Top 10 Religious Horror Films
Editor’s Note: Deliver Us From Evil opens in wide release 2 July.
Similar to how the action genre has been mostly eaten up by giant comic book movies, the horror genre has suffered an equally tragic devouring. It’s hard to remember the last horror film that didn’t have someone clutching a crucifix while battling a demon baby growing inside their stomach. An innocent young girl in a nightgown attacked by the powers of Satan has become as odious a cliché as a masked killer hunting down the “final girl.”
Yet, we’ve been treated to an abundance (an onslaught, really) of religious horror films in the past few years. Some were handheld catastrophes like The Devil Inside (2012) or the embarrassingly similar Devil’s Due (2014), while others tried to climb out of the box, but tripped halfway and fell flat on their face like The Possession (2012) or The Rite (2011). Their tired rhetoric has become as grating as a righteous preacher’s sermon on repeat. We get it, the power of Christ compels you.
However, despite all these misfires, there is no denying that horror and religion have a fascinating and delicate love/hate relationship. On one hand religion is repulsed by the depravity of the genre; on the other, religion utilizes horrific images to instill the fear of God. You know, the fires of hell, burning flesh, tortured souls and the like.
In honour of the upcoming religious horror film, Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us From Evil (2014), this list hopes to highlight some classic films dealing with religious themes, while also illustrating the tender connection that exists between faith and fear.
So, drop to your knees, clasp those hands together, and pray you survive this journey through religion’s dark side.