Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

Here's the thing about making vampires angry: They hold grudges.

Take Vlad Dracula Tepes, the country of Wallachia's homegrown boogieman. For years, he kept to himself in his castle, all the impaled skeletons planted in his front yard serving as a "no solicitors" sign. He didn't want much to do with humanity—nor they with him—until Lisa, a would-be doctor from a nearby village, stopped by looking for "secret knowledge." Oddly, they hit it off. And the next thing you know, they're married, with Dracula seemingly swearing off hemoglobin hors d'oeuvres forever.

About 20 years later, the local bishop stopped by Lisa's house (she and Vlad apparently lived separately, for some reason) and saw a bunch of science-y stuff scattered about. Well, science equals witchcraft, as anyone in Wallachia knows, and witches are entitled to a complimentary burning at the stake.

Did I say entitled? Sorry. It's more of an obligation, really.

Dracula was not pleased with his wife's death, naturally (unnaturally?), and now the people of Wallachia are paying mightily. The vampire has summoned a diabolical army, and it's working its way through the country, town by town, slaying every living being Vlad's minions can sink their claws into. Dracula won't rest until the soil is steeped in blood, the ground covered in corpses, the air filled with the stench of decay.

Unless, that is, the handsome-yet-disgraced vampire hunter Trevor Belmont can put a stop to the carnage.

From Button Masher to Blood Gusher

Netflix's show Castlevania is based on something almost as old as Dracula himself: Konami's mostly beloved Castlevania video game series.

The franchise came into being way back in 1986, when mullets were hip, video games restricted themselves to an 8-bit diet and game plots were something of an afterthought. The original Castlevania pitted Simon Belmont and his vampire-killing whip against Dracula and his monster-filled castle. The Netflix show seems to be, I guess, "based' on 1989's Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.

But Netflix's subscribers presumably demand a bit more than a linear 8-bit story these days, and they want more graphic graphics.

Boy, is this version graphic.

Castlevania has transmogrified from its videogame roots into a lavish, anime-style production 31 years later, complete with many of the problems that this oft-adult form of entertainment can entail.

Or should I say entrail? Because we certainly see a lot of those. Spines are ripped from bodies. Heads are bashed against walls. Blood runs like bathwater. Language is extraordinarily foul—certainly like nothing we would've heard in the original game or even in 15th-century Wallachia, I'm sure. And while the show hasn't animated any sexual acts as of yet, the very first episode offered a pretty graphic spoken interlude involving bestiality.

All of this, of course, is deeply problematic—particularly for younger viewers who might scan their Netflix cues and stumble onto something that looks like a tween-centric cartoon.

But it gets worse.

I Vant to Turn Off Zee TV!

While Dracula is the show's primary antagonist, Castlevania's real villain is, apparently, the Church.

It was the local Bishop, after all, who burned Dracula's wife at the stake as priests scowled and brandished crosses. Lisa cries out in anguish to her absent husband, "Don't hurt them! They don't know what they're doing!" (Purposefully reflecting Jesus' own pleas from the cross, naturally.) Crazy for the bishop to think that she'd be in league with the devil when she's only married to, y'know, a guy whose house is surrounded by the corpses of his murdered victims and has the power to call up an army from the "guts of hell" …

And what about those naive, superstitious peasants? Thank goodness that Lisa and her husband had shoved aside all that superstition nonsense in exchange for rigorous, secular science! Like, um, vampirism and monsters, and, oh yes, the blood raining from the sky ...

Yes, the only real theological consistency we get from Castlevania is that anything smacking of Christianity is the real devil here. The vampire who's already killed hundreds of people and wants to kill lots, lots more? Well, he lost his wife, poor guy. Sure, he overreacted, but hey, he's a victim, here!

The original Castlevania game looks pretty rudimentary to us. It's simple. It's a little silly. It certainly wasn't made with the sort of technology available to us today. But even so, it's worth more of your time than the Netflix show that it's based upon.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Castlevania: July 6, 2017 "Witchbottle"



Readability Age Range



Voices of Richard Armitage as Trevor Belmont; James Callis as Adrian Tepes (Alucard); Graham McTavish as Vlad Dracula Tepes; Alejandra Reynoso as Sypha Belnades; Tony Amendola as The Elder; Matt Frewer as the Bishop; Emily Swallow as Lisa Tepes






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!