I just saw an American scary movie about a little town with a population of 436 people. Everytime they had more than that number, they’d hang someone. 436 was a special number, a Divine number, which God had approved. The hero got sucked into the town by accident and couldn’t get out – but in a final twist, just as he broke free from the grasp of the town, he suffered a fatal car crash, vindicating the town’s bizarre fundamentalist faith.
Horror movies inevitably build upon a pre-existing cultural phobia, like mass-murderers, ghosts or devil-worshipers. Why is it, then, that a large number of American horror flicks feature little backward Christian towns in the heart of America? What is so terrifying about fundamentalism; the dogmatic and close-minded fervor which overwhelms reason and logic?
The truth is that fundamentalism is really scary. It scares me so much I can’t sleep at night. To think that vast majorities of the population, spread out across America in run of the mill, hum-drum towns, ignored by the busy, educated populace of the cities, is so absolutely certain of the Truth that they are opposed to progress or advancement, chills my bones. In the event of a major catastrophe (think “Jericho”) these small towns will be all that’s left. And they’re the ones with the guns.