Religious studies

BACKGROUND===> As early as 1912, Rudolf Otto used the newly developed cinematic genre of the Horror Film to speak about the mysterium tremendum et fascinans (terror and fascination) which encounter with the Holy evokes. (I have often speculated that Otto was thinking of “Nosferatu” an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Drcula.) Scary films are fraught with the sense of the supernatural and often trigger responses that remind the viewer of his/her creaturliness (absolute vulnerability) in the face of forces beyond human control. Often at stake is the sense of our finitude in the face of infinity. Infinity of anything is an overwhelming and potentially terrifying prospect. It is perhaps ironic to think in this regard that although ecstasy may be a glimpse of eternity, horror is the actual experience of it. It is quite interesting to see the ongoing and ever re-ermerging popularity of the Vampire genre. I think of, for example, the new HBO series True Blood, Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, the creative retelling of the original vampire film “Nosforatu” within “Shadow of the Vampire”, or the cinematic rendition of the popular Anne Rice novels in “Interview With A Vampire” as examples of this popular horror genre. Among other issues, focus on the vampire portrays a form of systemic evil while posing questions about the meaning and purpose of life, the fear of death, and the dreadful predatorial dynamics of a human existence that must kill to self perpetuate, as well as some other perplexing ethical issues. Yet, that film and the series of books it represents barely scratches the surface of the hugely popular genre. THE ACTUAL ASSIGNMENT YOU NEED TO WRITE ABOUT========>>> So, for this assignment, I would like you to choose a film that deals with the surreal, the silence of God, or something from among the scariest films of all time. If you choose a horror film, feel free to make your case for its inclusion in the alltime HORROR HALL of FAME (If you are really squeamish, you may substitute a suspense thriller for a horror film…but be sure to discuss its religious and/or mythic implications.) Or you may want to discuss a piece of alarming literature, I know I certainly found Poe very darkly disturbing yet fascinating as a child, and Kafka was certainly a shock to my system and psyche as an adult, but we will deal with them more later…

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