Horror in the Garden of Eden

Tree of Knowledge

Garden of Eden

That’s right folks. So begins our travels through the countless lands of the bible. I figured the best place to start was at the beginning. For those of you unfamiliar, here is how the story goes.


God makes man and woman and tells them they can eat anything in The Garden of Eden, EXCEPT the fruit from one tree in particular. A snake (the devil) tricks Eve into eating from the tree (although it is worth mentioning that it took very little convincing). Eve then shares the fruit with her husband. God finds out, trouble ensues.



If we take the plot of this account down to its skeleton, we can find it in countless horror stories. Someone is warned not to do something. They are tricked or convinced to do it anyway. They then suffer the consequences.

In fact, that skeletal plot isn’t even limited to “horror stories”. You’ll find that plot EVERYWHERE.

This Plot in Horror:

So what makes the account of The Garden a “horror story”? For one thing, it has a character that can turn any tale from mundane to horrific. Namely, the devil.

Nearly everyone understands that the devil is a symbol for unrelenting evil. So with his mere mention, we automatically know that all will not end well. With that knowing begins the all too familiar feeling of dread from which all true horror is established.

This is the structure for the “deal with the devil” type plots, which are pervasive in all types of horror fiction. “Needful Things”, “Rumpelstiltskin”, “The Hellbound Heart” (aka Hellraiser), “The Box”; in all of these you’ll find “the devil” convincing ordinary people to do things we all know they shouldn’t. They do them anyway, of course, and in so doing we become anxious because we know things will not turn out “for the better”.

It rings true to our human condition. We are all susceptible to temptation; eager to do those things that aren’t within our own moral compass solely because we can somehow benefit. We sympathize with these stories because we recognize part of ourselves in them, a small part but a part all the same. After all, who wouldn’t sacrifice themselves to save the life of their child/mother/father/spouse?

If that isn’t enough to be horrified about, just think we have Eve to thank for back-breaking work and pain in child birth.

I don’t care who you are, that’s horror right there.


~ by Charlie Edgar on October 20, 2011.

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