of just letting him be a complete monster who preyed on children, they used a forced religious backstory complete with nun to somehow “explain” the evil.
2) In the first Paranormal Activity, The Religion Bomb™ was dropped halfway through the film. It resulted in completely destroying the “This Could Happen to Anyone” thing they were going for. The premise is simple; it’s the story of a young couple getting haunted. Using “at-home video cameras” they capture the haunting in their home that builds tension with more and more disturbing imagery. But then, out of nowhere, that cursed Religion Bomb™ was dropped. Now, it was no longer a regular haunting, but a specifically Catholic ghost that was attached to the girlfriend in the movie. The whole premise falls apart that “this could happen to anyone” because first, not everyone is this young woman. And second, not everyone believes in spooky Catholic haunting ghosts.
3) And last but not least, The Ring franchise, specifically in the new film Rings. Inklings of The Religion Bomb™ were dropped in The Ring Two when speculation of where Samara came from were discussed. Not simply allowing her to be evil or abandoned by her birth parents and adopted by the Morgan family in the first film, the religion card was played to the highest caliber in Rings. Samara was the daughter of a nun who was locked away in a basement dungeon by her biological father, a priest, and all of her evil ways are explained using church imagery and the (inherent to some) fear of them. It’s a cop out. Samara is evil because Samara is evil. She never sleeps and she was recorded in the asylum, sitting there all haunted with her hair in front of her face. Her evil scared her parents. Dad kept her in the barn with a TV and the horses. Mom finally pushed her into a well where she survived for seven days before she died. That’s it. The end.
Stop trying to use religion to give convoluted back stories to stuff that doesn’t need to be explained. That said, you can watch Rings on HULU, where you really should because it was a lot of fun to watch.
Follow Loryn on Twitter or her personal blog. Loryn’s debut novel My Starlight, a young adult novel about anime, cosplaying, fandom, love, loss, and friendship will be released August 3rd, 2018 by Affinity Rainbow Publications.