So…today I have a really cool guest on my blog. His name is Greg Mitchell, and he writes horror. But he writes it with conviction, which is also really cool. I’m a lover of horror, and I also love stories that tell a grander scope of reality, stories that pull you in because they compel us to think about the world a little differently. Greg is the author of two recent novels, The Strange Man and Enemies of the Cross, two books in his creepy The Coming Evil Trilogy. So, without further blabbing from me, I give you the unique Greg kick-butt Mitchell. Enjoy!
“Hey, what’s Jesus doing in my monster story?”
That’s the question some have asked me in response to my The Coming Evil Trilogy. To that, I say, “Blame Joss Whedon.”
Back in the day, I was a crazy-huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, and it occurred to me one evening in 1998 while watching the latest episode that, with all these people brandishing crosses as wards against vampires, what if a truly committed, Bible-believing Christian tried the same trick? I had this mental image of the vampire simply exploding in a hail of ash.
Something like electricity coursed through me, down to my toes: Inspiration.
The “power of Christ compels you” motif is one of the staples of horror, especially in vampire fiction. But I couldn’t recall many of those stories written by an actual believing Christian. The idea of using faith—the gospel—as a weapon against the things lurking in the shadows was just so cool to me that I decided, right then, I must devote my life to writing it.
Not long after, I got the idea for the first book of The Coming Evil Trilogy—The Strange Man. I used to tell people it was “Buffy meets the Bible” (to many strange looks). It took me over a decade, but I finally saw that book picked up by a publisher and placed on bookshelves last year. Book Two—Enemies of the Cross—was released last month (!) and Book Three is due out next year. All three books chronicle the plight of an outnumbered band of flawed, struggling believers who must lay hold of their faith in order to beat back the Strange Man and an army of Buffy-worthy monstrosities. It’s the culmination of that first moment when I was watching Buffy and thought “What if…?”
The books are an expression—a celebration—of my faith. That of course, draws the scathing criticism that horror is entertainment, and not a place for any sort of message.
To which I call foul.
I have spent a lifetime reading/watching countless horror stories where “Christians” are crazed Bible-toting psychopaths who do more harm than good, are the fool, the drunkard, or where crosses no longer work against vampires because faith is dead or God is irrelevant.
Isn’t all of that a message?
In my books, I’ve gone the other direction. What if the Bible was completely true and the Christians were the good guys? What if they were sane? Noble? Generous? Forgiving? Heroic? The ones with the answers to stop the monsters? No, my Christians aren’t perfect, because people aren’t perfect. They struggle with doubt, rage, apathy—all the things real life Christians face. But Christians have become a caricature, one of the last people groups in America that it’s still socially acceptable to mock in a public forum without fear of any real repercussion. I wanted to show us in an honest light, in our defeats and our triumphs. Some people say that’s preachy or biased, but I say it’s only fair.
So you ask, “What’s Jesus doing in my monster story?” I think back to watching Buffy, excited about the idea of a man or woman of real faith battling monsters, and I have to give credit where credit is due. “Blame Joss Whedon.” As ironic as it is (Buffy’s creator is an atheist), he really did inspire a young kid to take a fresh perspective to the faith.
I disagree with Mr. Whedon on many things, but I’ll always thank him for that.
Hope you liked his post. It was honest, real, and fun. Bottom line, Greg Mitchell likes to keep the creepy in his horror. And he’s got eerie, very appropriate covers. Go pick a copy of one of his books and keep the lights on!
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