So I’m beating the dead horse, but the damn thing is a zombie. It won’t stay dead. The last couple of days I’ve been examining the moral message of Christianity, both from a literal and metaphorical perspective. But it seems like I left out something very important. Apparently the concept of a moral allegory is lost on some people.
Horror movies are often overlooked as so much hack and slash drivel. But almost without exception, they’re moral allegories. Who’s the first person to die in the average slasher film? The hot girl making out with the jock, right? She’s vain and sexually impure, so she has to die. Later on, someone abandons the group and goes on their own. They die. Watch any old horror film, and think of the characters as archetypes, and you’ll gain a brand new perspective.
Let’s talk about My Bloody Valentine. Here’s the plot synopsis from IMDB
On Valentine’s Day 20 years before, an explosion of methane gas took the lives of a group of coal miners working in the Hanniger Mine near the small Nova Socia town of Valentine Bluffs. The accident occurred because supervisors left their posts to attend the annual Valentine’s Day dance. A year afterward, Harry Warden – the only survivor of the accident – retaliated by killing the two supervisors, and leaving a terrifying warning never to hold another Valentine’s Day dance. Now, a group of young adults decides to hold another dance, despite warnings. When a blood-soaked heart arrives at the police station, accompanied by an ominous message, the dance is canceled. But a Valentine party is held in its place… at the coal mine, and it isn’t long before the town’s young people begin dying violently. It appears Harry Warden has returned to punish those who did not heed his warning…
The whole point of a moral allegory is that it transmits a moral message in the form of an entertaining story. As with most theater, exaggeration is the name of the game. The writer’s moral judgments are very clear because the punishments for them are so severe, or the depth of depravity is so startling, or something like that. The relevant point is that the plot represents moral choices and their consequences.
So what does My Bloody Valentine represent? The whole thing got started when two people many years ago sinned. They were responsible for the safety of miners, and instead of doing their job, they chose to go to a party. In doing so, they committed several sins — lust, gluttony, murder.
So, what does the god-figure do? Harry Warden kills the supervisors (which is all fine… they sinned) and decrees that in perpetuity, everyone else shall be responsible for the sins of the supervisors. (Is this plot line ringing any bells?)
Years later, a group of young folks decides to have a Valentine Party. Why shouldn’t they? They have no responsibilities. They are breaking no laws. They are young and just want to have fun. So they throw a party. And Harry Warden starts hacking and slashing them to bits.
So… who are the victims in this story? The kids, right? They had nothing to do with the accident. There’s nothing inherently wrong with going to a dance. Sure, they ignored dire warnings of unseen forces who arbitrarily kill people for not believing a decades old warning, but really? That’s absurd, right?
So the kids did the rational thing and had a party. And they were punished for it. They paid with their lives. They were the victims.
Who is the antagonist? It’s Harry Warden, of course. Yeah, it sucked that he was in an accident, but he’s the boogey man now. He took out his rage on the people responsible, but it wasn’t enough. His rage and bloodlust are unbridled now, and he needs to be dispatched to hell, where he belongs. Killing innocent teens is just not acceptable retribution for a crime committed so long ago. The townsfolk need to be out from under his curse.
So… Which part of this relating to Christianity isn’t completely clear?