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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

A Nightmare on Elm Street

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

What the world needs now, to paraphrase an old song, is a reboot of the 1980s slasher franchise "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (Warner Bros.). Well, no, not really.

Ex-janitor-turned-crazed-killer Freddy Krueger (formerly Robert Englund, now Jackie Earle Haley) and his famously fatal fingers return to prey on the dreams—and, darn it, the real lives—of a new generation of small-town teens, including diner waitress and would-be artist Nancy (Rooney Mara), jittery emo boy Quentin (Kyle Gallner), cheerleader-type Kris (Katie Cassidy) and her brooding boyfriend Dean (Kellan Lutz).

The sexual content of this latest entry in a relentlessly objectionable series of horror outings—dating from Wes Craven's 1984 original—is relatively restrained, though when Kris asks Dean to spend the night with her to allay her fears of encountering Freddy, it's pretty obvious that this is not the first time the pair have shared a bed. And Wesley Strick and Eric Heisserer's script also deals indirectly, yet cheaply, with the disturbing subject of child molestation.

But the gore quotient—one character is seen literally swimming in blood—remains excessive, as veteran music video director Samuel Bayer, in his feature debut, relies on the tried and trite recipe of sending interchangeable insomniacs to a gory doom. Thus we not only witness Freddy's victims being battered, impaled and more or less ripped to shreds, but also hung up as perverse trophies in plasma-soaked, see-through body bags.

In short, it's more than high time for this dehumanizing saga to bid us all—in the words of another classic number—"so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye."

The film contains intense bloody violence; gruesome imagery; a pedophilia theme; an implied nonmarital relationship; a couple uses of profanity; at least a dozen instances of the F-word; and some crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Robert Bellarmine: When Robert Bellarmine was ordained in 1570, the study of Church history and the fathers of the Church was in a sad state of neglect. A promising scholar from his youth in Tuscany, he devoted his energy to these two subjects, as well as to Scripture, in order to systematize Church doctrine against the attacks of the Protestant Reformers. He was the first Jesuit to become a professor at Louvain. 
<p>His most famous work is his three-volume <i>Disputations on the Controversies </i><em>of the Christian Faith</em>. Particularly noteworthy are the sections on the temporal power of the pope and the role of the laity. He incurred the anger of monarchists in England and France by showing the divine-right-of-kings theory untenable. He developed the theory of the indirect power of the pope in temporal affairs; although he was defending the pope against the Scottish philosopher Barclay, he also incurred the ire of Pope Sixtus V. </p><p>Bellarmine was made a cardinal by Pope Clement VIII on the grounds that "he had not his equal for learning." While he occupied apartments in the Vatican, Bellarmine relaxed none of his former austerities. He limited his household expenses to what was barely essential, eating only the food available to the poor. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had deserted from the army and he used the hangings of his rooms to clothe poor people, remarking, "The walls won't catch cold." </p><p>Among many activities, he became theologian to Pope Clement VIII, preparing two catechisms which have had great influence in the Church. </p><p>The last major controversy of Bellarmine's life came in 1616 when he had to admonish his friend Galileo, whom he admired. Bellarmine delivered the admonition on behalf of the Holy Office, which had decided that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus (the sun as stationary) was contrary to Scripture. The admonition amounted to a caution against putting forward—other than as a hypothesis—theories not yet fully proved. This shows that saints are not infallible. </p><p>Bellarmine died on September 17, 1621. The process for his canonization was begun in 1627 but was delayed until 1930 for political reasons, stemming from his writings. In 1930, Pope Pius XI canonized him and the next year declared him a doctor of the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog The joy of the Lord is our strength. Therefore, each of us will accept a life of poverty in cheerful trust. We will minister to Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor with cheerful devotion. If our work is done with joy, we will have no reason to be unhappy.

 
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