Author Topic: Douglas E. Cowan's "Sacred Terror"  (Read 2975 times)

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Offline BoyScoutKevin

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Re: Douglas E. Cowan's "Sacred Terror"
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2010, 09:00:58 PM »
If I can't recommend "Sacred Terror" to fans of Russell, I can recommend another book "Touchstones of Gothic Horror" by David Huckvale, especially as the author who is a fan of "Lisztomania" talks about how that film is the most gothic of all of Ken's films. He also talks about how Russell touched upon the gothic theme in "Gothic" and "Lair of the White Worm," as well. The touchstone in these films  being, of course, Ken's use of gothic satire.

The only thing I have against "Tochstones of Gothic Horror" is that it is something of a hard slog to read all the way through.

Next time: Ken's Kids

Offline BoyScoutKevin

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Re: Douglas E. Cowan's "Sacred Terror"
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2010, 10:58:51 PM »
Die Hard!!!

Yes, "Die Hard," which is one of the reasons I have a hard time recommending this book to anyone, fans of Russell or not, but . . .

One of the strengths of Ken's films is their "richness." For as many times as you see one of his films, there's always something new to see, or somebody points out something new to you. For example, film critic Ken Hanke points out, that while "The Devils" is the better of the two films, "The Lair of the White Worm" is the less controversial, because of its lighter tone. But I wonder if the tone of the two films is not closer than one suspects.

Looking at an extensive collection of stills from the film, while "The Devils" starts out as harrowing, the images become so exaggerated, that the film almost becomes comedic. Meanwhile, "The Lair of the White Worm" starts out as comedic, but becomes increasingly harrowing.

And I wonder if "The Lair of the White Worm" is not the more anti-Catholic of the two films. While the heroes are ineffective, they are likable and Father Grandier (Oliver Reed) is a "likable Catholic" despite his flaws, as are some of this parishioners. On the other hand the most "likable Catholic" in "The Lair of the White Worm" is Eve Trent (Catherine Oxenberg), and I don't know if she is all that likable.

And while the villains are effective in "The Devils," none of them are particularly likable. On the other hand, the villainess and anti-Catholic Lady Sylvia Marsh (Amanda Donohoe) is not particularly effective in "The Lair of the White Worm," but she is the most likable character in the film.

Next time: a book I can recommend for Russell's fans.



Offline Iain Fisher

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Re: Douglas E. Cowan's "Sacred Terror"
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2010, 12:42:25 AM »
Die Hard!!!

Offline BoyScoutKevin

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Douglas E. Cowan's "Sacred Terror"
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2010, 11:43:31 PM »
Notable more for what is not in it, then what is.

Little mention of Russell.
No "The Devils"
No "Gothic"
and no mention of anyother of Russell's films, except . . .

"Lair of the White Worm" and most of the references to that film refer more to Stoker's book, then Russell's film.

Thus, I can't recommend "Sacred Terror" to any of Russell's fans.

I'm not even sure I can recommend it to any fan of the subject of religion in horror films. While I have not gotten past the first few pages, it doesn't appear to me to be that well written. And for a book that is subtitled "Religion and Horror on the Silver Screen," the author has a strange definition of horror. For what is the film "Die Hard" doing in this book.

Still . . .

As far as I know, this is the only book on the subject of religion in horror films. The reviews for the book, both from readers and the critics, have been mostly positive, and he--apparently--has two sequels on the way. One dealing with the subject of religion in fantasy films, and one dealing with the subject of religion in science fiction films. Maybe in the last book, the author will talk about Ken Russell and "Altered States."

Still, this has given me a reason to talk about Ken Russell, which we'll continue with next time.