Roman Catholicism in Fantastic Film

Essays on Belief, Spectacle, Ritual and Imagery

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About the Book

The intersection of religious practice and theatricality has long been a subject of interest to scholars. This collection of twenty-two critical essays addresses the relationship between Roman Catholicism and films of the fantastic, which includes the genres of fantasy, horror, science fiction and the supernatural. The collection covers a range of North American and European films from Dracula and other vampire movies to Miracle at Fatima, The Exorcist, Danny Boyle’s Millions, The Others, Maurice Pialat’s Sous le Soleil de Satan, the movies of Terry Gilliam and George Romero’s zombie series. Collectively, these essays reveal the durability and thematic versality of what the authors term the “Catholic fantastic.”

About the Author(s)

Regina Hansen is a senior lecturer at Boston University College of General Studies. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Regina Hansen
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 304
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6474-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8724-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

Introduction 2

Section One: Marvelous Catholicism

ìWhen the Saints Go Marching Inî: Saints, Money andthe Global Marketplace in Danny Boyle’s Millions (John Regan) 17

Blasphemy in the Name of Fantasy: The Films of Terry Gilliam in a Catholic Context (Christopher McKittrick) 29

Sacramentality Between Catholicism and the New Age inThe Lord of the Rings (Em McAvan) 41

ìThe Devil Made Me Do Itî: Catholicism, Verisimilitude and the Reception of Horror Films (Rick Pieto) 52

ìThe Power of Christ Compels Youî: Moral Spectacle and The Exorcist Universe (Alexandra Heller≠Nicholas) 65

Our Lady of F·tima and Marian Myth in Portuguese Cinema (Paulo Cunha and Daniel Ribas) 81

Section Two: Uncanny Catholicism

Music That Sucks and Bloody Liturgy: Catholicism in Vampire Movies (Isabella van Elferen) 97

ìThe Blood Is the Lifeî: Roman Catholic Imagery in Vampire Films of the 1930s (Ann Kordas) 114

House of Horrors: Brideshead Revisited at the Movies (Kathleen E. Urda) 126

Drying Blood: De≠sexualization and Style in Paul Schrader’s Cat People (Marco Grosoli) 140

Something in the Dark: Race, Faith, Horror and the Other (Ralph Beliveau) 152

Section Three: Ridiculous and Monstrous Catholicism

Reversing the Gospel of Jesus: How the Zombie Theme Satirizes the Resurrection of the Body and the Eucharist (Jana Toppe) 169

Kin Dza Dza! Christianity and Its Transformations Across Space (Margarita Georgieva) 183

Murder Mystery Meets Sacred Mystery: The Catholic Sacramental in Hitchcock’s I Confess (Barry C. Knowlton and Eloise R. Knowlton) 196

Catholic Moral Teaching as a Fantastic Element in Gone Baby Gone (Brett Gaul) 209

The ìFantasticî Roman Catholic Church in Italian Cinema (Victoria Surliuga) 219

The Satanic Saint in Maurice Pialat’s Sous le soleil de Satan (Christa Jones) 232

Dark Imperative: Kant, Sade and Catholicism in Jess Franco’s Exorcism (David Annandale) 244

Killer Priests: The Last Taboo? (Shelley F. O’Brien) 256

Mad Drunken Exorcists: The Decline of the Hero Priest (Regina Hansen) 268

Otherness in The Others: Haunting the Catholic Other, Humanizing the Self (Anabel Altemir Giral and Ismael Ib·Òez Rosales) 275

About the Contributors 287

Index 291


Book Reviews & Awards

“the diversity of the essays makes the book fascinating”—The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture; “this volume provides a helpful consideration of the important influences and contributions of Roman Catholicism to horror, fantasy, science fiction and other expressions of the fantastic”—TheoFantastique.