Hansen, Regina, Ed.: Roman Catholicism in Fantastic Film: Essays on Belief, Spectacle, Ritual and Imagery

By Kelley, Kate S. | Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview

Hansen, Regina, Ed.: Roman Catholicism in Fantastic Film: Essays on Belief, Spectacle, Ritual and Imagery


Kelley, Kate S., Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts


Hansen, Regina, ed. Roman Catholicism in Fantastic Film: Essays on Belief, Spectacle, Ritual and Imagery. Jefferson: McFarland, 2011. 289 pp. Paperback. ISBN 978-0-7864-6474-6. $45.00.

This collection of twenty-one essays Regina Hansen has put together under the title Roman Catholicism in Fantastic Film: Essays on Belief, Spectacle, Ritual and Imagery is insightful in many ways. Filmmakers do indeed produce profound effects when they make use of Catholicism's "supernatural claims, its rituals and artifacts, its moral exigencies and contradictions" (1). The notion that guides the first of the three sections of Hansen's book is "Marvelous Catholicism," a characterization that speaks to the ways "both Catholicism as a religious tradition and film as an art form have used spectacle in to evoke a sense of the fantastic-marvelous" (5). "Uncanny Catholicism," the guiding theme of the second section, is located first in the eighteenth-century Gothic novel and moves into the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through Gothic archetypes associated with the immigration of Catholics into America, working to highlight the sense of Catholics as ethnic other in an ostensibly Protestant culture. The third and final section of the anthology is called "Ridiculous and Monstrous Catholicism," which Hansen locates in filmmakers' use of the trope of fantastic Catholicism to "satirize or critique" (13) the tradition.

John Regan's essay, "'When the Saints Go Marching In': Saints, Money and the Global Marketplace in Danny Boyle's Millions," begins the first section. His analysis of Millions rests on the argument that at its core the film is a fable with the message "money can both corrupt and cure" (17). His argument bears out through nuanced descriptions of Damien's "naivety and unquestioned faith" (20) in the Catholic Saints who appear to him. By pointing to the Saints' various historical opinions about wealth, along with their sometimes comical oddities, his analysis cleverly preserves the fantastical atmosphere of Damien's experience. The next essay in Hansen's collection, "Blasphemy in the Name of Fantasy," is Christopher McKittrick's reading of Terry Gilliam's films through the lens of Christian theology. His analysis spans a great many of Gilliam's films, from his work in Monty Python to his recent offering The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Pointing to doctrinal differences between Reformation thinkers and medieval theologians, McKittrick concludes that Gilliam's treatment of topics such as sin, free will, redemption, and evil bear out as particularly Catholic regardless of Gilliam's Protestant upbringing.

Despite the incorrect statement that opens the next chapter, "J. R. R. Tolkien was, as is well known, a Catholic from birth" (41; Tolkien was in fact born into a Protestant family), Em McAvan's essay, "Sacramentality Between Catholicism and the New Age in Lord of the Rings," offers an interesting analysis of the trilogy. In light of its recent cinematic incarnations, McAvan asks, is "The Lord of the Rings ... a Catholic novel and a New Age series of films?" (48). The answer for McAvan lies in the various representations of the Catholic principal of sacramentality in conversation with consumer-friendly New Age movements. In the films, this effects a kind of layering of meaning "in which New Age meanings lie on top of earlier Catholic models" (49). The following chapter, "'The Devil Made Me Do It,'" takes a different tack than the previous essays. Rick Pieto uses interviews with four horror fans to demonstrate that "discursive formations such as religion" have more bearing on "what [the participants] believed to be true ... than any real experience with possessed humans, demons or satanic children" (52).

The last chapters in this first section analyze first exorcism films and then films focused on Marian imagery in the context of religio-political clashes with the institution of the Catholic Church and its most powerful representative, the Pope. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Hansen, Regina, Ed.: Roman Catholicism in Fantastic Film: Essays on Belief, Spectacle, Ritual and Imagery
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.