Faith Horror

Cinematic Visions of Satanism, Paganism and Witchcraft, 1966–1978


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About the Book

Faith horror refers to a significant outcropping of mid-1960s and 1970s films and adaptative novels that depict non-Christian communities of evil doers and their activities. Before this period, the classical horror villain was ultimately ineffectual. The demonic monster was an isolated, lone individual easily vanquished by an altruistic Christian protagonist. Alternatively, the villain in faith horror is organized into identity-affirming, likeminded religious congregations that successfully overcome protagonists. Faith horror was a cinematic trend that depicted Satanism, witchcraft and paganism during a cultural deliberation over the “Death of God,” which debated the legitimacy of alternative spiritualities and the value of alliance to any faith at all. Covering popular works like Rosemary’s Baby, The Wicker Man and The Omen, this book regards these films and their literary sources in relation to this historical moment, providing new ways of understanding both the period and the faith horror movement more generally.

About the Author(s)

LMK Sheppard is a film, television and media lecturer at Palomar College. She has published an article on Rosemary’s Baby for a special edition of Film Journal entitled “Screening the Supernatural.” She lives in Norwich, Norfolk in the United Kingdom.

Bibliographic Details

LMK Sheppard

Foreword by Peter Laws
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 269
Bibliographic Info: 7 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8161-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4416-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Peter Laws 1
Introduction 5

Section I. Witchcraft, Satanism and the Apocalypse
One. Consumerism, Secularism and Faith in Rosemary’s Baby 27
Two. Predestination, Secrecy and Conspiracy in The Omen 56
Three. The Cult of Youth in the “B” Horror Film 78

Section II. Paganism as an Alternative Culture
Four. Ritual and the Rural in Anglo-American Co-Productions 111
Five. A Clash of Convictions in The Wicker Man 141
Six. Paganism, Witchcraft and the Feminine in American Horror 165
Conclusions, After-Thoughts and Legacies: The Conjuring, The Witch, Midsommar and the Post-Millennial Faith Horror 195

Chapter Notes 229
Bibliography 243
Index 253