“Scare the living daylights out of nonbelievers”

Final:  The Rapture is another end times movie.  It’s billed as a “Christian horror movie.”  The purpose, according to filmmaker Tim Chey, is to “win people to Christ” by scaring “the living daylights out of nonbelievers.”

After the jump, I excerpt a story about the movie with various quotations that I put in bold.   I know that the Law terrifies, as it drives us to the Gospel.  But that doesn’t mean that anything that terrifies is the Law.  Does there seem to be either Law or Gospel in this particular evangelism project?

And what do you make of all of this interest in this particular interpretation of the End Times?

From Mark I. Pinsky, Tim Chey’s ‘Final: The Rapture’ adapts ‘horror movie’ label (Religious News Service):

The words “Christian” and “horror movie” rarely appear in the same sentence, much less in the same film’s promotional material.

Yet that’s exactly what Tim Chey, writer and director of “Final: The Rapture,” does to promote his picture in its city-by-city rollout.

As the movie’s poster promises: “When the Rapture strikes … all of hell will break loose.”

In an interview outside the Orlando, Fla., multiplex where his film is playing on a Sunday afternoon, Chey said he’s comfortable with the Christian horror movie label, or even “Christian disaster movie.”

Acknowledging that a movie theater is no substitute for a sanctuary, Chey said his purpose is “to scare the living daylights out of nonbelievers. … If it means I have to make a horror film to make it realistic to win people to Christ, then so be it.”

From church-sponsored, Halloween “Hell Houses” — designed to dramatize the wages of sin — to the best-selling “Left Behind” pulp novels and movies, evangelical Christians have had an ambivalent relationship with horror and terror in their home-grown popular culture.

The question is how far to go while serving a higher purpose.

“I can be as violent as I can, without being gratuitous,” Chey said. “Anything goes.” Well, that’s “anything” in the evangelical Christian sense; he draws the line at nudity and profanity.

But as they have with other genres that appeal to sometimes rebellious, media-savvy young people — rock music, cartoons and video games — evangelicals have shown themselves innovative in appropriating and adapting popular culture to their own ends.

The goal, the movie’s creators said, is twofold: To reach out to nonbelievers, while at the same time fostering a sense of cultural inclusion for the young of their flock.

Chey’s wife Susan, the film’s producer, called it “a Trojan horse.” . . .

“Final” imagines the apocalyptic chaos for four nonbelievers: an African-American, an Asian, a Hispanic and a white man living in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and on a South Pacific island. Chey said his movie is more scarily realistic than the “Left Behind” movie, which covers the same subject, but generated a meager $4 million at the box office. . .

While it may be counterintuitive, “The stronger the message, the better the box office,” [Chey] said.

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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