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Sacred Terror: Religion and Horror on the Silver Screen Hardcover – October 1, 2008
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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
From the Inside Flap
...both entertaining and important! -John Lyden
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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.