88: The Fascinating Rise of the Horror Genre—Dr. E. Michael Jones (video segment- full audio below)
Ever wonder about the origins of scary movies and disturbing novels? E. Michael Jones, founder and editor of Culture Wars www.culturewars.com magazine and the author of over a dozen books on Catholic faith and culture, locates the horror genre in the chaotic wake of the Enlightenment.
The first horror novel is considered to be Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Or the Modern Prometheus. Most people are unaware of the severely dysfunctional, occultic, and thoroughly Enlightenment family context in which Mary Shelley was raised and into which she married (her family history and that of her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley’s read like a bad novella).
These people embraced the political and sexual revolution ignited by the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Bad consequences were the result. Much of this trauma and chaos got internalized by writers and artists and the horror genre was born, beginning with Frankenstein and then extended by Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
In this episode you will learn:
- Why the hidden history of horror in film and fiction is tied to revolution, first, the French, then the Russian, and then the Sexual Revolution
- How artists who rationalized their own sexual misbehavior told stories that covertly revealed the cost of disobeying the dictates of conscience
- The connection between The Creature of the Black Lagoon (1854) and The Shape of Water (2017)
- The role that abandonment from the Christian, hence reasonable, view of sexual expression played in the rise of the horror films of the 70s and 80s
- The way in which many horror films are actually highly moralistic
- How Dracula is a reworked version of Christianity (hint: it’s all about the meaning of blood—shedding vs sucking)
Resources recommended in this episode:
Monsters From the Id: The Rise of Horror in Film and Fiction by E. Michael Jones
Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control by E. Michael Jones
Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalized Sexual Misbehavior by E. Michael Jones
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Question of the week
How can a horror story be a vehicle for evangelization, no matter how inadvertent?
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