Flesh and Blood: A Great Horror Short Film About a Spiritual Past. 1980s Homage.

A colleague of mine helped produce this short film that is quite a fascinating horror short.

Quite scary, which is hard to do these days.

And it’s kind of a 1980s nostalgia homage to The Exorcist.

“Flesh and Blood” is about a young women facing the sinister past of her mother who died in an asylum.

Written, directed and shot with Hollywood quality production.

Watch it here on Vimeo free.


Pandemic Movies: In Depth Podcast Look from a Christian Worldview – Godawa & Mohr

I did this detailed podcast with Chris Mohr, a fellow storytelling professional about Pandemic Movies.

There are 3 parts. I promise it’s all fascinating, if you love movies, and especially pandemic movies, like viruses and zombie apocalypses.

Listen to the first episode here.

But it will also show you a playlist for the next two episodes.


Here are the topics:

Episode 1: Pandemic Movies: Viruses, Achoo!

00:00  Intro to Brian and Chris
09:45  Pandemic Movies and God
16:53  Contagion
42:50  Outbreak
50:53  Flu
63:00  Carriers

Episode 2: Pandemic Movies: The Zombie Apocalypse Part 1

00:00  Intro
03:30  Horror genre
18:00  Zombie genre
39:20  Night of the Living Dead
56:00  28 Days Later
68:00  Twilight Zone
77:00  28 Weeks Later

Episode 3: Pandemic Movies: The Zombie Apocalypse Part 2

00:00  Intro Horror
04:10  I am Legend Novel
05:40  The Last Man on Earth
12:50  The Omega Man
26:10  I Am Legend
53:20  Race in Movies
60:00  The Walking Dead
77:00  Writers controlling their writing
80:20  Walking Dead part 2

The Movie IT: Christians Who Condemn All Horror Need to Grow Up

I was interviewed by John Piper’s website in response to their questions about horror movies. Understandably, and respectfully, they do not share my appreciation of horror. But they were very open-minded and open-hearted to listen to me and give me a voice.

I really think Christians need to realize the tremendous moral power of the horror genre. It’s not for everyone, but God loves the horror genre, so Christians should at least respect it.

The movie IT, is a classic coming of age horror story of a group of young misfit outcasts who must not only face the returning supernatural evil in their small town, but face the fears and evils in their own lives in order to grow up. It’s not for the feint of heart, and it’s not perfect, but I think it exemplifies moral lessons in line with the Christian worldview.

Read on for the interview…

Continue reading

American Gods: Secular Man Still Worships & the Gods are Crazy

The Starz network series, American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman’s horror novel is a supernatural story of the “old gods” who immigrated to America with various people groups rising up in war against the new gods of technology and culture that now rule our society.

It’s a great creative idea that in some ways reflects what I have been doing in my own universe of fictional writing. So I was naturally fascinated by the premise.

Unfortunately, it turns out to be a great idea gone bad. A mixed bag of profound spiritual wisdom and depraved humanist blasphemy.


American Gods focuses on a convict, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), just released from prison only to discover his wife, Laura (Emily Browning), and his best friend died in a car accident while in an adulterous affair. On his way to the funeral, Shadow meets a peculiar old man, named Wednesday (Ian McShane), who hires him as a bodyguard of sorts. Shadow soon discovers that Wednesday claims to be a chief of the old gods who once laid claim to America through those who found their way here in the past, willingly or not. And we see vignettes in each episode of these gods arriving on America’s virgin shores—or really, raped shores. Odin with the Vikings, Bilquis and Anubis with some of the slaves, a Leprechaun with the Irish, Jinn with Muslims and others. In the story, these are real beings with real, though limited supernatural powers.

It’s a common fantasy theme about the “disenchantment” of the natural world that science and technology creates in modernity. The “old gods” represent the sense of wonder that the ancients had of the life in a world interpreted as containing a goddess of spring, a god of storm, a goddess of sex, and so on. In modernity, and in this story, these gods have become like neglected elderly homeless who scrounge around in lives of squalor as the new gods of technology, like “Media,” “Technical Boy,” and others occupy us with obsessive entertainment and electronic diversion that amounts to sacred devotion to the profane. We’ve lost the “magic” and “wonder” of life. We think we’ve become enlightened and put behind us the ignorance of religion, but we remain decidedly religious creatures who worship new gods under the guise of secularism. The goddess Media sometimes appears as Lucille Ball, sometimes as Marilyn Monroe, icons of worship no less religious than Bilquis the old god of sexuality who calls upon her sexual partners to verbalize worship to her as they engage in sex with her.

Spiritual Profundity

And that is the brilliance of the story, as in the original book by the same title (Although in this case, the show is better than the book). It brings alive a profound truth that modern secular man seeks to deny, namely that secular modernity is just as much a culture of religious worship as the old world. We humans are homo religicus, worshipping beings. And the world of media that traffics in narrative imagination is just as much an artificial creation of the human craving for the transcendent as are the religions of old. We have replaced one mythology with another mythology and mistaken the latter as progress.

Ah, but therein lies the rub… Continue reading

Antiviral, the Movie: The Horror of Celebrity Worship.


On Netflix Streaming. Sci-fi horror about the near future, when drug companies create a new way for fans to get even more intimate with their celebrities: injections of viruses directly from sick celebrities into their obsessive fans.

The story follows Syd March, who works for the Lucas Clinic, that creates cultures of pathogens directly from the blood cells of sick celebrities, and sells them to fans who seek to have the very cells of celebrities fuse and mutate with their own in a twisted form of identification. Lucas Clinic custom designs the molecular structures of the sicknesses so they are not contagious and therefore not transferable. They want to maintain their patent and profits after all. It’s positively diabolical and absurd in its notion, yet, not far from the truth of the spiritual sickness of our culture of celebrity worship. Indeed, watching this film, I actually think it is quite prescient of where we are going as a culture.

One more gruesome corollary of this dystopian future is that celebrities also sell their normal body cells to be clone-cultured and grown into slabs of meat, that are also sold and eaten by the adoring public. It’s quite literally a science-justified form of cannibalism, since the cultures are not persons, but just meat made from their cells. Of course, its all done in a very clean and white environment, so the hideousness is hidden behind the veneer of “safe science.”

Syd engages in some blackmarket moonlighting by injecting himself with pathogens that enable him to remove the copy protection on the virus, that he then sells to his shady contact. But when Syd injects himself with a deadly pathogen of famous celebrity Hannah Geist, he now must try to save his own life before he follows the young woman to the grave.

Coming from the son of David Cronenberg, one must be aware there will be some influence of dad on this filmmaker. Thus, it is all a bit bloody and physically repulsive at times, artsy and opaque at others. But the directing and acting is excellent, and the beautiful cinematography lent a powerful irony to the eerie darkness beneath the surface. I found it a quite truthful picture of the nature of celebrity worship and how it is a form of idolatry that leads to bizarre self-inflicted degradation on the part of the populace, as well as the willingness on the part of celebrities who are virtual and willing house slaves to those who “cannibalize” them.

This movie was weird, but it really had a profound spiritual truthfulness to it that remains an echo in my memory, long after I’ve forgotten whatever big stupid movie I’ve seen in the theaters this week has dissolved.

Deliver Us From Evil: Muscular Spirituality Vs. Foolish Materialism


Maybe Deliver Us From Evil is just another demon possession movie that’s combined with a cop crime story.

But I doubt it.

Written and Directed by Scott Derrickson, this movie is inspired by the true story of Ralph Sarchie, a New York cop who encountered murders involving demon possession. He joins up with a Roman Catholic exorcist to solve the crimes, and in the process, he rediscovers his lost faith.

Okay, horror is not for everyone. But in this modern world that denies the supernatural, along with God, sometimes the best way to break through the rabid materialistic worldview of our culture is through horror. It’s a kind of apologetic that proves God by proving supernatural evil. If people believe there is a devil, it’s a pretty self-evident corollary that there is a God.

Ad300x250-HorrorWhat I like most about Derrickson’s cinematic portrayal of demon possession (This and The Exorcism of Emily Rose), is his understated realistic approach. He doesn’t rely on special effects gimmicks or make up that are impossible in the real world. The things that happen are mostly the kind of things that really do happen in demon possession cases. So no heads turning around or impossible levitations. Don’t get me wrong, there are contortions, dilated pupils, cuts appearing on bodies, and even preternatural strength and multiple voices. But these are all documented around the world to have occurred in such cases. He doesn’t “Hollywoodize” that stuff to an unbelievable extreme, which is what makes a lot of other demon movies just goofy. I’m not against adding fantasy or beefing it up if you are playing to certain genre demands. I’ve done so myself. But when you are dealing with true stories like Derrickson does, it makes it more scarier to be more realistic.

Now, while I didn’t find this one as scary as say Emily Rose or other demon possession movies like Paranormal Activity or The Last Exorcism, it is still compelling with its share of frights and a couple of eerie shots that make your skin crawl. His demonic “floor scratching” sounds (a common element of the genre) are the scariest I’ve ever heard. Scariness can be a very subjective thing, and the more you’ve seen, the less seems scary. So if you don’t normally watch horror, this will probably be plenty scary.

What I really found fascinating was the priest who teamed up with the cop. The priest, Mendoza, breaks all the stereotypes of priests in movies. He’s young, not old; cool, not archaic, flawed, not holy, forgiven, not judgmental, and best of all, the wise mentor, not the fool. As Sarchie uncovers the spiritual reality behind the murders, he struggles with his own lost faith. But the essence of the spiritual battle is brought out with Christian clarity like I’ve never seen before in a horror movie. In one moment, the priest tells him something like, “You have seen a lot of evil in your job, no doubt. But that is secondary evil. But until you’ve seen primary evil, you do not know true evil.” And of course, demonic evil is primary evil.

Ad300x250-SexAndViolenceBut the priest is not a false holy monk, either. He’s a real sinner, who sinned grievously AS A PRIEST. But what makes this portrayal so different from all the other movies that try to make priests out to be all secret adulterers and child molesters and hypocrites, is that this one shows a priest who confesses that sin and repents and turns back to God. That is grace. That is what the secular world cannot understand. Because Derrickson is a Christian, he can bring that kind of nuance and complexity to a spiritual character as flawed but heroic. This is the director that should be directing the next movie on King David, not another Hollywood secularist trying to subvert a sacred narrative.

SPOILER ALERT: The priest explains that the cop must confess his sins because our unrepented sins are the dark secrets that supernatural evil can use against us. Wow. Only when Sarchie confesses his sins, is he “covered” by God’s power. This is all done in the context of Roman Catholicism, where Sarchie confesses to Mendoza, who then says, “I absolve you.” So anti-Catholics will not like this. Those less bothered by theological distortions, will argue that it WAS his experience that is the story, and the principle behind it is true, that confession of sins to God and forgiveness is our redemption and power to fight such primary evil (distortions notwithstanding).

Another problem as I see it with the genre is that demon possession movies all must end with the third act as the Exorcism sequence. This makes it so hard to come up with something new. Cause it’s usually a priest and others in a room repeating the exorcism ritual as the person manifests supernatural reactions. What have we not seen before? Many times movies try to outdo each other with more spectacular effects, but again, Derrickson does not bow to that cheap way out, though he certainly has a few goodies to offer.

Again, they use the Roman Catholic ritual of exorcism. Look, I realize that they do use that in real life, AND I realize it is more cinematic to engage in a ritual that has progression to it. But I’ve always hoped that people don’t think that recounting words like some kind of magic formula is how to fight a demon. In the Bible, it is the faith of the believer and his calling upon JESUS CHRIST to cast the demon out that does it (And this surely does occur at the end of the exorcism in the movie). But I’ve always been amazed at how in the New Testament, casting out demons was a relatively quick procedure, certainly not as dramatic for a movie. They would cast out in the authority of Jesus Christ, and BAM, they left. Now, Jesus does say that there are some tough cases that require prayer and even fasting. So there are more difficult cases to be sure, but it was not the norm in the first century.

I am studying a lot about Jesus’ ministry as an exorcist for my next novel, Jesus Triumphant, so it is going to be quite a challenge. The real question that many believers never explore is: Exactly what are demons? Everyone assumes “fallen angels.” But the Bible does not say that they are fallen angels, it just calls them evil spirits. Where do they come from? There is an interesting option not normally discussed among polite company. I will be dealing with that in a way I have not yet seen done. Unfortunately, you won’t know until next year, cause I have not written the book yet. But you can find out the theology of it all in my book When Giants Were Upon the Earth: The Watchers, The Nephilim, and the Biblical Cosmic War of the Seed, here on Amazon.


I, Frankenstein: The Monster Accepts Jesus as His Personal Lord and Savior

Sci-Fi Fantasy sequel to the original Frankenstein by Shelley. Okay, do not put a high expectation upon this one. It’s sci-fi fantasy for God’s sake. Have some fun. I did. It’s the story of Frankenstein’s monster 200 years after the novel takes place. He is still alive in the present day because he is a creature in between the worlds of the living and the dead. He is alive but he has no soul. The unique and surprising and delightful twist is that it is ensconced within a Christian worldview of spiritual warfare between demons and angels for the future of mankind.

The story’s set up is an expansive alteration of the War in Heaven motif of the Bible. There is an order of angels between the archangels and earth who fight against the 666 legions of demon hordes who want to start a war to destroy all of mankind. Okay, pretty standard boring sameness. But the storytellers add an original twist that the angels are the Order of the Gargoyles. So they look frightening even though they are the good guys. This is actually based on the medieval notion that gargoyles were put on cathedrals not as demons but to scare away the demons. Not bad. To add to that, their symbol that makes their weapons “sacramental” and able to send demons to hell is what looks like a triple cross, a symbol, no doubt of the Trinity.

Now it is an incorrect tradition that we call the monster created by the doctor, “Frankenstein.” Frankenstein was the doctor’s name, not the monster’s. But a clever angle brought in is that, as the demon villain says, “We are all sons of our fathers. So denying who we are means we are lost.” Thus at the end of the film, we understand the meaning of the title, “I, Frankenstein.”

Frankenstein considers himself rejected by God and man because of his lack of a soul and that he was created by man instead of God. This is a thematic idea that returns in the story. Frankenstein wanders the earth with existential angst. This is a journey of identity, as the monster seeks to find out who he is while killing demons who are after him. And why are they after him? Because he holds the key to the ability of the villain to create an army of Frankenstein monsters to rule the world.

In the mean time, the Gargoyle order discovers him and also rejects him because they too consider him without a soul and rejected by his maker. But the awesome Queen of the order suspects not. She thinks that God has kept him alive for a higher purpose, and that “it is not for you or I to deny God’s purpose.” She also says that “all life is sacred,” so it would be wrong for the angels to kill him. Wow. A return to the Victorian theme that wrestles with the Christian God and the value of human life. (Whoops, they just slipped in a pagan twist by saying “all life” is sacred, not the Biblical version that “human life” is sacred. Of course, this is the premise of the idolatrous animal rights fascists and enviro-fascist crowd who deny human exceptionalism. Since “all life is sacred,” then we must allow human life to suffer by prohibiting economic activity in areas that contain “endangered” rodents, insects, and other examples of “all life.” Which means, when people say “all life is sacred” what they REALLY mean is that human life is dispensable because they will let humans die to save rodents and insects. The true haters. But I digress.)

Because the monster was never named by Frankenstein, the Queen gives him a new name: Adam, an obvious nod to the Biblical first man created by God. But again, they believe that he is not a human, angel, or demon, and therefore an uneasy tenuous relationship between Adam and the Angels.

Okay, I want to applaud this movie for using a Christian mythology as its worldview. That has become so rare in Hollywood these days that I am shocked whenever I see it attempted in a positive way. I believe the writer is a Christian, and I also know how much pressure there is on Christians to keep Jesus out of their Hollywood blockbusters. After all, we wouldn’t want to offend the small 20% of people who don’t like Jesus just for the 80% majority who basically do. Better to offend 80% by keeping him out of it (Hollywood logic).

About the best you can get is the Cross symbol and the fact that you are fighting on the side of the angels of heaven (Notably connected to the Biblical angels Michael and Gabriel). Unfortunately, as in I, Frankenstein, this all too often distorts the meaning of redemption into “being a good person.” As the love interest in the movie says, “You’re only a monster if you behave like one.”

In reality, we are all monster children of our father, the first and fallen Adam, and only by becoming children of the second Adam through faith, can we be redeemed of our badness. One of the few sci-fi fantasy movies that actually did a good job of embodying faith as the essence of redemption was “End of Days” with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But on the other hand, I can certainly see that this story could be seen as a Christ story using Frankenstein as the “Second Adam,” who was a unique being between two worlds (like Christ’s dual nature of God and man), resurrected, and in whom is the redemption of mankind. In that sense I embrace this mythos. It ain’t perfect but neither am I and neither are my stories. I like that.

On the down side, the entire premise of the movie falls apart because of some of the choices made in the logic of the story. Or should I say, “illogic.”

SPOILER TERRITORY: So, the whole scheme of the villain demon, Naberius is to use the scientific technology that Frankenstein discovered to create an army of undead to take over the world. The premise is that 1) Reanimated corpses like Frankenstein have no soul, 2) the demons sent to hell need bodies to be able to come back to inhabit so they can take over the world, 3) Demons cannot inhabit a body with a soul, so 4) they can inhabit the reanimated corpses because they have no soul.

Oh boy, what a mess. The problem is that Frankenstein ends up surprising the villain by having a soul, so he cannot be possessed! Frankenstein has discovered that God has given him a purpose of fighting these demons. Okay, fair enough. But then that means that the entire scene of demons entering the army of corpses at the end could not possibly work, even though it is shown as happening. Whoops. Unless I missed something about Frankenstein being special. I might very well have.

Secondly, the entire premise of a reanimated human life not having a soul is completely poor theology and dangerous. In the Bible, a “soul” is actually the Hebrew word for “breath.” The idea is that human life is spiritual or soulish. It was a gnostic Greek notion that the soul was the real essence of our identity that inhabits the body like a ghost in a machine. To the ancient Hebrew the body was as much our identity as our life or soulishness. They were inseparable. It is after all the body that God says he will resurrect! Secondly, the Bible is clear that demons possessed humans who clearly had souls. Not good.

But the most dangerous is this notion that created human life is without a soul is the very abominable justification for the social engineering of human life without rights. It was the basis of slavery and it is the basis of current debates about cloning. To own human life because man is in some way its “creator” (not actually true, if man starts with living organisms or DNA as he does in all genetics research). This is of course the justification for atrocities of all kinds, from slavery to holocaust. And it is the very issue undergirding modern genetic experimentation on human life.

But I have to say, I don’t damn this story for its silly illogical and unscientific premise about human souls. After all, sci-fi fantasy is not about reality, it is a metaphor for spiritual meaning. This movie tries to affirm Christian spiritual meaning by subverting the Frankenstein tradition with a spiritual warfare motif taken from the Bible and unfortunately diluted of the real essence of the Christian worldview: Faith and that other unique hybrid being considered the most vile monster of all in our secular world: Jesus Christ.