How Catholic Symbolism, Mysticism Feeds Horror in Mass Media

Hollywood has a long tradition of drawing inspiration from diverse sources, but according to Dr. Regina Hansen, editor of Giving the Devil His Due: Satan and Cinema, one of the movie industry’s favorite creative wellsprings is the Catholic Church, thanks in large part to the religion’s relationship with the supernatural.

Writing for The Conversation, Dr. Hansen, faculty coordinator of the Metropolitan College online Undergraduate Degree Completion Program (UDCP) and a master lecturer of rhetoric at BU’s College of General Studies, cited the recent vampire-centric Netflix series, Midnight Mass, as the latest evidence of the longtime trend. Filmmakers like Mike Flanagan, creator of Midnight Mass, draw parallels between rituals like receiving communion and the symbolism of awakening the undead. It’s all a part of humanity’s quest to make sense of the world through prisms of good and evil, Hansen explains.

Read more about the connections between religion and the horror genre in The Conversation.