Why Hollywood Movies Shouldn’t Demonize Nuns

Why Hollywood Movies Shouldn’t Demonize Nuns

By Tess Farrand, Contributing Writer

THE NUN is set to release in theaters this September. While we can’t say anything about the movie’s content just yet, the marketing is stating the movie is the “darkest chapter.” 

THE NUN is a prequel to the already famous horror movies, THE CONJURING, THE CONJURING 2 and ANNABELLE: CREATION. The movie follows a priest and nun in training who follow-up on a nun’s passing in Romania. The Vatican asks the two to travel to Romania and while there, the pair discovers a demon-nun (no seriously, her character is credited as the “Demon Nun”).

If you’ve been to the movies recently, you’ve probably seen trailers or promotional advertisements for THE NUN. The movie poster shows one nun with beady yellow/green eyes, dark circles around the eyes and black lips on a ghostly white face.

THE NUN movie poster will no doubt send chills down younger audiences’ spines. Although all movie posters try to communicate the message of their movie, the scary images do a disservice to nuns and the church.

Why the scare tactic? Hollywood loves turning safe into scary. Dolls, clowns, babies…you name it, they’ve done it. As a result, these people or things are often deemed creepy. Think of CHUCKIE, CLOWNHOUSE and IT, just to name a few. 

We need to ask, why the need to make nuns scary when nuns serve a great benefit to the community. Their devotion to God allows them to counsel others, serve the sick and poor, and further promote the value of church community. THE SOUND OF MUSIC, LILIES OF THE FIELD and SISTER ACT all show how nuns address relevant issues of murder, oppression and racism, but they do so without demonizing the church or nuns.

Now, Movieguide® notes that there is redeemable content in THE CONJURING movies. For instance, prayer and the Bible are major components of casting out demons in the movies. The main characters Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) are also Christians who seem to understand the severity of the spiritual realm. Another positive, both movies show the power of God triumphing over evil. We like all these elements, but often the theological aspects of spiritual warfare take the back burner, and the CONJURING movie aren’t the exception to this.

It could be that THE NUN plans to show that people with strong faith are oftentimes targets for demonic activity. However, it’s also paramount that we understand believers in Christ CANNOT be possessed because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us (1 Cor. 3:16, Rom. 8:11, 2 Tim. 1:14)! 

We see plenty of amazing displays of Jesus combating demonic activity in the Gospels. It’s clear that the demons quake at the sound of Jesus’ authority and knew Him even when the people around Him doubted (Luke 4:41). This is the God we serve!

Nuns help to clothe the poor and feed the hungry, among many other notable causes. Demonizing them (literally) in horror movies leaves negatives impressions, not just on the minds of children who see the frightening posters, but also on adults. Hollywood can do better. For more insight into the first movies in the series read our reviews of THE CONJURING and THE CONJURING 2