I once asked a movie expert—this must’ve been when I was regularly on a campus somewhere, but not Nashotah House—how many movies had been made. He sighed and said “There’s no way to know that.” What I was thinking at the time was the Motion Picture Association of America (now the Motion Picture Association) number that comes near the end of the credits. I wondered how many of those there were. Of course, the number keeps changing. It doesn’t account for television movies or straight to video, although, I see it does now include Netflix. In any case, I was really interested in the statistics. I still am. I may not be a math person, but big numbers are intriguing.
The more I read about movies, and I seem to be moving in that direction, the more I realize how nobody can be an expert on all of them. Even those of us with decades of experience watching horror can’t keep up with that genre. Many of the books I’ve read are by authors whose families don’t like horror, so they have to carve out time alone to see the films. This is on top of their jobs, which for some, admittedly, is film analysis—perhaps they’re the lucky ones. I selected many films to discuss in Holy Horror. There’s no index of the Bible in films, as useful as such an index would be. As I continue to watch, and sometimes rewatch, I keep finding more and more material. At some point, however, you just have to say “what I have written, I have written.” But how many movies actually engage the Good Book? There may be a way to know that, but it will take a lifetime of research.
Speaking of large numbers, the stats for how many Bibles are sold each year is a phenomenon unto itself. It seems inevitable that it would find several of the cracks in American culture and leak in like rain water. At times it’s the antidote to horror, while at others it’s the dote itself. Holy Horror was never intended to be comprehensive. It limited itself in intentional ways. As I was writing it my naive question kept coming back to me. When I research a topic I like to read as much written on the topic that I possibly can. Of course, I spend over eight hours a day for most of the year doing something else. The number of days like that, I suspect, is frightfully large.