The Slasher Witch Hunt part 3: Religious Con Men

tshSlasher movies are the work of the Devil and any child who watches one will turn evil and be damned to hell. Such was the battle cry for traveling hucksters posing as preachers during the 1980s. These gypsies made a dishonest living traveling from town to town warning about the diabolical forces lurking in heavy metal music, Saturday morning cartoons, toy boxes, and slasher movies. Often times churches would invite these con artists in as guest speakers during revivals to help improve attendance and plate offerings. Anyone attending the seminars would hear the “TRUTH” about the evil forces tempting young people into a life of sin and debauchery. Attendees were encouraged to steal their children’s belongings, bring them to the special prayer service, and then throw the offensive items on a bonfire after the lecture.

Of course, the lectures had more to do with urban legends or outright lies than any real truth. The murders in {insert slasher title here} were real because the director was a devil worshipper who sacrificed the cast to his dark lord. Some horror films were cursed, The Exorcist and Poltergeist are usually the ones mentioned, and every member of the cast and crew died in accidents just a few years after the film was released. If you watch said horror film then you too would be cursed. Halloween is a loving tribute to a pagan god and promotes the sacrifices of young children on Halloween night. When it came to making up bullshit about movies, these guys were very creative.

These con men played on the fears of parents too stupid to realize teenagers often go through a period of rebellion. The con man was always quick to point out it was never the parent’s fault if the child became a delinquent. With the con man’s help, a parent could save their child’s soul. All the parent had to do was buy a book or video (written by or starring the con man) at the seminar and follow the helpful steps. In the back of these books parents would usually find form letters and the addresses of media companies and government agencies so they could register complaints against the evil products controlling their children.

When the popularity of slasher films began to wane in the mid-80s, the con men shifted their “TRUTH” spotlight to other cultural evils. Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers took a back seat to the dangers of watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, playing with “Pokey-man” cards, and reading Harry Potter novels. By changing the con’s focus to whatever happens to be popular at the time, these crooks ensure perpetual employment. It won’t be long before the Twilight series comes under fire for turning confused young minds into blood drinking ghouls.

Now for a bit of a disclaimer. This article is not an attack on any religion or people who have religious beliefs. This article is intended as a look back at a select group of con artist who used a crusade against the slasher genre as a way to make a quick buck.

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4 Responses to “ The Slasher Witch Hunt part 3: Religious Con Men ”

  1. You can take the view that within the realm of the slasher “sinfull” beahviour does not go unpunished. Kids who have sex,smoke pot,listen to heavy metal,disobey their elders all get killed. Only the good girl makes it through alive. Surely the church could use slasher movies to warn kids against such beahviour? I remember reading somewhere that Freddy,Jason et all are puritanical killers out to punish the sinfull and that not sinfull deed goes unpunished.

  2. I am a proud Christian and still love my slasher movies. It’s a fun form of entertainment. The “Con Men” often use religion as a method to achieve results as people are so close to it and don’t really know the truth that is written in the bible. Now I am not going to preach to anyone on here but I for one found nothing offensive or wrong with the above article. Thomas, it was an interesting read and brings back memories. Long the live the glorious slasher film!

  3. I hardly ever post on message boards. Usually I’m content to view this wonderful site anonymously, but I wanted to thank Thomas Ellison and the whole Retro-Slashers crew for this article. As a devout Christian, I’m of the opinion that the horror genre is one of the rare film types that is not afraid to tangle explicitly with themes of good and evil. I find a whole lot more beneficial in this genre than I do in films like “You’ve Got Mail”. Ugh.

    When “The Slasher Witch Hunt” series began, I felt I knew what was on the horizon. Sooner or later I expected there would be an article about the religious reaction some of these films generated back in the day, a la “Turmoil in the Toy Box”. After the merciless (but no less amusing) previous article on the ultra-feminist outcry, I felt it was only a matter of time before Christians had their turn under the wooden paddle. In similar articles written in the past in other magazines and web sites, authors have been content to take the path of least resistance and skewer Christians as a whole, rather than to dig to the truth and expose the small group of loud protesters Mr. Ellison calls “The Religious Con Men”. These were probably the same folks who claimed He-Man was corrupting America’s youth with its violence.

    This is the first article of its kind that I have read that has gone out of its way to identify that small group, without giving the backhand to all Christians. While Mr. Ellison may or may not personally care for Christians or Christianity, his tone of respect and restraint demonstrates a level of professionalism that shows him to be a higher caliber of writer than I see in other well-known publications. Addressing Mr. Ellison directly: You rock.

    …And also, I can not think of a more in-your-face Biblical depiction of evil than is featured in the Exorcist. What do people want, anyway? Nice demons that mind their manners?

  4. I really hated it when Religion gets mixed in my favorite horror subgenre. Look, if you take these movies seriously, then you’re a nut! There’s nothing wrong about indulging a little guilty pleasure of mutilated bodies and creatively masked killers. I’m a Christian Catholic yet I worship Jason, Irving Wallace, Cropsy and Chrome Skull for their deeds!

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