Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark – Why not?

Posted: August 25, 2011 by jperritt in Horror
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That’s right…another horror film.  Since we’ve started this blog, there has been a horror film released every weekend.  There have also been, at least, three remakes of films at the local box office.  This may tell us two things.  First, there may not be much creativity left in Hollywood and second, that horror movies tend to do pretty well at the silver screen.  I’m not sure if I agree with the former, but the latter is definitely true.

Horror films seem to do quite well, monetarily speaking.  Even if the plot is weak and the acting is bad, people still turn out for a good scare.  However, with Guillermo del Toro at the wheel of this horror film, I think we can expect a little more from this than our typical horror diet we feed on at the box office.  Especially after what I read about the opening scene to this rendition.  It sounds pretty creepy.  Del Toro’s previous work shows us that this won’t be your run-of-the-mill horror film.  While I’m not a huge fan of his work, he is a thoughtful filmmaker.  And his remake of this ’73 cult classic Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, draws from a classic fear in us all…the dark.

I know there was a time my life when I was very afraid of the dark.  Truth be told, in certain contexts, the dark is still quite frightening.  I know I can’t be the only one who is somewhat afraid of the dark, or has at one point, been afraid of the dark.  For starters, someone made a movie out of this fear and then re-made that movie, so more people than we might realize are frightened by the absence of light.  Why is that?

In Grant Horner’s book, Meaning at the Movies, he helped me to see that fear is a part of all human beings.  If you are human, you are afraid of something.  Think of all the different phobias that are out there – heights, enclosed spaces, public speaking, the list goes on and on.  People have been created to fear God, but they misplace their fear on everything else.  Deuteronomy 6:13 says, “It is the LORD your God you shall fear.  Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.”

Before we analyze darkness, let’s consider it alongside it’s foe – light.  These two can never perfectly dwell together.  Where there is light, there is no darkness, and where there is darkness there is no light.  Light reveals all things and gives us feelings of warmth and security.  Darkness, however, conceals and cannot be trusted.  It can deceive and harm us.

I can remember working at Alpine Camp for Boys and finding myself in a frightening position.  I was walking back to my cabin, which was at the back of camp, but the other guys I was walking with went to their cabins, which were located before mine.  I realized I would be walking the road alone, close to midnight.  I was walking along the gravel road in utter darkness.  No street lights, no light from the moon, in complete absence from light.  The only way I knew I was still walking on the road was the sound of gravel.  It was a terrifying walk and I slowly picked up the pace as I approached my cabin (it was a manly pace).  The darkness was deceiving me, making me feel that something was with me.  I paused thinking I heard other footsteps a few times.  In short, the darkness could not be trusted.

Light is a good thing…a great thing!  Being in utter darkness only helps you appreciate the gift of  light.  This gives new meaning to the words Christ spoke when he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [John 8:12]  Scripture affirms again and again that light is good and Jesus is the light of the world.  In him there is complete warmth, love, trust, and security.  If this is true of light, by contrast, darkness should be terrifying.  We will take a closer look at this terror in tomorrow’s post, so be sure and check back.

  1. Neil Rogers says:

    John, I had this exact experience one time at Alpine. I couldn’t see a single thing. Literally had to walk a quarter of a mile with my arms straight out in front of me so that I wouldn’t walk into a tree.

    Enjoy the blog. Keep it up.

  2. Excellent post John. Indeed we are built we fear from factory… I am not getting anywhere enar this Apline place that spooked you and Neil so much…

  3. […] darkness [sin] loses its power when it is brought into the light.  As we mentioned from an earlier post, darkness and light cannot coexist.  Once light is present, darkness is absent and visa versa.  […]

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