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A few weeks back, Film Forum sorted through portrayals of Christians on the big screen. Some were convincing, even if the characters portrayed were flawed. Others betrayed the anti-Christian bias of their storytellers. Still others reflected the filmmakers' lack of understanding regarding what Christians believe.

This week, look out: a whole host of Christian characters are parading across the big screen. Some come from Christian filmmakers (Hangman's Curse). Some inhabit MTV's idea of a Baptist church (The Fighting Temptations). Malevolent priests haunt one particularly troubling film (The Order.) And the Messiah himself appears in the latest installment of the Visual Bible (The Gospel of John).

Peretti's Hangman's Curseskips blood'n'guts, chokes on agenda

Frank Peretti, the Christian novelist who found success in religious and mainstream bookstores with This Present Darkness, is now the brains behind a movie. Hangman's Curse, adapted from his novel with the help of screenwriters Kathy Mackel and Stan Foster, looks at first glance like a horror film. It is playing on only a few screens around the country, but it will be available at video stores soon.

Curse begins with Abel Frye, a troubled teen, hanging himself. His fellow high school students, believing their school is now haunted by Frye's ghost, experience increasing anxiety as some of their classmates suffer hallucinations and illness. They believe Frye is attempting revenge from beyond the grave on those who taunted him in the halls—the school bullies. Suspicion also falls on the goth crowd, who are apparently involved in some kind of Satan worship.

Since the schoolteachers seem inept and out-of-touch, it's up to a family of secret agents to root out the evil at its source. ...

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September 2003

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