Vampires and the New Testament

In an earlier Halloween post for TTC, I wrote on the theological significance of horror fiction.  One Halloween night at Berry College I discussed the theological significance of zombies in particular.  This year I present you, the reader, with a long overdue commentary on the classic vampire movie The Last Man on Earth, starring Vincent Price.

The Last Man on Earth is one of several movies based on the book I Am Legend.  (You may be more familiar with a more recent adaptation, I Am Legend starring Will Smith.  But I haven’t seen that one.  Maybe someone else can write about it next Halloween!)

Note: This post contains spoilers!

The Last Man on Earth is about the lone human being possessing immunity to a plague that has ruined the rest of the human race, changing them into vampires.  He spends his days slaughtering the vampires who haunt his city—and his nights hiding from them behind the protection of walls and sprigs of garlic.

One day he meets a woman who has not been transformed by the plague.  He soon learns two things about her: that she also has the vampire bug, and that she comes from a whole community of such people—people who have the bug but have not been wholly corrupted by it.  He also learns that his blood can cure them of the vampire bug.

An unwilling Christ figure: the vampire slayer and savior

Unfortunately, the people he can save aren’t too fond of him because he’s been killing them.

To make a long story short: They attack, and he is killed; but by then his blood has already been used to heal the woman, and thus they can all be healed.  As he dies he curses the inhuman vampires, saying, “I am a man.  The last man.”

One more thing: He dies in a church, before the altar, pierced by a spear, arms spread out in the shape of a cross.

Paul says in Romans 5 that Jesus Christ is the second Adam.  Because of his sin Adam was the prototype for the sinful human beings we all are: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”  Christ is what Adam should have been: a sinless man.  He is the only sinless man on earth.  He is the only man untainted by sin, and the prototype for the new, sinless human being we have the chance to become through him: “so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”

Death.  Sacrifice.  The blood of one shed for the saving of others.  That’s about half of the gospel illustrated in this film.

Here’s the other half from Romans 6: The Resurrection and the new life:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? . . . We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. . . . For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. . . . Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

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