Now, the horror-auteur is back, this time with an original project that nonetheless feels very influenced by the authors whose work he previously adapted. It’s called Midnight Mass, a 7-part limited series that premiered on Netflix last week.
The title immediately piqued my interest. I was raised Catholic and specifically recall attending midnight mass on many a Christmas Eve. It’s not much of a spoiler though to say that the Midnight Mass of the show’s title has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ. Still, Catholicism is a driving force in the story.
In addition to growing up Catholic, my father was also a Theologian. While he never imposed his academic interests on my siblings or myself too rigorously, there were still plenty of debates and discussions about faith, scripture, and religion. I believe implicit in those engagements was the possibility of arguing against certain tenets of the faith we were raised on.
One Sunday my father emphasized after mass how the story of Adam and Eve can be interpreted poetically rather than literally. From there I started to think about evolution and some of the clear facts we have in place about the origin of homo sapiens. But then that complicates the notion of original sin, which in turn complicates the notion of Christ dying for the sins of man, etc..
You can see where my mind was going.
By growing up in a religious household that put greater emphasis on intellect than on faith, I now in retrospect feel that I was almost raised not to be Catholic.
When you start asking questions, faith becomes increasingly difficult. My journey with Catholicism is hardly complete, but for now I’m still just interested in asking the questions with both rigor and respect. To my pleasant surprise, so is Mike Flanagan.
Set on a lonely, fictional island (I’m guessing it’s supposed to be just off the coast of Maine), the series follows an…