The Dangers of Casual Sex: It Follows (2014)

it-follows-poster-criticaIn David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows (2014), Jay (Maika Monroe) goes on a date with Hugh (Jake Weary), and after they have sex, a monster starts following her. Interpreted allegorically, the film is a warning against the dangers of casual and premarital sex with the monster representing a sexually transmitted disease.

The film suggests that if you have sex with the wrong person, it can have devastating consequences. After Jay has sex with Hugh, the shape-shifting monster that was following him comes after her. There is, however, a short-term solution. The monster will stop following Jay if she has sex with someone else, so she has sex with Greg (Daniel Zovatto). Unfortunately, this only delays the inevitable. The monster kills Greg, and then starts following Jay again.

The monster is playing a game. Games have rules, and the monster plays by certain rules: “It” only follows one person at a time, the unlucky individual who had sex with the last person it was following. (The game is similar to the children’s game of tag where the last person touched is “It.”) The monster is playing the long game with its victims: The last person who is “tagged” will be motivated to have sex again, giving the monster a larger number of potential victims.

The film can be interpreted allegorically with the monster representing a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Hugh says “It” started following him after a “one night stand.” Like an STD, the monster can only harm people who have casual or premarital sex. Two virgins who get married would never be in any danger from “It.” The monster punishes people who engage in risky sexual behavior.

Casual sex is risky behavior because you might get an STD. Despite the possible consequences, the percentage of young people engaging in casual sex is increasing. A 2014 study found that “35% of GenX’ers in the late 1980s had sex with a casual date or pickup (44% of men, 19% of women), compared to 45% of Millennials in the 2010s (55% of men, 31% of women).”1 The increase in casual sex has led to STD rates reaching a record high in the United States.2 In 2015, there were over 1.5 million reported cases chlamydia, 395,216 cases of gonorrhea, and 23,872 cases of syphilis, with most of the infections among people ages 15 to 24.3 Millions of Millennials have been infected with STDs because of their sexual promiscuity.

Although STDs can often be prevented through the use of condoms, the only safe sex is between two people who are married or in a monogamous relationship. Unlike casual sex (which is usually spontaneous), you can delay having sex until you both go to a doctor and make sure neither partner has an STD. Making sure your partner has a clean bill of health before having sex is the responsible thing to do. It could save you from a life of suffering, and possibly even death.

In It Follows, Jay nearly dies because she had sex with Hugh. She didn’t know his sexual history, and suffers the consequences of her unlucky choice. In the climax of the film, Jay and her friends try to destroy the monster. Unfortunately, with STDS this is not always possible. While many STDs can be treated and cured, others will never go away.4


  1. Jean M. Twenge et al., “Changes in American Adults’ Sexual Behavior and Attitudes, 1972-2012,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 44, no. 8 (May 2015): 2278,
  2. Jacqueline Howard, “STD rates reach record high in United States,” CNN, October 20, 2016,
  3. Ibid.
  4. McKinzie Brocail, “Sexual Healing: Which STDs Can & Cannot Be Cured,” September 11, 2015,,

Before you go, I would like to send you a free eBook


Three Principles in Problem Solving: World War Z (2013)

World-War-Z-Final-Movie-PosterIn Marc Forster’s World War Z (2013) Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), a U.N. investigator, is sent to gather information on the worldwide zombie plague. The film reveals three key principles in problem solving: acquire knowledge, practice independent thinking, and be determined to find a solution.

Knowledge is the first key to solving any problem. When Gerry visits South Korea, Israel, and the U.K., he increases his knowledge about the zombie plague by talking to soldiers, doctors, and other people in authority. Doctor Andrew Fassbach (Elyes Gabel) tells him that Mother Nature “loves disguising her weaknesses as strengths.” Gerry uses Fassbach’s insight to determine if the zombies have a hidden weakness.

Although Gerry depends on knowledgeable people to find answers, he also trusts his own judgement. To find a way to stop the zombies from infecting more people, he practices independent thinking: “the process of making sense of the world based on your own observations and experiences.”1 After watching an old man and a young boy survive a zombie attack, he develops a theory that zombies do not attack people who are terminally ill. Through careful observation and logical reasoning, Gerry discovers something that the experts do not know.

Gerry has another quality that is essential in problem solving: determination. At a W.H.O. research facility, he meets two doctors (Peter Capaldi and Pierfrancesco Favino) who appear hopeless and defeated. Gerry, however, is determined to save his family, so he injects himself with a deadly pathogen to test his theory about the zombies. Gerry is a problem solver because he is determined to find a solution, and willing to take risks.

In World War Z, none of the medical experts are able to find a cure for the zombie plague. Gerry, a non-expert, discovers a way to “camouflage” people from the zombies. He finds a solution by doing what zombies cannot do: by using the power of his mind. More importantly, he does not give up in trying to find a solution. You can have access to knowledge, and be capable of independent thinking, but without determination, difficult problems cannot be solved.


  1. “Parenting Assistance Line,” accessed January 23, 2016,

If you join my email list, I will send you a free eBook

Three Aspects of Obsessive Love: Mad Love (1935)

mad loveIn Karl Freund’s Mad Love (1935), a madman, Doctor Gogol (Peter Lorre), falls in love with an actress: Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake). However, Gogol’s love for Yvonne is not a healthy or normal kind of love. It is obsessive.

Obsessive love is born of the need to fill a void in one’s life. According to Susan Forward, “Obsessive love has little to do with love at all—it has to do with longing.”1 Doctor Gogol, who has “never known the love of a woman” tried to find meaning in life as a surgeon, yet despite being “great” and “famous”, he still feels incomplete. When he discovers Yvonne the actress, he watches her perform in the theatre—47 nights in a row. Emotionally damaged by a lifetime of rejection, Gogol is obsessed with Yvonne because of the emptiness he feels inside.

An obsessive attachment to another person can result in a refusal to accept rejection. As Forward states, “Obsessive lovers are so caught up in the maelstrom of their passions that they simply refuse to accept when a relationship is over.”2 Upon learning that Yvonne is married, Gogol is deeply dismayed, yet he does not stop pursuing her. He fiendishly plots to make her his lover by framing her husband for murder. Unwilling to accept rejection, Gogol will use any means necessary to have Yvonne as his own.

From a Christian perspective, obsessive love is a form of idolatry. The obsessive lover seeks to find wholeness and completion in another human being instead of God. Gogol tells Yvonne that he “worships” her and buys a wax statue of her to keep in his house. Like a prayer to a Catholic saint, he talks to the replica as if it were a real person and plays music to it. By exalting Yvonne to divine status, he has made her a substitute for God.

In the climax of the film, Gogol tries to murder Yvonne. This reveals how his love for her was conditional. He wanted to possess Yvonne (like an object) so that he would be happy and fulfilled. But when he finally accepted the reality that she would never love him, he decided to kill her because of his so-called “love” for her. Gogol’s unmet need to be loved drove him insane. True love is unconditional, not obsessive. If you truly love someone you will never cause them any harm, and only seek their good, even if they reject you.


  1. Susan Forward, Obsessive Love: When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go (New York: Bantam, 1991), 8.
  2. Forward, Obsessive Love, 9.

My Kindle eBook: The Donkey King and Other Stories

The Devil Incarnate: Horror of Dracula (1958)

dracula-blu-ray1In Terence Fisher’s Horror of Dracula (1958), Count Dracula (Christopher Lee) has four distinct traits: deceiver, seducer, thief, and destroyer. This characterization makes him a Satan figure—the Devil in human form.

Dracula is a deceiver like the Devil: “a liar and the father of lies.”1 While escorting Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) to his room, he mentions that the “housekeeper is away”, an obvious lie as no one ever leaves his castle alive, and then he bolts the door, trapping Jonathan inside. Dracula’s deceptions continue in London when he sends a message to Mina Holmwood (Melissa Stribling) to meet her husband at the undertaker. Her husband is elsewhere, and Dracula is waiting in the basement. He deceives Jonathan and Mina in order to transform them into what he is: a vampire.

Dracula is a seducer of women, not unlike an incubus: “a demon in male form that seeks to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women.”2 Sleeping in a coffin lined with dirt, the centuries-old vampire is literally a dirty old man who seduces beautiful women. A buxom brunette (Valerie Gaunt) lives in his castle as his bride, and he later seduces Lucy Holmwood (Carol Marsh) in a sexually-charged scene. She lies on her bed like a bride on her wedding night, eagerly awaiting her groom. As Dracula hovers over her, the look on her face is an equal mixture of fear and delight, the same emotions a virgin might experience when she has sex for the first time. Transforming a woman into a vampire is his substitute for sex.

Beautiful women cannot resist the power of Dracula’s gaze, and they fall under his spell. After returning from a late-night rendezvous with the vampire, Mina greets her husband with a warm glow on her face, as if she just had sex. It is ironic that in draining Mina and Lucy of their life-giving blood, Dracula has reinvigorated them both as women. They have been seduced by a vampire who sucks blood from their neck like a lover’s irresistible kisses. Yet when Gerda (Olga Dickie) sees him, she says in horror, “he looked like the Devil!” Mina and Lucy are seduced by Dracula, but Gerda sees him for what he is: a figure of evil.

Dracula is the physical embodiment of Satan: “the thief [who] comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”3 Requiring human blood in order to survive, he steals the blood of Lucy and Mina. The idea of blood giving life to a vampire originates from the Old Testament when Moses commanded the Israelites, “You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood.”4 As a blood thief, Dracula is not content with only drinking blood. He delights most of all in stealing other men’s women, putting them under his seductive spell.

Dracula’s seduction of women has two principal aims: to drain them of their blood as a food source, and when they are drained dry, to turn them into vampires. This makes him a thief and a destroyer. Dracula destroys Lucy’s humanity, turning her into a monster, malevolent and evil like himself. By opening the window to her room, Lucy has “turned away to follow Satan.”5 Dracula’s destruction of Lucy’s humanity parallels Peter’s description of Satan who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”6 When he ravishes Lucy, he appears like a lion with his long fangs and gaping mouth. The vampire is a human monster: half-human, half-beast.

As a monster, Dracula is more than just a physical creature. He has supernatural power over his victims. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) says Lucy has been “possessed and corrupted by the evil of Dracula.” Her transformation from human to vampire is like a demon possession that must be reversed. Van Helsing takes on the role of an exorcist, but instead of driving an evil spirit from Lucy’s body, he drives a stake through her heart—a reverse exorcism, destroying her body in order to save her soul.

Because Dracula possesses supernatural power, he cannot be destroyed by human strength alone. When Van Helsing attacks him, he is no match for the vampire. The doctor then turns to the power of nature to destroy his adversary. He pulls down the curtain in the room, shining the light of the sun on Dracula, burning his flesh. This severely weakens him, but he is ultimately destroyed, not by the sun but by the power of the cross. As a supernatural being, Dracula can only be destroyed by supernatural power.

Dracula, as the Devil incarnate, is ultimately defeated by the power of Christ. Van Helsing says the crucifix “symbolizes the power of good over evil.” The crucifix becomes a symbolic representation of Christ, the Son of God who appeared “to destroy the works of the devil.”7 In the climax of the film, Van Helsing forms a cross with two pieces of metal and turns his enemy into dust. The final image of Dracula’s ashes scattered by the wind echoes God’s words to Adam: “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”8


  1. John 8:44 (New American Standard Version).
  2. Encyclopædia Britannica, s.v. “Incubus,” accessed July 21, 2013,
  3. John 10:10 (New American Standard Version).
  4. Leviticus 17:14 (New American Standard Version).
  5. 1 Timothy 5:15 (New American Standard Version).
  6. 1 Peter 5:8 (New American Standard Version).
  7. 1 John 3:8 (New American Standard Version).
  8. Genesis 3:19 (New American Standard Version).

My Kindle eBook: The Donkey King and Other Stories