GOD VS ‘DEAD DUDES IN THE HOUSE’
By DANNY MINTON
You walk through the store and come face to face with witches, skeletons, and all sorts of creepy critters. You walk by a display and a cackle shrieks in your ear. It’s that time of year. It’s Halloween. In a few weeks, you’ll open the door and face small living creatures from Disney princesses to zombies with the words “Trick or Treat!” Then, no matter who you face, they will turn and say, “thank you!” as they move on to the next house. I know a lot of people don’t like Halloween, but to me, it’s about the candy and kids having fun. Today most of the characters that you face that night are more comical than scary. At the end of the evening, the treasures will be taken home and dumped on the table, costumes removed, faces washed, and time spent picking through the bounty. The façade that rang the doorbells will be wiped clean, and life will continue with a little sugar fix.
But there’s another side of Halloween that is more dangerous to us. It’s what we spend our time filling our minds within our own homes. Television will bring back the horror movies that fill us with fear. People will sit in a dark room and subject themselves to their fears and then sleep with the light on and awake with each creak in the house or dog barking outside. Minds will be filled with all sorts of evils that man can invent to frighten even the strong-hearted.
My brother-in-law and I sat down late one evening and began watching a ’90s horror movie entitled “Dead Dudes in the House.” The basic story is about these kids who come to fix up a house and are killed off one by one. However, they always come back as zombies and have to be killed again. It was so bad that we laughed all the way through it. I noticed it online and saw where people were giving it an average of 4 ½ stars out of five on some sites! Four and a half!!! I would have had a hard time giving it one, but it was so bad it was funny.
Then I noticed something else. Movies like “Fireproof,” “Courageous,” and “Seven Days in Utopia” were struggling to get three stars. God was losing out to zombies. Faith and perseverance were fading in the light of blood and creepy killers. “Too much God and religion” was the theme that I was reading over and over. God was fighting a losing battle, especially with the critics. This only confirmed why I pay no attention to the critics when I watch a movie.
It brought back memories of when “Silence of the Lambs” won the best picture over “Beauty and the Beast.” I’ve seen “Silence” once. That was enough. “Beauty and the Beast” is in our film library. I never like movies where evil wins out.
I don’t always agree with movies with “religious” themes especially some of the endings; however, it gets to me when I hear people so ready to criticize a movie which promotes good morals and offer complete acceptance to a movie that haunts the mind with terror and misery. Life may not be all that a “God” movie portrays, but neither is it a world full of cannibalistic serial killers. The choice that we can make is, what do we want to fill
our hearts and minds?
I guess that’s why I like old black and white movies. Sure, they are sappy at times and make you shed a tear here and there. The endings usually end up on a bright note even if the real-life event didn’t. But, the majority of times the good guys won. More often than not, the guy in the white hat saved the girl often without killing anyone. Lassie always came home, the Babe always hit the home run, and the right guy always got the girl. I can watch them over and over and over because when it’s said and done, I always feel good afterward.
Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” I believe he said this because he knew that what is on our minds is also on our hearts. If we fill our hearts and minds with God, there is no room for Satan. He later told the church in Philippi, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
I’m not sure why I wasted my time with “Dead Dudes in the House.” I guess it was more the fun of my brother-in-law and me having too good a time laughing and joking about it. I know one thing for sure, and that is that there was nothing lovely, right, praiseworthy, or pure about it. I’m not sure what I will watch, waiting for the doorbell to ring this year, but it will be more positive and uplifting, and definitely not “Dead Dudes in the House.”
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ.