Categorised | Letters to the Editor

Horror movie does not reflect Christmas message

THE Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) strongly objects to the recent showing of the movie The Exorcist III by NTV7 on 5 Dec 2009 at 11pm, which was promoted by the network as a “Christmas Special”.

The CFM, which represents the Christian community in Malaysia, views with disdain the decision of the network to broadcast a satanic horror movie for public viewing, and to say that it is in connection with the season of Christmas. Such a programming decision is utterly incomprehensible and wholly inappropriate.

If indeed it is the genuine desire of the network to broadcast movies as part of a “Christmas Special”, we feel that the network should be screening movies that exemplify the Christmas spirit of love and sharing rather than a horror movie. We wonder what message the network is trying to portray to the public about the true meaning of Christmas.

The world is full of violence and horror on a regular basis. Let us at least set aside the season of Christmas, when Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, as a time to promote love, joy and peace.

Bishop Ng Moon Hing
Chairperson and Executive Committee
Christian Federation of Malaysia

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17 Responses to “Horror movie does not reflect Christmas message”

  1. Sivin Kit says:

    I think there’s nothing to stop our public TV stations from showing horror movies … even one like the Exorcist. But calling it a “Christmas special” does reflect bad taste.

    Perhaps if our local TV showed the Nativity Story (http://www.apple.com/trailers/newline/thenativitystory/) that would be truly a Christmas special, and even help with interfaith understanding of what Christians are celebrating this season.

    Between Horror and Hope, maybe the Horror genre gets more viewers and advertisements. Since we’ve had a gloomy and for some even a horrible year, a nudge towards Hope would be good for a change.

  2. Joshua says:

    Thank heavens someone has highlighted this really obnoxious gesture that was passed off as Christmas! It was totally absurd to watch such a contradiction!

    For those who do not get it, it was like advertising 9/11 on the festival of Eid or the Massacre of Nanjing on Chinese New Year or the Mumbai massacre on Deepavali.

    To think that some advertisers/editors/schedulers of TV stations can stoop to such low a level is truly shocking to begin with!

    Shame on you NTV7! Your licence should be revoked!

  3. Andrew I says:

    I feel scared.

    Actually, the definition of filmatic horror has varied through the ages. The original Exorcist was considered suicide-inspiring in its heyday. Dracula and dear Frankenstein have been replaced by aliens and predators.

    Exorcist III was like Psycho in colour: a complete waste of time. The trail of obscenities uttered in between regurgitations in the original Exorcist is actually quite hilarious by today’s standards. Even the works of gansta rappers pale in comparison.

    So, take heart, brothers and sisters. In this, yet another round of seasonal cheer, be merry…grab the remote and change the channel.

  4. tzeyeng says:

    I wonder if CFM holds the same view in relation to all the horrific display of materialism and greed the shopping promotions are violently shoving down our throats in the “spirit of Christmas”.

  5. rowena says:

    Would a horror movie be shown as part of a Hari Raya Special?

    Come on people, THINK! It’s not THAT difficult!!

  6. terri says:

    Thank you Bishop Ng, a truly anointed servant of God!

  7. Yeo Kien Kiong says:

    May I know what kind of movies the Bishop would like to recommend? What is his definition of “Satanic horror movie”? Does it mean that the movie “Exorcist III” contains Satanic elements within the context of the movie? Or the movie itself horrifies Satan?

    Would it be biased to set aside violence and horror only to the season of Christmas?

  8. Ms. Piggy says:

    @tzeyeng: Christmas is more of a spiritual occasion for Christians and a materialistic one for ‘the rest of the world’. Horror movies don’t quite fit in any of those, and I can see how it is blasphemous to call it a Christmas special! Can’t you?

    To the church, shopping is not Christmassy, they’re not the ones shoving it down your throats. It’s called commercialism, I believe, and it’s not borne by the church. If you don’t believe in it, don’t do it.

    @yeo kien kong: Let’s be sensible and respectful. You want to watch, watch la. He is not saying that horror movies should be banned during Christmas, he’s saying Exorcist is not representative of Christmas. Duh.

  9. TheLordPanda says:

    EIII is rubbish. The original Exorcist – Director’s Cut, now that’s a decent horror flick. Neither of these have any connection with the birth of Christ or Christmas.

    Rosemary’s Baby, on the other hand may have been a more approriate Christmas Horror flick…..in a Yin-Yang, Revelation-y sort of sense.

  10. Anonymous Coward says:

    It’s on TV and on a terrestrial [station] at that. You pay them by watching it.

    Vote with your eyes, friend. Avoiding it is as simple as turning the TV off.

  11. Charles F. Moreira says:

    And NTV7 touts itself as a “feel good station”.

    Well in the world of capitalism – money talks, [rubbish] walks.

    Be like me – don’t watch TV.

    Get a suitable, meaningful video based on Christmas and watch it with the family and ignore the idiot box, as I have done since 1994.

    Remember, the idiot box is not the physical TV set but the broadcast stations and programme producers behind it.

  12. Sean says:

    Like Charles, I won’t have broadcast TV in my house. I gave away my last TV set in the UK in 1989. I was recently outvoted by wife and kids, but a mysterious accident befell the aerial cable at about the same time as we got a TV in the living room in 2006. Now we watch downloaded content (I don’t pay anyone to download it for me – procuring an offence is going too far) on the TV, so we have complete control over what the kids see.

    At Christmas, we’ll probably be watching Teletubbies or Harry Potter, the same as any other time of year. I wouldn’t want my children to have ‘sensitivities’ later in life, so I tell them that the Teletubbies and Harry Potter are not really real. I do something similar after one of their uncles leaves, as he invariably tells them that a man in the sky is watching them, when he’s not looking for his son – who walks around even though he’s dead, like in their favourite Michael Jackson video, which is also not real – and they’re going to be burn in a fire forever if they’re naughty. I do the same when we visit their uncle, as he likes to show them pictures of the man in the sky’s son, complete with gruesome injuries, white skin, blond hair and blue eyes, set against a backdrop of Nordic pines. Not only is the picture not real, I tell my kids, but I’m not like him just because I’m the only other person they know that’s that pallid. I tell them that looking pale isn’t special, even if their mum’s magazines say it is – if someone looking like that came to Malaysia, he would also have to hide in the shadows or look like roast pork, just like their dad. They are the lucky ones, to not look like the man in the picture.

    I think Bishop Ng is doing a fine job as the Chair of the CFM – I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate way of discharging his duties. I’d also like to thank TNG for publishing his letter: I LOL’d.

  13. yeo kien kiong says:

    After I read about the article “Horror movie does not reflect Christmas message”, I felt quite strange about what is written, and more surprisingly, that it appeared on The Nut Graph in the first place. Once again, when I looked back at the comment that I had made on the article, I can’t hold back my laughter. Here is a quick response about the article.

    On the general level, if an adult who “accidentally” came across a TV program called “The Exorcist III”, at 11pm, and he or she had this special button called ON/OFF, either on the TV or the remote control that he or she is holding, this adult has the right or discretion to do whatever he or she wants, by (just a suggestion) changing the channel, switching off the TV or reading a book or two, or keep on thrilling themselves by watching the movie that has intermissions (advertisements) starting late at night.

    And I assume that the person who is complaining about the TV program (who also has adequate internet connectivity) would have done thorough research on what the film is about by watching the film first hand: from the start of the opening credits until the end of the ending credits to try to understand if it is a film that is allowed to be shown on TV at 11pm and with the appropriate program rating used first-hand.

    On a personal level, I feel that if “The Exorcist III” were shown as a “Christmas Special”, NTV7 as a mainstream TV programme provider would have taken a heavy consideration to provide entertainment for audiences of all ages at the appropriate time (11pm – mostly for adults?), with a certain degree of censorship (which Malaysians abhor). At least, those who do watch the movie would have some sense that in the religious context, this “horror” movie consists of the story about how “good” triumphs over “evil”, or, if we look a bit deeper, the movie is about the extraordinary human struggle against the odds (which is way beyond the human reality of the time). Not supernatural, or how the mainstream media always loves to put it: “Against the law of nature”.

    One would also have to look at the time when the movie is made especially during the “fall” of the Cold War and student protests on Tiananmen Square; and try to see if there are any similarities about the story made (based on a novel called “Legion”). In addition, there must be other “Christmas Specials” during the day time? [...]

    And I laugh out loud about the notion of “satanic horror movie”. Satan must be confused as to whether to laugh or to be horrified at the same time. Maybe, the word “horror” is terribly misunderstood? [...]

    But the main reason that led me to question [...] Bishop Ng Moon Hing, Chairperson and Executive Committee, Christian Federation of Malaysia, is the way he wrote:

    “The world is full of violence and horror on a regular basis. Let us at least set aside the season of Christmas, when Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, as a time to promote love, joy and peace.” It is the most irresponsible writing I’ve ever read other than those from hypocrites “ruling” the country.

    For me, a person of high religious stature such as the Bishop, is a person who is regarded as a high ranking cleric and authoritative spiritual power to oversea the happiness and well being of each and every individual who embraced the faith because they believe that this faith serves as their guide, not [something that chains them] to happiness. What is written by the Bishop on The Nut Graph, reminds me of Puteri Umno’s proposal to ban horror and even fantasy films here in Malaysia [...]. Everybody wants to achieve a greater course of happiness not only for themselves but for others as well. But I find what is written by the Bishop questionable and vague as a public figure and a person of faith. If there is a God or gods in your mind, there must be saints and satans in you too. For those who blindly followed their leaders, don’t be afraid to speak out from your hearts. You are not slaves.

    A quote from the movie:

    Dt. Kinderman: My wife’s mother is visiting, Father. And Tuesday night, she’s cooking us a carp. It’s a tasty fish, I’ve got nothing against it. But, because it’s supposedly filled with impurities, she buys it live and for three days, it’s been swimming… up and down… in my bathtub. Up and down… and I hate it. I can’t stand the sight of it, moving its gills. Now, you’re standing very close to me, Father; have you noticed? Yes. I haven’t had a bath for three days. I can’t go home until the carp is asleep because if I see it, swimming… I’ll kill it.

    Editor’s note: While I am happy that we made you laugh, I need to address your amazement at this letter appearing on The Nut Graph. The whole point of a “letters to the editor” section is to allow readers and citizens the chance to express different viewpoints on issues of public interest. As long as each letter adheres to our guidelines (including things such as not making personal attacks, being understandable and coherent), we are happy to provide a space for different viewpoints to emerge. What we also prize is the mature and diverse public discussion that follows, as evidenced in the comments to this letter. True democracy requires safe spaces for civil discussions, even on matters in which people passionately disagree.

    Shanon Shah
    Columns and Comments Editor

  14. Raymond says:

    Jesus taught socialist values, and was anti-establishment, anti-capitalist. He was a bad-ass voice of dissent of his time, and spoke out against many religious leaders. His parables were witty, angry tirades.

    In contrast, many suburban Christians have watered down these aspects of his teachings and are instead the opposite of what he was, totally self-motivated and conformist, speaking out only against non-issues like this that shatter their sense of indoctrinated complacency.

  15. To rowena:

    I’m pretty sure Zombie Kampung Pisang or something like that gets shown in one of those Hari Raya Kedua movie specials.

  16. U-En Ng says:

    Granted that it was a curious choice for mindless saccharine happy-clappy festive programming, Exorcist III was much better than its immediate predecessor. And besides, the forces of Good triumphed over Evil in the end.

    I think it is a fine thing to promote love, joy and peace and it would be especially grand if, like the sentiments of the Holy Month of Ramadhan, we could profess them all year instead of 12 or 30 days annually.

    That said, Christmas is and has long been used as an excuse by too many people here and elsewhere to take collective leave of their senses, and the networks often use the time to dump any number of B-grade Hollywood rejects on to our screens.

    While I sympathise with the Bishop’s concerns, I believe Malaysians would be better advised to turn off their idiot boxes entirely and spend more time talking to the people around them. Or else do what Sean does and download stuff (we all do it now).

  17. Anonymous Coward says:

    @rowena:

    Um, I remember watching Terminator 2 during Hari Raya and vaguely remember watching Star Wars IV, V and VI on TV during the same time. These movies have nothing to do with the spirit of Aidilfitri and yet they’re still aired. Why? For advertisement money, of course.


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