Rebellion Week comes to an end

This is the end of Rebellion Week on The Spiders Lair, Where Chaos Resides.

What prompted rebellion week in the first place? Well for starters it was an event I covered for work, an Elvis Presley birthday bash at a local Harley-Davidson dealer. It was such a strange event it got me thinking about the spirit of rock n roll, teenage rebellion.

When I was a teenager my teenage rebellion was mostly me listening to music my parents hated and playing lots of Mortal Kombat video games. There were, of course, things I did in secret I hope my parents don’t find out about but that’s often the way it goes.

The non-conformist spirit remains largely at the core of everything I do. I have always believed in being true to yourself. Sometimes, to my detriment, I take it too far and become a contrarian for the sake of being different, but the point stands I don’t want to be a sheep. Well, except in the religious context because Christians are supposed to be sheep but that’s a different allegory altogether.

When asked I often tell people my favorite movie of all time is Star Wars. It depends on who I am addressing if I tell them this answer or the real one which is in fact A Nightmare On Elm Street. Since there are caveats and explaining the appeal of Freddy Krueger without sounding, weird, is difficult. Yet Star Wars went from being a thing only loners and nerds like myself was into before it passed into the mainstream. It’s gone far beyond cult status and become the de facto pop culture example. Still, the Rebel Alliance always resonated with me even as a kid. I thought it would be great to live on the fringe of society and fight for a cause of freedom. Then around the fifth grade I began learning about the American Revolution, or the rebellion of the colonies, depending on who you ask.

The idea that we, Americans, were in a similar position to the Rebel Alliance made me not only appreciate Star Wars even more, but helped foster a deep patriotism that remains largely alive to this day. As time has passed, however, I began to identify more with the Empire in the films as my appreciation for Rule of Law settled in. I digress, nobody wants to read about that. You want to know more about the art of being a rebel right?

In many ways I was far from a rebel. I read books, did my homework to the best of my ability and attended church services regularly. For the most part I was a firm believer in following the rules, so long as the didn’t interfere with me living my life the way I wanted. I am, however, firmly able to assure you I spent a great deal of time being disciplined. I lived in after-school detention and ISS (In School Suspension) and was often fighting back against the bullies, the teachers and the authority figures who were interfering with my overwhelming desire to be left alone. In those respects, you could say I was somewhat of a rebel.

Movies.

For me rebellion is like an art form. You have to find the right way to express yourself. Most of us find some way to rebel in our movies. This is how we spend a great deal of our time, either alone or socializing. I often enjoy movies as a solo experience so for me it’s easy.

The movies I tend to favor that most others don’t would be a rather large list. I think I even did a video on it at one point in time. There are a few films, however, that really capture the heart of what it means to be a rebel.

The first is The Virgin Suicides. Telling God and society you alone are placing your life in the destiny you choose is the ultimate teenage rebellion. A film centered on a host of teenage girls struggling with the desire to take their own lives somehow resonated with me in a weird way.

Rebel Without A Cause

Of course this is the post child of rebellion. Not making a list here just picking a few movies to put into your brain to consider. I shouldn’t have to mention this one as it’s been discussed to death.

Lethal Weapon

Or really any cop movie. There is always the good cop/bad cop thing going on but you do have to give credit to the actual antagonists who go out of their way to disrupt the system with their criminal activity. Lethal Weapon is one I enjoy exploring because it, too, deals with suicide but also takes on a whole life of it’s own. It shows how good, soldiers fighting the good fight can turn to criminal activity while thinking, to some extent, what they are doing is good for society.

Batman

Not the movie, the character. A vigilante is the embodiment of a rebel. He makes his own rules and throws caution to the wind. Batman has always been one of my favorite characters in popular culture, including cinema and comics, because he is the most famous rebel I know.

As far as music goes, rebelling against the social norms is all too common a theme among teenagers. For me it was actually disassociating myself with the rebel music of the time, the 90’s Grunge and Punk Rock and instead embracing the pop music and overly commercialized hip-hop they were often rebelling against. I rebelled, against rebelling in a sense. Ben Kenobi once said it’s all dependent on your point of view.

But I did have a few rebel bands I enjoyed listening too. Garbage and Marilyn Manson were among the two most popular. I also really enjoyed The Beastie Boys, Cake, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Those were the artists I put the most time into enjoying and in some cases mimicking.

For me rebelling is something we all do in our own way. Fighting the power means something different to everyone. To some it’s resisting the temptation to give into the desires of the world and rebelling against sin. For others its rebelling against the Laws of God and embracing the desires of the world. For me it’s all about living my life my way. Being true to myself while finding my own way to conform to those ideals I deem worthy of my commitment and respect.

S2E2 Sears KMart memories, Gamestop woes, PS4 sales, Kirby games for Switch and more!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-8ebpj-a4817e

With GameStop looking at troubles I consider my best and worst GameStop memory. On the same line of thinking I reflect on Hastings, RadioShack, K-Mart and Sears.

 

I talked about the new Kirby game coming to Nintendo Switch.

I talked about other stuff, you’ll have to listen to get all the goodness. Stay Cool.

Gremlins- Re-imagined?

This time, it’s personal. A oft uttered phrase in trailers selling a movie sequel. I can’t remember how many 80’s movies used that tagline somewhere in their sequel marketing. The words ring in your ear when the deep voiced announcer utters it, usually imposed over the top of a frame of the film signalling the anger and frustration the protagonist is going to experience in the film.

The Gremlins franchise is one of those are iconic 80’s movies that almost became a full on franchise, yet somehow stopped after just two films. All the ingredients were there. They had video games, toys, the premise was perfect it could have easily spawned a Saturday morning cartoon and comic book. Instead we got more Killer Tomatoes the world could ever need and were left with just two entries in the Gremlins saga. Even Ghostbusters managed to get two Saturday morning cartoons in the form of The Real Ghostbusters and later Extreme Ghostbusters. Then, why were the Gremlins unable to follow suit? Much like Ghostbusters the movies blended horror and comedy perfectly in such a way they appealed to horror fans but were accessible to children and general audiences. It worked well enough but never took off. Then you have hard R rated gore fests like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street or even Hellraiser continue on for decades after.

I contend the downfall of the Gremlins was two fold. The first attack on the franchise came in the aforementioned R rated horror genres. Critters satisfied the needs of sci-fi and horror fans looking to get their fix of cute monsters running amok. This didn’t leave much room in the hearts of cinema goers as the countless knock offs abounded, most did take the premise to deep into the R rated territory Gremlins was careful to avoid.

A darker, scarier Gremlins might have had a chance of sticking around in the world as Horror fans are notoriously more loyal than the fickle minded children who’s attention spans drag them unwittingly into the very next fad. This takes me to the second reason Gremlins failed to catch on as a long term franchise. It wasn’t that it was too much of a kids movie, it just wasn’t kid-friendly enough to keep the interests of the young fans. Unlike horror films, whose audience is built in as teenagers don’t have care when a movie was made they go out of their way to consume all the media their watchful guardians protest, or better still, forbid. Gremlins never had that taboo of being forbidden, so teenagers didn’t see it as nearly ideal as Friday the 13th or Child’s Play.

The other issue is once it was on the scene you had Goonies, Monster Squad and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids filling the niche Gremlins would have. It wasn’t entirely the same as an ensemble cast of misfit kids, which is part of the problem. By the time Gremlins his the scene the misfit class was ruling the world and kids identified with it. We wanted to see more freaks like us, less boring old traditionalists like the ultra-conservative characters portrayed in the Gremlins films. Not conservative in the political sense mind you just, you know old fashioned and boring.

Monster Squad and Goonies had kids swearing. The hinted at, but shied away from, teenage sexuality. The Gremlins were too adult for kids and too kiddie for adults. As such teenagers had no use for the safe horror movie their parents watched with them at Christmas time and thus it was relegated to a holiday themed oddity more than elevated into the status of cultural icon it deserved.

It was a shame because a harder, grittier and even gory Gremlins franchise would have been enjoyable in the long run to horror fans, but a more kid friendly franchise would have fizzled out probably quicker than what we ended up with anyways.

The problem was, the horror market was overly saturated. Could it have sustained another long running gore centered franchise? If you look at the Child’s Play series you get a sense of the type of movie fans would have accepted in a gory Gremlins. Especially once you get to The Bride of Chucky, you see vestiges of the template a R rated horror Gremlins franchise would have sustained. The problem is the filmmakers took it to the wrong extreme at the wrong time. By watering the sequel down you had a more kid friendly movie parents could safely use to babysit their kids. But this watering down killed off the franchises hope for longevity. Sure, they could have bolstered it with a goofy Saturday morning cartoon, hell even Teen Wolf got this treatment, but it would have died in the 80’s like so many of those other one off cartoons based on adult movies targeted towards children.

The movie I picture is divorced from the Christmas setting. It has the same premise, a boy gets a cute, exotic pet for a birthday present or some other such occasion. Then it slowly begins to devolve into the mischief we see in the film, before the green monsters take it to the horror extreme. Death. Mayhem, decapitations and gore ensure. The movie has a similar tone and iconic imagery but it’s gorier, it’s scarier and there is a sense of immediacy, the Gremlins will go into hiding during, probably into the sewers, during the day to fester and wait for their opportunity to rise up and begin the killing spree again.

I picture a movie rebooting the franchise with a Hard R, plenty of gore and a character who doesn’t have a safe, boring job as a bank teller but is a comic artist who is struggling to pay bills working at some nothing job like the real people in that situation would have been, making him more relatable.

Here is the problem. It’s too late to reboot it as a gory, R rated franchise as too much time has passed. Nostalgia will dictate a movie that goes out of it’s way to recapture the magic of the 80’s while trying to appeal to a wider audience. In a world filled with super hero movies and special effects outings the stakes are much higher and this presents the problem of how to you make the Gremlins scary in today’s world? We have even more opportunities to shine bright light on the little creatures. Nevermind the fact the Critters franchise is, yet again, getting a new entry long after the vastly superior and far more entertaining Gremlins franchise has been put to rest.

The Root Beer Wars raging on in the world of video gamers

Everyone is familiar with the phrase the cola wars. It referred to the increased competition between Pepsi Co. and Coca-Cola Inc. in their pursuit to utilize the media to win over the largest loyal customer base to their respective drinks. But what about the Root Beer Wars? I guess it doesn’t sound as cool as Cola Wars for some reason.

Let me indulge in a trip down memory lane. The year was sometime in the very late 1980’s. Society was well dominated by the new video game culture. At the time home video games were starting to come into their own while the video arcade remained the dominant place a young gamer would go to experience the wonders of the new technology.

I was one such gamer. My dad took me into a bar he frequented to get a snack. It was a plate of curly fries and a cheeseburger. He ordered me a glass of root beer and I sat at the table, which was a cocktail table playing Ms. Pac-Man. My earliest memory of video games was born, married to the memory of drinking a root beer soda and eating junk food. As I grew up the three activities remained intertwined in a surely unhealthy habit I should probably reconsider. Nonetheless it stirred something up. You see at the time, and even to this day, I remained indifferent to the taste of root beer. As a classic, or even iconic American drink I savor the soda in all it’s splendor, true. But there is a part of me which prefers the tangier twinge of the citrus flavored sodas. In fact I distinctly remember asking my dad at the bar for my favored drink, at the time, a Squirt. It was to my dismay the bartender told us he didn’t offer the drink leaving me with the root beer to sip on.

Over the years I have explored the three primary flavors of root beer. This is not to say anything of the creme soda or even more rare birch beer, but let’s focus entirely on the three big ones. In our house hold it became almost a cultural divide, a rallying cry. My sister one preferred Barqs and it’s alleged “bite.” Yet another sister enjoyed the bubbles of the Mug root beer. I myself came to prefer the smooth, rich taste of the only true root beer that matters, the classic A&W. Yet this war raged on.

My parents were also indifferent. In the cola wars they took a firm side. Dad it was Diet Pepsi, mom it was Dr. Pepper. My preferred soda of course was Squirt until it became harder to find and I switched to the more common alternative, Mountain Dew. Still we each had our own preference. The problem was my parents weren’t about to buy 6 different containers of soda, for that was the number of individuals living in our childhood household. I had to share in the soda drinking with my three sisters. Often they would get 2 12 packs at a time. It was whatever my dad liked and the kids had to agree on one. Since we couldn’t all agree, I preferred citrus drinks, one sister Colas and another Dr. Pepper, they some how forced us to drink root beer instead. It was the way of many parents. Often times we got stuck with the generic, usually Shasta sometimes the store brand. But one occasion they would let us pick the name brand, usually birthday parties or other celebrations.

Thus we were forced with another conundrum. We couldn’t get the soda flavor of our choice so it was a root beer, the issue came down again to which one. I championed for A&W on the grounds that if we were forced to drink a root beer it might as well be a good tasting one. My sisters disagreed. The one who liked Barqs made the case the commercials said it had bite and it was therefore better. The baby sister, who let me assure you did in fact always get her way, liked Mug, so guess which soda we drank. Oh if you had to guess anything other than Mug you would be as wrong as you could be.

It was always a similar show at the restaurant. The glorious family outing was a rare sight. Usually it was once every two weeks and always on our way to the bi-monthly shopping. It never mattered which restaurant we went, each kid had to harass the waitress for the entire list of soda choices every single time. First was my older sister. She usually settled on a cola or a tea. My mom Dr. Pepper or whichever alternative they offered that was closest. My younger sister picked Pepsi if available but would go down her list of what was acceptable should Pepsi not be offered. She refused to drink Coca-Cola unless it was offered in a Cherry Coke. My baby sister it was root beer, she mysteriously wasn’t as picky when it came to restaurants as she was at home. I always pointed out she drank A&W at the restaurant why force us to drink the nasty Mug at home. Oh it was surely to spite me there is no doubt there.

I was the worse. I was completely indecisive. First up, do you have Mountain Dew. If yes, do you have the cherry mix you can add to it? If no bring me a Mountain Dew. If the answer to the first was no, we entered a Sheldon Cooper style process of elimination.

Waitress would respond, no but we have Sprite. I would scoff at her it’s not the same. What else do you have. If they had root beer I asked is it A&W, if the answer was no I skipped. I had to go down to the cola. If they were offering Coke and there was nothing else acceptable I’d get a coke. Acceptable was Squirt, Fresca or Surge. If none of those were available I asked if they had an orange soda. If that was no available and it came down to coke or root beer I asked A&W. If it was a no, I would then settle for coke. My parents always snapped just get a coke you always get a coke. I responded but I hate coke. I would like to hear the options in case they did offer something I would prefer over coke. Some places did just that which forced me to reconsider the options. Cherry soda, but not cherry Mountain Dew was out. But if they offered cherry flavor I could settle for a cherry mix added to Sprite, or in rare cases 7up.

I have strayed too far from the topic at hand. The root beer issue became easier when we went to a gas station and were allowed the opportunity to purchase our own individual bottle of soda. Aw yes those were the best of times indeed. Sadly for my parents the restaurant issue played out again. I had my favorite drink. If it was available great grabbed it I did and we were on our merry way. If not I went through each and every single row until I found the closest to what my taste buds were craving. Sometimes I would get an urge for a drink I hadn’t had in a while. Maybe it was an Hawaiian Punch, or a Orange Crush. Sometimes it would be something off the wall like a Yoo-hoo! or even those rare times I found a Squirt. I wish I could say I have grown up and now I grab what is there, but to this day the cycle continues. Just this very morning I found myself at a station sold out of the drinks, in order, until I had to settle for one I have come to terms with but still isn’t my preferred.

Now when I do get a craving for a root beer I insist on buying an A&W in whichever form it is sold. Often it’s the 2 liter bottle. Sometimes it is the 12 pack. Very rare instances I will grab it in the 20 oz. Somethings never change. For me, the more flavors of soda they offer the harder it becomes for me to find one. Before it was easy, they didn’t have Code Red they had regular Mountain Dew, if not I settled for a root beer or the closet thing I could find to a Mountain Dew. Today, they might be out of Code Red and have 60 bottles of regular Mountain Dew but it would take me eliminating countless others before I settle for the soda that was once my go-to option.

I have other root beer memories, there were times, especially at the lake, we were stuck with Baqs because that was what the gas station close by sold. In order of preference, for me, it will be A&W, then if nothing is available Dr. Pepper. I will have to go down the list quite a ways before I settle for a Mug or *shudder* a Barqs root beer.

Was Bumblebee really the Transformers movie Generation 1 fans have been waiting for this whole time?

Ah movie reviews. Not my cup of tea. Hell, I don’t even drink tea. Why should I let that nullify the expression? I guess not.

There has been a war raging among the internet faithful. The TransFans, as they were once called, have been bickering over the status of the Transformers franchise ever since the internet began to transmit data into our homes over phone lines. In previous years the fight was between the die hard G1 faithful and the mouth-breathing Beast Wars fanatics. The rift ran deep into the Transformers fandom splitting them into two camps, not unlike the infamous Star Wars Special Editions. Yet at the core we all agreed on a few key points, mostly the war between living robots from the planet Cybertron and how it was depicted on the small and big screen must continue to bring us entertainment.

The factions aside the live action movies have been received with mixed reactions. There seems to be a large enough audience to keep them in production, yet there continues to be a pull in both directions to satisfy both camps, the Beast Fans and the Beast Haters. There is no middle ground really. Not for someone who soundly rejects the Beast era and all of the ways it contaminated the pure Transformers brand. Even today the argument continues to go in the favor of the G1 fans despite the movies making a mockery of the G1 canon while adhering to a tight walk between the two. This is the long way of saying the Beast fans keep pushing their monkey into our pure metallic world.

Each movie continued to push the organic look of the robots, with mannerisms modeled after an organic, beast era style of body movements. This contamination was intentional. The filmmakers wanted the robots to be based on the cars and planes we grew up with, while keeping the organic element pervasive enough to satisfy the Beast fans too. That is why despite turning into a truck in the 2007 film, Optimus Prime looks and behaves more like Optimus Primal than the G1 hero we all grew up idolizing.

You cannot go into Bumblebee without bearing in mind the struggle we have had to fight just to see a purely G1 canonized portrayal of OUR beloved Transformers, the ORIGINAL transformers displayed correctly and properly with no ties to the Beast ere. I am not anti Beast, make a Beast Wars movie I’d ACTUALLY love to see that. Introduce the Predacons I’d be all for that. but adhere to the tropes of the established continuity rather than straddling a middle ground. The cartoons did this best, simply put they gave the world PURE beast cartoons and PURE metal cartoons, why then should the films mix the two?

Bumblebee starts off on Cybertron. Not the Michael Bay bastardization of Cybertron we see depicted in the previous films, we see *the* Cybertron we grew up with in the original G1 cartoon. The film shows us brightly colored, metallic robot beings with robotic movements and mannerisms and robotic faces. Not a living organism with metal skin, not a robot wearing fur to protect it from the energon, no we see the very Cybertronian war we have been damn well asking for since the original film was first revealed.

The movie immediately shifts to Earth. From there it does a good job firmly planting us back in 1987, the middle of the G1 cartoon universe. It doesn’t take place in Tacoma, Washington, but at least it’s set on the West Coast so they get that right. Also, Sector 7 is mentioned but there hasn’t yet been a full on merging of the mythos. This is clearly a Generation One live action film with just barely enough allusions to tie it into what comes later. This is acceptable because the G1 cartoons did exist BEFORE the Beast Wars so it makes sense to finally separate the two. You can have a blend later because that is what the comics and toys have done since, but we still needed to see a live action film set almost entirely in the original G1 cartoon universe. This movie could be redone in the animation style of the classic cartoon and edited into the canon and hardly anyone would notice. It was the film a die hard G1 loyalist such as myself had been waiting to see. I don’t mind occasional hints of what comes later, the first two films were pretty good movies.

The human character is very important. Unlike a whiny, spoiled post-millennial teenager who demands the world be handed to him on a silver platter and yells on the top of his lungs constantly to get his way, this human has real heart, emotions, human traits. Sam was a caricature. He was there to move the plot forward nothing more. The human in this film, which I have already forgotten her name but she was important nonetheless. She was a real person to me. I could see myself rooting for her life outside of the movie. I can see her past, her childhood forming. I felt for her. I was sad for her when it was appropriate and glad for her when it was acceptable. She was a real character even more than Spike from the old cartoons.

Bumblebee himself was the best. Not just how he turned into the Nazi war symbol we all loved him as when we were kids, but also his child-like innocence. In the original cartoons Bumblebee was often bewildered by human behavior yet he was always seen doing everything he could to fit into human society. He was truly Spike’s best friend. That relationship was carried over into this film. There was a mutual respect they were friends. In the 2007 and subsequent film Revenge of the Fallen, Spike and Bumblebee’s relationship were more like protector and pet, only the film never established firmly which one was the pet. I never cared for that. Bumblebee was mischievous for no logical reason.  In the context of the retconning this movie does, it’s a little more palatable but I still need to revisit the film to decide for myself once and for all.

There is a scene in the G1 first season where Spike is hanging around a video arcade with Bumblebee walking around. That scene depicts the very nature of the character I wanted to see in this film. They have a few moments that made me recall that picture. It was a nice nod to the original cartoon that ALL of the stuff that followed owes a debt of gratitude. As I have always said, the Beast stuff can exist and is fine, but they need to acknowledge without the G1 stuff there wouldn’t have been a Beast Wars to begin with.

The action in this movie is also not going to satisfy the fans of the series. It’s far from head the dizzying explosions and shaky cam stuff the latter films are known for. In fact the movie is very much more reminiscent of Short Circuit than a Transformers film.

The characters are real, the story is believable and the action is fitting. By the end of the movie my heart had warmed and I felt a twinge of gratitude towards the filmmakers from sitting down and saying, here you go Merry Christmas TransFans, we’re sorry for Dark of the Moon here is the film you were picturing in your head when we announced a live action Transformers movie.

It has minor flaws, as all movies do. But nothing stood out to me as glaringly obvious. The first film was riddle with cringe worthy moments I edited out myself in the first ever Fan Edit I made in an attempt to salvage what was there. I see no need to ever have to do that with this. I only wish there was a way to transpose the character models from this movie over the top of the other films to at least salvage what is there. Oh well, nothing is perfect, but the Bumblebee movie gets about as close as a movie about alien robots ever could. I give it a perfect score, five our of five. I saw no need to defend this or that, it felt entirely fresh and familiar at the same time. It was a blast to watch and a joy to experience.

The value of exploring religion in movies

The first thing I noticed when I was being raised in my Evangelical upbringing was how Hollywood always portrayed Christians as superstitious Catholics. This was used by some in my circle to prove the error of Catholicism by pointing out the “World” represented by Hollywood, only viewed Catholics as Christian thus proving Catholicism was born of the world, so to speak.

Recently I began watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. As a faithful Christian I have always struggled with TV shows and movies that glorify the occult. I have a strong ability to separate those things that are entertainment and those that are offensive with the intent to offend. I don’t enjoy politically biased documentaries for this reason. I prefer politically neutral documentaries that present the facts and allow the viewer to make up their own mind. For this reason when I see something like Sabrina I am torn. I enjoyed the original show tremendously and watched it regularly despite warnings from my ecclesiastically focused friends it was allegedly satanic. I dismissed many of their claims and went about watching the show.

This presents a problem for me. The new show is a whole lot more obvious in their devotion to “The Dark Lord” and makes claims that the Christian God is the “False God.” Even though it is a TV show, this does not sit well with me. Yet, I find myself going back and watching the show. Why?

This is where it gets complicated. I am not going to present this from a doctrinal or theological perspective, I will reserve that for the individual to make up their mind. Rather I am going to present what my view is on the role of religion within movies. I have come to accept the Hollywood portrayal of Catholics is as far from reality as their portrayal of Evangelicals. Thus I can conclude there is probably some similar exaggerations taking place in a show which features a clearly pagan religious perspective. For example, there are Wizards in Lord of the Rings. They are not pagan in the classical sense, meaning they don’t believe their power is sourced  by the pantheon of the gods. Rather, they believe their power comes directly from the energies of the universe. From the perspective of entertainment, that is the precepts contained in something like D&D or even Final Fantasy, there are distinctions between science, arcane magic and religious magic. There is tremendous overlap but from the context of the fantasy game set they are clearly distinct from one another.

This is where I stand on movies. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe I accept that the Asgardians are mortal beings in the material plane with access to and knowledge of manipulating the powers of the universe using what humans on Earth refer to as magic and thus they are worshiped as gods. They, the gods of Asgard, do not forbid or forsake the worship as gods they in fact welcome it despite knowing full well the reality is to the contrary. Still, I accept that within the context of the MCU the Asgardians are not gods, merely super heroes no different than the X-Men or Spider-Man. This is easy to accept.

From certain eschatological perspectives this is going to become a problem. I am not going to discuss those at this time. Rather I am going to preface this by saying I can accept that in the context of the MCU Thor is NOT a god, while in real-world Christianity he is akin to a false god, or even a demon depending on the Christian perspective.

This anything that is not Christian is pagan and anything that is pagan is satanic is often used to condemn basically anything a person could choose to do so.

Then why do I not give the same benefit of the doubt to Sabrina? For starters within the context of the show the Christian God is the villain. He is represented as a monster, a liar, and a false prophet. The Dark Lord, as they refer to him mostly, is glorified and in the context of the show, is the true god. This doesn’t sit well with me. But I can dig further.

In the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise the Christian mythology is evoked equally with heathen religion. There are multiple instances of the Christian God being supreme while the heathen gods having power, an example would be the cursed gold from the first film. The movies remain ambiguous on which power is at play. There is a balance but since the films are set in a parallel film universe based on but not set in our physical universe I can accept that.  Basically it comes down to reverence for the Christian God.

There are scores of horror movies that have evil represented by the devil, or some spiritual force that could be a stand in for the Devil. This is acceptable to me because we, as Christians, accept the Devil as evil. The forces of Good are combating the forces of evil thus any allegory to that structure is permissible. I liken it to referencing the Slasher films as morality tales. I don’t have an issue with that.

Why, then, do I draw the line with Sabrina? Or rather, should I?

It comes down to personal preference alone. I use this example. I can enjoy the Omen, the Exorcist and even The Shining as works of literature. No problem. I go a step further and often proclaim my favorite film of all time as the horror movie A Nightmare on Elm Street. This is clearly something I cannot shy away from. But even in those instances there is no reference to the origin or source of the powers, be them evil or good. This ambiguity allows me to place the art or literature into it’s own category, in my view a movie universe parallel to our own with similar, but slightly modified laws of physics. This is how I can accept a film with an extra-terrestrial Superman flying around powered by the solar rays that give cancer to ordinary inhabitants of our planet.

At first I was able to compartmentalize Sabrina and place it in the same box. In this universe thus is so. However something didn’t sit well with me. In this universe MY God was not being given the respect and devotion he deserves but rather being proclaimed a false god. I have seen horror movies that take this same approach but they present it as such, the divide between Protestantism and Catholicism, in other words they usually have a form of religion, a symbol of a church, but because it is the “false church” their proponents don’t have the power of God thus they are often portrayed as false. For example Dracula and other Vampire movies. They borrow heavily from European myths mingled with superstition and Christianity. There are often Christian symbols, holy water and the Cross or crucifix depending on the portrayal, being used to defeat the vampires, or forces of evil.

As I examine this I pull it back and let this be the deciding factor for me, not based on an intellectual argument or even a theological argument. I base it on what I am comfortable with personally.

As I watch Sabrina I hear them exhaling Satan and demonizing My Lord, I feel a twinge of disgust. It doesn’t sit well with me. I am not going to make the claim it *IS* Satanic and thus forbid or implore anyone to not watch it. Rather I am going to state why *I* have decided it is too much for me and invite others to either defend it, with in reason and not using personal attacks or logical fallacy, or I would ask that in this case my views be respected and I not be expected to defend my point other than it makes me uncomfortable to watch so I am recusing myself from it, for the time being.

This is not to say I will apply this analysis to other works of literature or artistic expression. After all, you have to draw the line somewhere of what is acceptable and what is not. For me, I can accept a movie about a pedophile being condemned to hell and sentenced to invade the dreams of the relatives of those who judged him using illegitimate means. The basis is on the fact that neither Mans law (Justice) nor God (Church law) judged him accordingly, thus despite him being evil in life, his death was unjust opening the door for the spiritual forces in the context of that franchise to provide a middle ground. He remains in hell tormented for all eternity, but he is permitted to get revenge upon those who were also unjust in slaying him. It’s acceptable to my perspective because it fits the real of what is to be expected. God demands, in the real of Christianity, to adhere to mans laws as placed in jurisdiction over us. The exception is when those laws prevent a person from expressing their obedience to God’s commands. Thus, it is my perspective, based on purely my own understanding, that disobeying God’s law does not justify disobeying mans law. In other words, the parents who murder Fred Krueger are as guilty of the sin of murder as the man they killed. Rather, if the courts, appointed by man respected by God, permitted him to trial and he was sentenced to death, he would not be justified in returning to this world, either in physical or metaphysical form, he would be firmly condemned to Hell.

This is how I can accept A Nightmare on Elm Street without a twinge of strong guilt but, currently, cannot do the same for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Maybe upon further examination I will change my mind. At this point, and in the future, I will not ever condemn another for their choices. Watch the show if you find it acceptable, while I am going to currently refrain from such until further notice.

I didn’t want this to be entirely focused exclusively on Sabrina. After all there was a certain amount of nostalgia at play tugging me into the desire to see it. I also rather enjoyed the few episodes I did watch of it.