Sunday, February 26, 2012

Monsters! Deadline... May 31!

Duran Tackles Horror New & Old

Author Mike Duran (whose The Resurrection we've reviewed previously), has a post on his site, outlining what he perceives as the differences between classic Christian horror and contemporary Christian horror, and asks the question, when did Contemporary Christian Horror begin?

At first glance, “philosophy” and “horror” appear oxymoronic. After all, horror is simply brainless blood and gore, right? There’s no “philosophy” about it (unless it’s the philosophy of how to turn people’s stomachs).

You couldn’t be more wrong.
Read the rest of this post at Duran's website.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Haunting of Patrick Meechan: an Interview

Patrick Meechan studies the paranormal. Last year, he released a book, 220 Fifth Street, detailing his experience in a "haunted" house. He believes these "ghosts" are actually demons, and that the Church is failing to engage in important spiritual battles. He started Crown of Thorns Publishing in support of the books, and has also founded a facebook group dedicated to paranormal research. As somebody also formerly involved with paranormal investigations, I was more than a little interested in getting the chance to speak with him.

A Flame in the Dark: Let's start with the Christian Paranormal Group. What exactly IS the group, and what got you involved in the paranormal?

Patrick Meechan: I started Christian Paranormal Group to share Biblical truths about what I believe is really behind the paranormal activity that seems to be escalating these days.  There is a growing interest in the paranormal and most of what is believed about it, in the secular world, is of the occult.  I believe that the Bible clearly communicates that there is an invisible war in the spirit realm, between the forces of darkness and the forces of Light.  God versus evil.  I believe that hauntings and paranormal activity are demonic in origin and I believe that Christians are supposed to be actively fighting against the forces of darkness.  Sadly, the church is almost completely silent on this matter.  I became involved in the paranormal because I found myself living in two, consecutive yet unrelated, haunted houses.  The church didn't want involved so I was forced to study the scriptures and learn how to fight back in Jesus' name.  I believe God allowed me to experience those environments so I would learn and share the truth with others.

AFitD: 220 Fifth Street seems to be a haunted house book with a spiritual message. Can you tell us about the book in a nutshell?

PM: 220 Fifth Street tells the true story of my experiences in and investigation of the second of these haunted houses.  The book not only tells the story of the house and haunting but also shares a lot of scripture explaining spiritual warfare.  The book even walks you through, step by step, how to cleanse a property or house of demonic spirits.  Although 220 Fifth Street is a little creepy, it overall shares a very positive message and shares the Gospel very openly and clearly.

AFitD: You've also got a prequel coming out this year. What's the prequel about?

PM: The prequel will be titled, Nightmare in Holmes County, and it will document my almost eight year long battle with the forces of darkness in the first of two haunted houses.   This book will be controversial!  I will expose many secrets which are hidden in the area where this haunting occurred.  I will also provide photographic evidence for the haunting as well as the satanism and witchcraft which is prevalent in this part of the country.  Again, Nightmare in Holmes County will share a Biblical view of Spiritual Warfare and the Gospel.  I don't believe those two elements can be separated.

AFitD: In support of these books, you started Crown of Thorns Publishing. Do you have a specific vision for the group?

PM: I started Crown of Thorns Publishing to publish books about Spiritual Warfare and my experiences specifically.  Sadly, the church, for the most part, has turned a blind eye to what the Great Commission really says and deliverance ministry is shunned or even scoffed at.  When people find themselves trapped in a haunted, demonic environment they have nowhere to turn for true help.  My goal is that my books will not only lead people to Christ but also become free from demonic oppression and possession so they can be all God meant for them to be.

AFitD: Does Crown of Thorns have any other books coming out?

PM: There will be more books in the future as well.  Laodicea will also be released later this year or early 2013, God willing.  This book will address the ramifications in the spirit realm of the last days church becoming lukewarm.  Will it be controversial?  You bet.  Jesus was controversial and so were the apostles.  The truth is always controversial.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

new and notable 02/23/2012 - free fiction

Joana James' Nightmare at Emerald High (self-published, December 2011), normally $3.99 for the Kindle version, is at Amazon right now for free download for an unspecified time.

Description from the sales page:
Malcolm Drake is one year away from the end of high school when a tantalizing scholarship offer comes his way.Malcolm and several other classmates eagerly join a program called Alternative Science that promises to open their minds to new ways of thinking and of course, help them win that scholarship. Little do they know that this program would change their lives forever. The class is riddled with eerie séances, encounters with spirit guides and a slow desensitization of the teens towards everything evil until they become completely entangled in the world of the occult.

With the program being run by the town's most influential people, will the teens escape with their innocence? 
As always, if you've got a book or film coming out that you'd like AFitD to talk about, let us know by emailing (just make sure it fits our format).

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Strange Man: Interview with Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell is a busy guy. His new book, Enemies of the Cross (Realms), was released February 7.  He's also got a new book coming from another indie publisher, DarkWater, and has had his hand in an anthology or two as well. We spoke with Greg about all the irons he has in the fire, as well as the continuation of his "Coming Evil" trilogy (Part 1, The Strange Man, was reviewed here).

A Flame in the Dark: You've got a brand new book out: Enemies of the Cross, carrying on a trilogy you started with The Strange Man. Can you tell us, in a nutshell, what The Coming Evil Trilogy is about?

Greg Mitchell: The Trilogy was really born out of this place of me wanting to explore my own journey of faith, but in a genre I could identify with. I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll say it a million times again: I love monsters. I love the fantasy of monster movies and scary stories. I was never much for Se7en or Silence of the Lambs, because that’s too close to reality for my tastes. I grew up in the ‘80s when horror movies didn’t take themselves so seriously. They weren’t trying to be realistic, they were just goofy.
I like that escapism. But growing up, the sort of “Christian culture”, if I can call it that, was always against those kinds of stories. Preachers spoke out against them from the pulpit and well-meaning people said I shouldn’t fill my head with “such garbage” and should, instead, enjoy a delightful book from the shelves of my local Christian bookstore. However, perusing the shelves showed me very quickly that there wasn’t anything that appealed to my love of creepy crawly things. Not really.

There were “Christian alternatives”, but I didn’t want an alternative. I wanted an authentic monster movie experience written by a real lover of the genre, but one that also spoke to my Christian faith in an authentic way. I didn’t want a “nice” book, I wanted something cool. The Coming Evil Trilogy was my answer to that. Something that didn’t water down the monster aspects, but also something that frankly dealt with the Christian faith as I’ve experienced it.

So that’s what the Trilogy is “about”, but what it’s about is fairly simple: An insulated community that has a heritage of faith that they’ve let fall to the wayside is now under attack by a horde of demonic creatures led by the enigmatic “Strange Man”, and only a handful of believers—with many personal demons to combat along the way—can stand against him.

And that’s my attempt to answer that in a nutshell.

AFitD: How does the new release, Enemies of the Cross, continue the story you set up in Book One?

GM: The Strange Man ended on a total cliffhanger, which earned me a number of complaints! But, lucky for them, Enemies of the Cross picks up about fifteen minutes after the final shocking moments of the first book, so everyone can rest easy. When writing the other two installments of the Trilogy, the big thing in my mind
was “escalation”. Book Two is going to take you deeper into the mythology of what’s really going on in Greensboro, while also dealing with the fallout from Book One. Ultimately, this is a story about normal people in paranormal circumstances. The events in Book One really shook this family of characters and everyone is dealing with it in different, and not necessarily healthy, ways. In general, Enemies of the Cross is a more mature, personal, introspective look at the lives of these people. But, aside from the drama and the mythology being ratcheted up, we’ve got new monsters and even more action. It’s the difference between night and day. It’s a much fuller experience—and Book Three will only continue to escalate to epic proportions.

AFitD: On top of this new book, you've got another new release coming out soon as well, Rift Jump. Can you tell us a little about that?

GM: Rift Jump is a wild ride through the multiverse with a couple of teenage runaways in love as our guide. It’s got monsters, superheroes, aliens, parallel realities, and an underpinning of the battle between Heaven and Hell. Michael Morrison is a brooding Superman in a leather jacket. He’s invincible and has spent the last five years traveling to different dimensions in the service of the Light. However, the Dark has its many eyes set on Michael, as well, constantly tempting him to give in to his power and use it for evil purposes. Michael  hen meets shy girl Sara, who has never been able to stand up for herself. Michael becomes her hero, but their relationship evolves as he takes Sara with him “on the road”. Together they learn about themselves, each other, as well as fight monsters, and fall in love. It’s sort of like that Drew Barrymore movie Mad Love by way of Doctor Who.

The book is written in the braided novel approach, as it’s a series of shorter episodes that all fit together into a single narrative. It was the first story that I really wrote “seriously”, way back in high school in the mid-90s. It actually came to me in a dream and I wrote the first part for a Creative Writing assignment. Over the years I wrote many Rift Jump serials, but just as a means of blowing off some creative steam in between my paying gigs. I actually never really considered publishing any of it until a little over a year ago, then I realized that this monster that I had created had grown so huge, it was almost a disservice to all those years of writing to not try and get it out to the world. I went through the stories and rewrote them extensively and brought them up to where I’m at as a writer today. It’s pretty wild to me that it’s almost out after all these years of doodling on it.

AFitD: For Rift Jump, you're leaving the comfort of Realms for the independent Darkwater (an imprint of Splashdown)... why did you decide on them for this book?

GM: It was a fairly easy decision. I love working with Realms and have every intention of continuing to do so in the future, but with Rift Jump—specifically—I told them up front I thought it best to take that book somewhere else. The reason for that was practical. The Coming Evil Trilogy is weird enough with all my ghoulish creatures roaming about, but at the very least it’s got this “spiritual warfare” take on it, and that keeps it palatable for a Christian market—to which Realms exclusively caters. But Rift Jump does not play by any rules of genre. Sometimes it’s sci-fi with aliens, sometimes it’s supernatural with demons, sometimes it’s a comic book superhero thing, sometimes it’s unbridled teenage passions (but not a YA book). It’s just  so odd and I knew that it would never find an audience sitting on a shelf in LifeWay. And, with a company like Realms, they don’t use Print-on-Demand technology. They’re still the type of publisher that has a warehouse somewhere with all my books lying around, which I love. But my fear was as much for Realms as for me, that they would, in fact, waste money printing up thousands of copies of Rift Jump and never be able
to move them in the “traditional” Christian gift store setting. It was pretty plain to me that Rift Jump better belonged with a small press, utilizing Print-on-Demand tech, and moving about on the underground circuit, cutting it loose on the web to find a much, much more niche audience that could dig the strange stuff I was cooking up. I’ve known Grace Bridges at Splashdown/Darkwater for a few years now and knew she totally “got” the kind of book I wanted to write. It was a no-brainer to take it to her first as she was already serving the type of audience I knew would be interested in something like Rift Jump. And she accepted! So here we are.

AFitD:  On top of all this, you've been involved in an anthology edited by Frank Creed, Underground Rising. What ELSE is on the horizon?

GM: Yeah, Underground Rising! I’m glad you brought that up. I think that’s a really excellent project (and not just because I’m in it), that I wish got more publicity. I hope everyone goes to check it out. It’s Biblical Cyberpunk written by some of today’s most prominent underground Christian speculative fiction writers. As for other things I’ve got coming up, there’s a bunch. I turned in the draft to The Coming Evil, Book Three to my editor, so that’s wrapped. It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster ride, that book. I’ve also got my first movie coming out! It’s called Amazing Love: The Story of Hosea, and it’s a total departure from things like The Coming Evil and Rift Jump. It’s one of those “heartwarming family films”, about a youth group that goes camping and learns the Biblical story of Hosea—which has long been one of my favorite Old Testament accounts, and one that I’ve wanted to get out to the world for a long time now. It stars Sean Astin who played Sam in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and was directed by Kevin Downes, who most recently starred in Courageous. That’s coming out on DVD sometime this year—probably closer to fall. I’ve got a Bigfoot short story called “Exiled” coming out in one of Coscom Entertainment’s Bigfoot anthologies sometime this year. That one was a lot of fun to write. I can’t wait for people to read it. Plus I’ve got some other projects that I’m working on that I can’t announce yet, so stay tuned!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review of The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black is a brand-new Hammer film, and an homage both to Hammer classics, and to creepy Edwardian ghost stories penned by the likes of M. R. James, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Oliver Onions, with perhaps a dash of Henry James' Turn of the Screw in there. The film The Others (2001), whose setting was also a fog-shrouded country manor house, certainly evoked the tradition of English ghost stories as well. That tale contained not only the concept of an afterlife at odds with traditional Christianity, but some blatantly anti-religious, and (perhaps intentionally anti-Christian) dialogue as well.

This new film, starring Danielle Radcliffe as a young lawyer, presents an afterlife view that can be read a similar way, but, as I will show, is ultimately far more ambiguous. Arthur Kipp (Radcliffe) is still grieving the recent death of his young wife. He lives with his four-uear-old-son and their nanny. As a last ditch proposition, he is offered the job to settle an abandoned estate called Eel House, which is situated across a vast, fog-shrouded marsh, and can be reached only by a single causeway. Once in the mansion's vicinity, Kipp discovers that the locals, who seem hostile and suspicious, regard the brooding house with more than a bit of superstition. It seems the ghost of a dead woman, who suffered the loss of child, is rumored to haunt the place, and she takes her revenge by leading other parents' children to their doom.

This last is perhaps the film's most disturbing element; the opening of the movie involves three young girls at a pretend tea-party who simultaneously look toward something off-screen (presumably the titular ghost), then approach the three windows and leap out of them to their deaths. This shocking incident is followed by the mother's agonized scream. More children's deaths follow throughout the movie, including another little girl who swallows lye, and dies coughing blood in Kipp's arms. These deaths appear to be suicides; but the implication is that the Woman in Black has the power to possess the living. The film is pretty unambiguous as to the both ghost's existence and its ability to wield this horrifying power.

What IS ambiguous is the film's take on spirituality. There is no definite Christian worldview here. A character tells Kipp that spirits do not linger around after death; they go "up." But he is also clearly mistaken: Kipps is repeatedly terrorized by eerie manifestations of the Woman in Black and her child-victims while during the harrowing nights spent at Eel house. It is in these sequences that the film is most effectively chilling. As with The Others, the gothic atmosphere of the manor house is very intense. It often relies on shock incidents (a raven bursting forth from a cupboard, the ghostly vistage of the Woman appearing suddenly in the in the fogged glass of the window just above Kipp's shoulder), or fleetingly glimpsed shadowy figures at the margins of the camera. Other creepy indredients include the plethora of glassy-eyed China dolls and toy monkeys that populate the rooms of Eel House.

While the nature of the afterlife appears to be unorthodox, there are different interpretations open to the ghostly goings-on in this movie. The film does not establish whether the Woman in Black may, in fact, be NOT a member of the restless dead, but a form of demonic spirit, perhaps a manifestation of human hatred. But assuming that she IS the ghost of a deceased person, she might well be a soul trapped in her own personal hell; it is evident that the Woman is unwilling or unable to forgive the loss of her own child (the disturbing phrase "I will never forgive" is heard at one point), and is indeed taking her "revenge" by essentially scapegoating the innocent. This last possibility gives some insight into the insidious nature of evil. C. S. Lewis, for one, beleived that the damned were "in a sense, successful rebels in the end; for the doors to hell are locked on the inside." Contemporary Christian apologist Timothy Kellor concurs, arguing that no one ever asks to be let out of hell; the damned are, in the end, self-made prisoners of their own misery and vice.

But though the picture of the afterlife presented through most of the movie appears grim and bleak, the ending (which I won't spoil here) comes across as ultimately hopeful, suggesting that the spirits of the innocent and virtuous will be reunited with their loved ones, and that the Woman in Black cannot prevent this, even though she has the power to end the lives of those she possesses. The movie goes no further than this, however; there is no definite suggestion of a Christian heaven or an orthodox hell. Where do we go when we die? Near the end of The Deathly Hallows, the answer Dumbledore provides Harry is "On." That's also as near to an answer as we get in this movie.

The Woman in Black is both an atmospheric ghostly tale in the Edwardian tradition with some genuine scares and many truly disturbing moments. It also leaves the viewer with more questions than answers regarding the spirit world.

Welcome to the AFitD Cellar

Now that we've moved AFitD's main operation over to Blogger, a series of questions have been at the forefront of my mind. Questions like, what do we do with all those previous posts? What about the people who enjoyed the community aspect of the original site?

I'm pleased to introduce, in answer to these issues and more, The Cellar. Built from the ashes of the last AFitD site, The Cellar is the AFitD community. While your news, views, and reviews will be housed here, at our new location, The AFitD Cellar will house our forums and chatrooms, as well as the AFitD archives. As always, your personal blogging is more than welcome at The Cellar, as well as whatever you want to post in our community forums (so long as you stick to the guidelines).  So go, check it out, and then come back here when you're ready for more Christian suspense and horror news and reviews!

Ellen Maze's "Judging" and other free reads

Ellen C. Maze, author of Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider (reviewed here), announced her book The Judging (TreasureLine) will be available FREE for the Kindle through Wednesday (get it at Amazon). 

Hungary, 1640. A village priest, enamored with his God and loyal to his sheep, awakens to find the village on fire. Searching for survivors, he is confronted by a dark creature with sharp teeth and red eyes. With the stab of the demon’s fangs, the priest is transformed from a servant of good to an unwilling agent of evil.
Present day. 
Four centuries pass, and Dr. Mark Corescu, that same village priest no longer recalls his origins. Corescu uses his position in the medical community to maintain a mortal façade as he pursues his true calling. Corescu seeks out evil men and women in a ritual he has dubbed the Judging. He condemns and kills them, one a night, feeding his lust on their blood. He feels neither guilt nor remorse. He believes he is serving a Higher Purpose.
-(from the product description)

Mike Dellosso -- whose new book, Frantic, is available now -- is offering an earlier novel, Scream (Realms, 2009), free through the major outlets. Get it for your Kindle or Nook until Valentine's Day.

James Sommers is releasing the omnibus edition of his Inferno, an end-times thriller, free on Kindle for a limited time.

You can also download Joshua Graham's The Accidental Exorcist free on Kindle.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New and Notable 02.07.12

The follow-up to Greg Mitchell's The Coming Evil drops today. Mitchell posted the information on his official blog, along with his unofficial soundtrack for the book, Enemies of the Cross (Realms).

Also released today is Mike Dellosso's Frantic (Realms). To celebrate the release, he's been giving away copies, and has a few remaining. Find information at his website.

Zero Hour (ResAliens Press), a collection of short suspense by Stoney M. Setzer is currently on sale at Amazon. Kindle price is normally 3.99, but right now the book is selling for 99 cents.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Release Updates 02/04/2012

Teric Darken is releasing an expanded version of KILL FM 100 (The Night Shift Edition). The book, to be released by TreasureLine, is available for pre-order for $12.99 through the 18th by contacting Darken directly through facebook.

Jason Cross has released the sequel to His Calling. His Calling 2: Inner Demons (Four Sides of Cross) dropped Wednesday, and is available in eBook form at Smashwords for $5.99.

Part 1 of Rolli Daniels' The Harvest: Return of the Tribes (reviewed today, here) dropped in January, available at Amazon.

If you are an author or publisher with a supernatural thriller, Christian horror or suspense novel coming out, contact Randy at

Rolli Daniels Brings in the Harvest

In my wanderings around Amazon, I like to pick up the free and inexpensive Kindle Books and see what new and unknown authors are doing. It was in this pursuit that I stumbled, quite suddenly and randomly, across The Harvest: Return of the Tribes (self-published, January 2012), by new author Rolli Daniels.

Interestingly, Daniels has chosen to release the story as a serial, available a few chapters at a time through Amazon. So far, it appears only the first part of this story has been released, but I'm very interested in seeing where she takes it from here.

As the story opens, Mahla is on a hill watching and waiting. We don't know what it is she's waiting for; only that she, and those waiting with her, are very tense and more than a little nervous. As the lookouts spot an encampment and Mahla steps up to accept her fate, the prologue ends, and the story begins with a flashback to three months previous. As the first chapter -- and with it, the story proper -- begins, we find Mahla again in turmoil, learning that her terminal brain cancer has given her mere weeks to live. A wife and mother, Mahla's biggest fear is leaving her family behind.

As Mahla is driving home, she meets an old man seemingly lost and she helps him find his way home.  The next morning, she leaves the house to get coffee for her and her husband, and donuts for her son, when she sees a shadowy figure dart across the road. We learn that she has seen similar figures on and off for a little while now, but that she assumes they are merely a symptom of her brain cancer. It is safe to assume they are not. At the coffee shop, she runs into the man from the night before, far more cogent than before, and with a troubling ability to look right into her.

Well-written, and a quick read, Daniels' first outing certainly leaves me wanting more. She does fall into the traps fallen into by many self-published authors, such as the occasional (though very rare) bit of problematic syntax, and the occasional typo or misspelling. It's nothing major, and doesn't really distract from what is otherwise a very good and engaging story -- but she would do well to consider bringing on an editor for forthcoming installments.

Overall, whether free or at the list price of .99, it's a great start to a story I'm looking forward continuing.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: Teric Darken's "Wickflicker"

If the best way to see a light is in a dark room, Teric Darken's Wickflicker (TreasureLine, December 2011) is all but designed to make that light blinding. The latest book, from the writer of K-I-L-L FM 100, is a look at moral relativism in its purest form: a hedonism so self-focused  as to be little more than sheer, sociopathic evil.

Gat O'Malley and Caleb Jackson are childhood friends on the cusp of adulthood. The college freshmen are the life of a party when they stumble upon the Devil's Den. Ole Scratch offers the classic bribe: the entire world at their fingertips, in exchange for their souls. For one, the promise is too good to resist, and his journey of money, sex, and power begins as his wonderment turns quickly into carnal hunger. Caleb, however, the son of a faith-filled night DJ (a character familiar to readers of Darken's previous works), is unsettled by the offer and turns it down.

He instead searches for a way out of the black maze in which he has found himself and runs across dangers of another kind.

Darken is an author unafraid to expose the seedy underbelly of humanity -- going to often extreme lengths -- in order to showcase the Light of Christ. Wickflicker is a complex book, even in the starkness of its contrasts between good and evil, with many twists in plot and storyline to keep the reader on his toes. It isn't a book for everyone: the language and situations are befitting a book written for adults, and you won't find this in the YA section of your local Christian bookstore -- all of which is fine, as Darken didn't write the book for children.

Though at times, Darken can make the differences between good and evil almost too stark -- there is little room for ambiguity, after all, when dealing with the Devil --  Wickflicker is an entertaining parable with enough tension to satisfy any lover of good paranormal thrillers.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review of The Rite

The Rite is a horror movie with a solid Christian foundation and worldview. It is supposedly inspired by true events. The film concerns Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue), a young seminary student in his twenties who is going through a crisis of faith. I’ve read a review of the film which refers to Kovak as an atheist, but that’s not technically correct. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be in the situation he is in this film. As a prescribed remedy to his doubts, Kovak is encouraged to travel to the Vatican to become an exorcist, an offer he accepts. Once there, he is enrolled in what is essentially a college course for novice exorcists. He finds a semi-love interest there, a female student who is also experiencing a faith crisis.

But Kovak remains unconvinced that the cases in the study are authentic. Enter father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins),a veteran of the craft with over a thousand exorcisms to his credit. Lucas takes Kovak under his wing as his new apprentice. While under the priest’s tutelage, Kovak witnesses Lucas perform some convincing rites, including one on an impregnated teenage girl. The young student remains skeptical, however, telling Lucas that the girl needs a shrink instead. Unsettling events follow, however, as Kovak is forced to confront his own lack of faith.

I’m not sure exactly where the director was going with some of this often confusing imagery( such as a frog that miraculously survives a fire, strange insects that sprout up on the walls of a hospital, and more frogs in a swampy pool outside Father Lucas’s residence), or how these things relate to possession. Most unsettling is the time when Kovak receives a late night call from his father, only to receive another call a few moments later, revealing his father has passed away! Has Kovak literally received a call from a ghost? Or has a demonic spirit assumed the voice and character of his father? I’d bank on the latter, given the movie’s theme. Then there is the appearance of a jet-black, demonic mule with pulsing scarlet eyes when Kovak strolls out the door of his apartment in the snowy night.

Slowly, our young student’s world of comforting rationality is peeled away. It culminates in the death of the girl Lucas was fighting to save, including the loss of her child. Shortly afterward, Hopkins’ character begins his own descent into what is either madness or possession. He behaves erratically, even striking a child at one point. Kovak is confronted with the fact that his mentor is truly possessed, and at last lets go of his denial. Though he has been resisting the disturbing reality of the demonic world throughout the movie, once Kovak actively embraces his almost-discarded faith, it comes surging back, and he is able to accomplish what his mentor has lost the power to.

This movie demonstrates very powerfully the necessity of faith in Christ to overcome the powers of darkness. The one major controversy for Christians is the fact that Hopkins’ character, who is not merely a sincere Christian and a priest, for that matter, but a wise veteran exorcist, himself falls victim to demonic control. Kovak, the doubter, would seem to be a far more likely candidate for possession, although that would have more or less spoiled the plot. The reason, I believe, which has been suggested on the Christiananswers page for this movie, is that it was Lucas’ failure to prevent the young girl’s death that plunged him into a crisis of doubt as to the power of God. Remember that Satan works in very insidious ways, and Lucas would very likely have already been experiencing doubts before this. I did run across a page written in answer to an error about Catholic theology:

It suggests, among other things, that the notion that priests are immune to demonic possession may be related to the doctrine of OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved), a false doctrine most often promoted by Calvinism. All in all, however, this is a very faith-affirming film. It uses imagery of darkness to strengthen audience faith in the power of Christ. This should be the case for all good Christian horror films.