“Lurking Under the Surface: Horror, Religion, and the Questions that Haunt Us” by Brandon R. Grafius

"Lurking Under the Surface: Horror, Religion, and the Questions that Haunt Us" by Brandon R. Grafius

"Horror can be a valuable conversation partner for the spiritual questions that animate so many of us.

Whether through a movie, television show, novel, or even myth, horror as a genre has always spoken to our deepest human fears and anxieties: fear of death, of the unknown, of knowing too much. Whether you're looking at classic narratives like Frankenstein, which shows us the consequences of stretching knowledge farther than it's safe to go, or contemporary films like Get Out, which explores racism and white guilt, horror provides a window into our culture and what makes us human. The same can be said of religion.

Horror movie buff and religion scholar Brandon Grafius finds common ground between these two seemingly disparate bedfellows—horror and religion—in Lurking under the Surface. What parallels can we draw between The Walking Dead and sacred texts? How do the stories of Hebrew Christian scriptures and apocalyptic films like A Quiet Place and Bird Box help us find hope when it's in short supply? When we treat them both seriously, we see that horror movies and religion lead us through the same sets of questions. Both explore questions of justice, hope, and our relationship to the world and the cosmos. And both offer us ways to make meaning out of the contradictory pieces of our world—a world filled with so much hope and so many recognizable fears lurking just beneath the surface."