I’m scared, call Mama

Posted: January 18, 2013 by Emilio Garofalo Neto in Horror

Yesterday we talked a bit about the new horror movie Mama, a story of 2 girls who for a few years survived in a house in the wilderness being taken care by some monstrous thing they call Mama. When a real family becomes their parents, Mama from the woods is jealous. You know, horror stuff follows.


In yesterday’s post we began to explore why it is that we enjoy horror movies and creation even more twisted versions of our own world. I wrote about the broken window principle for a while and pointed you to one of Perritt’s posts that talks about this matter as well.

Let me explore the issue a bit more from another angle.

As humans made in the image of God we were created to be creators, or sub-creators if you will, since our own creations are always derivative. We are receptively creative; we were made to be makers.

As creators we have the opportunity of making imaginative worlds that in some senses resemble our own and in other senses are strategically different. The movie Mama, for example, basically is a sub-creation of a world pretty much like ours, except for the little fact that there are monstrous creatures in the woods that raise lost children and happen to be very protective of them. Any work of fiction is like that; from literature to movies to our own make-believe worlds. From Westerns to Sci-fi; there are always similarities and disimalarities, that allow us to connect at the same time that we try on new stuff. Even when we day dream about a vacation or about a new job we are sub-creating in our minds a reality that is different and let us imagine “what if…”

Thre is another side of the coin as well. As consumers, we like to experiment what it would be like to live in a different world or even simply to walk in the shoes of a different person in this very world. So we like to watch war movies and get a taste for what it would be like, we enjoy watching horror movies and feel the controlled fear of peeking into this world, while knowing that we are safe. We want to feel like what it is to live in 19th century Paris, or in the middle of a sports season with the pros. Sub-creations allow us to taste such things, from a safe environment and without having to put in the effort of actually going to war or training hard to be a pro.

Incidentally, many men who go after pornography are carrying on this same principle, a supposedly fun and safe thing to experiment, to inhabit this world of different women and practices for a little while and imagining what it would be like. No harm done right? Except that there are consequences; we cannot flick a switch in our brain and go from living life mode to experiencing safely the alternatives mode. Those experiences, whether from movies or books, they become in some sense part of our experience; and we begin to merge reality with fantasy in our expectations and desires. Thus a man can become bored with his own wife, another may think that his job is worthless since he is not saving the world daily, a woman may think that her marriage lacks the drama and romance of the Rom-Coms…

As sub-creators we are called to exercise this gift with wisdom!


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