Happy All Hallow’s Eve!

Psalm 23:5

Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil,
my cup overflows.

Most people don’t think of horror as a genre of literature or film that is particularly agreeable to Christian sensibilities. However, two of the great practitioners of horror on both page and screen consider their work to be an extension of the gospel. Stephen King, author of many a scary tale, says that he considers himself the spiritual heir of the great Puritan preacher, Jonathan Edwards (who preached the famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”). William Peter Blatty, who penned <i>The Exorcist</i> wrote the story precisely in order to show both the depths of demonic evil and to remind the world of the reality of Christ-like self-sacrifice. It is the depth of the darkness of the Enemy that paradoxically highlights the brilliance of the light of Heaven. Indeed, the word “monster” comes from the same root as the word “demonstrate” and “monstrance.” A “monster” demonstrates what we can and will be apart from Christ. A monstrance shows forth the saving Eucharist, and self-sacrificial power of him who underwent the worst horror the world has ever known to save us from the terrors of Hell. He has prepared a Eucharistic table for us in the presence of Satan himself — and deprived him of his prey. This Halloween, be not afraid.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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  • fatherjo

    Very good. Thanks, Mark! Happy All Hallows E(v)en(ing) to you too!

  • dancingcrane

    Happy all Hallows’ eve!

    IMHO, Dean Koontz is the quintessential master of mystery/horror from a Catholic/Christian perspective. I actually avoided him for years, assuming he wrote the bleak nastiness so common in that genre. I was so wrong.

    His horror is chilling, even disturbing – yet it’s purpose is the same as any vision of Hell shown to a saint. He makes my heart clench in pain not only for the innocent who suffer evil, but for the deluded lost souls who choose to perpetrate it.

    The contrasting images of good, even in the midst of people failing, falling and getting up again, are transcendently beautiful, filled with awestruck wonder at the mysteries of God, love of His creation, and joy at even the simplest, most ordinary facets of life. He makes my heart ache, for the sheer longing to experience them, or the remembered joy of having experienced them.

    And he’s funny! I can go from laughter to tears and back again in the space of a page.

    My personal favorites are _From the Corner of His Eye_ , _One Door Away from Heaven_and the ‘Odd’ books.