Sacred Terror examines the religious elements lurking in horror films. It answers a simple but profound question: When there are so many other scary things around, why is religion so often used to tell a scary story? In this lucid, provocative book, Douglas Cowan argues that horror films are opportune vehicles for externalizing the fears that lie inside our religious selves: of evil; of the flesh; of sacred places; of a change in the sacred order; of the supernatural gone out of control; of death, dying badly, or not remaining dead; of fanaticism; and of the power--and the powerlessness--of religion.
Douglas E. Cowan (Ph.D. University of Calgary) is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Social Development Studies, Renison College, University of Waterloo. The author or editor of nine books, his most recent publications include: Cults and New Religions: A Brief History (with David G. Bromley, 2007), Cyberhenge: Modern Pagans on the Internet (2005), and Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet (with Lorne L. Dawson; 2004).
Preface 1. Tickets, Please An Introduction to Sacred Terror2. Lying at the Heart of Horror Religion and Horror on the Silver Screen 3. Angels to Some, Demons to Others Fear of Change in the Sacred Order 4. No Sanctuary Ambivalence and the Fear of Sacred Places 5. Stalking Life The Fear of Death and of Dying Badly 6. Mainstreaming Satan Fear of Supernatural Evil Internalized and Externalized 7. The Unholy Human Fear of Fanaticism and Fear of the Flesh 8. Curtain and House Lights Possibility Persists in the World Outside the Frame Filmography Bibliography Index