Werewolf vs. werewolf hunter: BRAWL!
Welcome to the detailed (and, unfortunately, spoiler-rich) review of Night of the Living Dead Christian. For a briefer review that doesn't give anything away, read the main review. If you're curious, here's a discussion of why I'm doing this.
This is a rather long bit of reaction, so I'm breaking it up into sections. Hopefully that will allow for more bite-sized discussions. So, now that you've all been fairly warned, we'll pick up the deconstruction after the jump:
Right, so: Luther is a werewolf. He wants to be free of this curse. His friend Matt (the narrator) is helping him. They have gone to visit Luther's father, a minister, who was able to help one of Narrator-Matt's friends (a vampire). Luther is unable to untangle his current goal from his personal issues with his father, and winds up pummeling the minister and demanding a solution for what's missing from his life.
At this point Borut, the monster-hunter, makes an explosive entrance. How did he get here? Reverend Martin called him. Luther, however, is not exactly helpless: he has the pistol that his wife left at his house. Borut and Luther now begin an epic battle through the church,and Reverend Martin asks Narrator-Matt to help his son. This seems really, really NFBSKing odd coming from the man who called out the monster-hunter in the first place, but Matt calls 9-1-1 and follows the rampaging pair into the sanctuary.
Borut is in the sanctuary, which is lit “with thousands of candles” because apparently Lutheran churches have budgets like that? Or maybe Reverend Martin just doesn’t hold with this newfangled electricity? Or something? (Sorry, this particular Hollywood-ism is a pet peeve of mine - candles are expensive. Electricity is cheaper and safer, which is why pretty much everyone in real life relies on it instead.)
Anyway, the battle continues, and Borut stabs Luther with a knife. Narrator-Matt intervenes and pulls Borut off Luther, and during the struggle they manage to knock over a candelabra and set one of the pews on fire. (Apparently they have cloth covers, and no fireproofing whatsoever. Possibly even some sort of anti-fireproofing, in fact.) Matt attempts to put the fire out, and only makes it worse.
So: the building is on fire, there’s a werewolf hunter running amok, and Luther has taken a rather serious knife wound. Feeling that he’d prefer to die by fire than at Borut’s hand, Luther decides to hide under the stage. Why he wants Matt to come with him is an open question; it seems like if they really were friends, Luther would want Matt to get out of the burning building.
And then Reverend Martin comes to their aid - or, well, maybe that overstating the case. He tries to coax Luther out from under the stage. He points out that Luther has friends who love him - and that those friends are the church, too. And Narrator-Matt finally manages to say something useful about his experience of Christianity: “They are the church, also. They’re broken and ridiculous and possibly insane, but they love you, Luther.”
I like this. I really like this. Nearly all of my favorite Christian writing embraces this idea that grace and salvation have nothing whatsoever to do with perfection. A lot of it seems to be written in reaction to the strange idea that Christians are expected to be, or to become, perfect - an idea which I’m pretty sure is no part of the messages in the Bible.
Luther objects, of course. Ignoring the question of his friends, and the implications of their love, he demands to know how God could possibly love someone like him. He asks why God would be willing to sacrifice Himself for someone like him.
Reverend responds with possibly the most sensible thing that he’s said so far: “My son. When someone says he loves you, you need not always ask why. Sometimes it is enough to know that he does.”
But Luther isn’t quite ready to hear this, it seems. He responds by pointing out that his father called the werewolf hunter to come kill him... which Luther (rightly, I’d say) doesn’t exactly interpret as a sign of love.