The Spirituality of STRANGER THINGS
Here is a reflection written by a Christian minister concerning the smash Netflix series STRANGER THINGS. And it isn’t what you might initially expect. The rantings and ravings of people who brand themselves as “Christian” may have conditioned you to automatically expect the worst. They certainly have done that with me—and I *am* a practicing Christian. With these people using a creaky and skewed fundamentalist interpretation of holy Scripture—which isn’t holy because it is *literally* true or accurate in many cases—to support their own prejudices and self-justify their own behaviors that are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, it’s not surprising that humanity has largely turned a deaf ear to anything the “Christians” have to say about anything. Unless you can use their prejudices and myopia to manipulate them, the way the orange narcissist currently sitting in the White House has done, they are otherwise irrelevant.
This article, though, gets it right. “Monsters are mythical creatures symbolizing that which terrifies and terrorizes us. Whether it’s the Demogorgon of STRANGER THINGS, or Grendel in the medieval story of BEOWULF, or the beast with ten horns in the book of Daniel, these monsters represent forces of incredible malevolent power. They show up in our nightmares, in the scary costumes we wear on Halloween, and the frightening stories we tell around campfires. Monsters hide in the shadows, stalking us, waiting to jump out when we least expect it and tear us limb from limb. They feed on the weak, overpower the strong, and threaten to destroy the world as we know it. But here’s the thing. As much as we fear and loathe them, we need these stories about monsters [because they provide] us a way to talk about the forces of evil so that our minds can comprehend them and we can mentally, physically, and spiritually prepare ourselves to face them, even if it scares us to do so…they reveal a truth about our world and our struggles that can give us strength to engage the forces of evil…when I watch STRANGER THINGS, I see the monsters as a metaphor for the ways in which our children are being violently snatched into a world of the ‘Upside Down’…The monsters are as varied as each of our experiences. So we need tools, weapons of the spirit (as St. Paul called them) to engage these monsters. And we need stories of people who have faced these creatures so that we can learn how to overcome them as well.”
Exactly. This lady gets it. This is why we need monster stories, and Horror as a genre. This is, in fact, why we cannot survive without them.
Take that, small-minded wannabe censors!
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!