Hell Is Coming Here: Cthulhu Cosmology in Hellboy

  David McConeghy In the four issues of the Dark Horse Comics mini-series Hellboy: Seed of Destruction (1994), readers meet the titular demon Hellboy, who arrived in the world thanks to a Nazi “Doomsday” ritual led by Russian occult figure Grigori Rasputin. If this sounds familiar, you may have caught the popular 2004 movie adaptation directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Or you may recall the small but persistent interest connecting Hitler and occultism. As fodder for Hollywood blockbusters such as Indiana Jones, Hitler’s desire for religious objects such as the Ark of the Covenant has become an expression of the devotional elements of […]

Jesus Christ Movie Star: A Brief History of Religion and Cinema

By S. Brent Plate In the beginning was the Jesus film . . . The birth of cinema dates from the Lumière brother’s first public screening for a paying audience in a Paris café in December 1895. The following decade saw at least a half-dozen filmed versions of the life and passion of Jesus Christ and a handful of Moses films. Some of these were even made by the inventors of cinema themselves, Thomas Edison and Louis Lumière. Soon after the birth of film, the “father” of Indian film, D. G. Phalke, was inspired by a film of the life […]

Sacred Spinebusters, Transcendent Toe Holds, Part One: The Confluence of Religion and Professional Wrestling

By Dan Mathewson Professional wrestling: oh, how I love it! I love its glitz, its glamor, its over-the-top, in-your-face bluster. I love that it presents itself as a hyper-masculine testosterone-fest, and yet its wrestlers prance around in bedazzling costumes, wear more makeup than Tammy Faye, and play-act in melodramas too outlandish for even the daytime Soaps. Above all, I love the skill, artistry, and even beauty of its violent faux-fighting. Now, I understand that a declaration of love for professional wrestling is probably not something many would expect from a college professor with a PhD in Religion. It’s sort of like […]

Noah: An Unrighteous Man

  By Jacob L. Wright The editors of Sacred Matters appreciated my comments on the film Noah in the video above, and they asked me to set it in context for their readers. What is included in this clip is just a short section of a much longer interview. I don’t offer a review of the film itself, whether it’s better than “the book.” My aim is rather to challenge the vocal criticism of the film by the religious right. I claim that it’s perfectly legitimate for the film’s creators to embellish the biblical story and to take it in […]

The Bible in Comics: Genesis

  By Beth Davies-Stofka, PhD The Bible was written on scrolls, papyri, and parchment and rendered in languages ancient or dead. For some religious people, it would seem an act of disrespect, if not sacrilege, to translate its stories and lessons into pictures. Yet down the centuries, countless believers have eagerly translated the Bible into art, sculpture, music, and architecture. To encounter the Bible in art is to encounter the reverence, the joy, and even the missionary zeal of the artist. In the most notable examples, we also feel the artist’s curiosity, the will to explore the unexplored dimensions of his […]

Why I Still Love Disney, or, Imagineering Religion

  By S. Brent Plate This is the sign that hangs over the entrance to Disneyland, less than an hour from where I grew up in Southern California. I realize some people save up for years to drive the kids in the family truckster to Orlando or Anaheim to see such a place, but I got to go there all the time. Friends and friends of friends always seemed to have passes and we’d go to explore, as well as create a little mischief, even if for just a few hours in an evening. Today, I could draw a quite […]