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Sacred Terror: Religion and Horror on the Silver Screen Hardcover – October 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Baylor University Press (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602580189
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602580183
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Proving that the genre of horror film belongs firmly in the interest of religious studies, Douglas Cowan offers an ample map of where any interested, and perhaps somewhat scared, scholar might turn to revisit this ancient form of storytelling. In the end, we learn about what horror might have to say to the human, beyond the death-life divide. --S. Brent Plate, Associate Professor of Religion and the Visual Arts, Texas Christian University, and author of Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-creation of the World

Readers should take up this darkly pleasurable book... A remarkably engaging colloquial work on the salience of religion for the neglected genre of horror films... Recommended. All readers, all levels. --CHOICE

Well written and expertly organized, this book will certainly be exciting to movie buffs, and, because of its central emphasis upon the cultural and religious angst inherent in horror movies, will appeal to the intelligent thinker. American Studies scholars may find it a welcome exploration into a topic little explored in American scholarship. --Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas, November 2009 (Vol. 40)

Up to now, horror films have been largely neglected or denigrated by scholars of religion and film. Doug Cowan offers a new approach, arguing that religious elements are central to the success of horror. He effectively debunks the myth that modern secular rationalism has banished the ghosts of the past, demonstrating that religion-related fears of death, damnation, supernatural forces, and religious "others" often support the continuing ability of horror to terrify and create frisson. A book that is both entertaining and important! --John Lyden, Professor and Chair of Religion, Dana College

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...both entertaining and important! -John Lyden

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Annable on November 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dr Cowan has written a lucid and interesting book that takes a good look at the presence and use of religion in horror movies. From the time-worn classics of the early days of cinema to the modern FX infused extravaganzas, Dr Cowan shows us that time and again, movie-makers tap into a number of religious themes to thrill audiences.

From from the fear of an eternity of undeath to the horrors of Satanist cults, "Sacred Terror" is an entertaining look at post-modern religious ambivalences that will leave you wanting to pick up a stack of old B-movies and watch through the night. Though Dr Cowan's knowledge of religions is clear throughout, so to is his near spotless grasp of the horror genre. You come away from each chapter feeling like you've learned something about a movie you've probably seen a dozen times.

Keep an eye out for the proposed follow up books dealing with religion in sci-fi ("Sacred Space") and fantasy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Demonic creatures, the undead, and evil are all vaguely religious concepts. "Sacred Terror: Religion and Horror on the Silver Screen" is a discussion of the strong presence of religion in horror films. Saying that horror films tend to prey on the religious sense that exists in most people, even those who are not exactly weekly church goers, author Douglas Cowan discusses many examples of popular movies and the most common fears used in these films. "Sacred Terror" is a key volume to better understanding horror and why it's frightening.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve A. Wiggins on April 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a sometime religion professor with a penchant for fright flicks, I eagerly purchased Cowan's book when it was first announced. I was intrigued by Cowan's contention that religion lies at the heart of horror. Indeed, one may think of them as fellow ventricles in the anatomy of fear. Perhaps ancient religionists were on to something when one of them penned "the Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him" (Ps 147.11). Religion may be a response to fear, or to a world that for us has become natural and upon which we wish to project a human (or divine) face. Cowan's book is not preachy or proselytizing, but rather a sensible approach to how horror movies utilize religious images, themes, and concepts. Even without having seen many of the films he discusses, I was impressed by the case he builds. An additional benefit to the book is that it provides a substantial filmography that has provided material to keep me awake on many a moonless night!
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By Charles J. Mcpeak on June 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
VERY good book!
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