Guillermo Del Toro on the Spiritual Experience of Movies

I found a great Pat Morrison interview with GDT in the L.A. Times.  I thought I would share an interesting excerpt regarding GDT’s opinion on “fear”.

It’s an ingrained fight-or-flight reflex that we don’t flex enough in real life, so we have to create artificial springs to flex it in fiction, sort of the rollercoaster-ride equivalent in storytelling. Fear in fiction plays that role.

On the other hand, fear [is] an instinct absolutely necessary to achieve some form of spiritual perspective. One can go on for hours about the absolutely intimidating aspects of Catholic lore — purgatory, hell, original sin, all those things that make a child’s life more terrifying. Fear of something unknown allows us to take a leap into faith.

Believing in supernatural things allows you to actually have a spiritual experience in a time when you cannot do that in a sort of uplifting way without sounding somewhat foolish. In a time when everybody’s texting, Facebooking, Twittering — they have GPS, they never get lost — all of a sudden, through horror fiction, you are allowed to suspend your disbelief.

I love GDT’s perception of “going to the movies” as a spiritual experience.  I think it IS spiritual in that it pushes your spirit to places and emotions that you can’t access in real life (I hope, in most cases).

This reminded me of another great quote GDT gave back in 2008 about movies being a religious experience:

We don’t go to church on Sunday: we go to the movies. So, when you go to the movies and you get the same crappy old sermon, you get angry. You go, “What a piece of shit!”…But when you go to the church, or the movies, and you get a fresh perspective on an intimate truth, you come out of the theatre converted: believing again in the power of movies. It’s a religious experience and an intimate experience and that’s why when we don’t like a movie we get that pissed off and when we like it we get so jazzed.

So when was your last “spiritual experience” at the movies?

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