Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Religiousploitation

Religiousploitation films include those with religious themes as well as those created specifically for proselytizing, but this Exploitation movie sub-genre usually exploits a common belief or fear of the religious. The Devil Flick is probably the most ubiquitous of the Religiousploitation films but Apocalyptic themes draw a close second.

Devil Flicks are a specific sub-genre that usually involve possession. Sometimes, Ghost Flicks are lumped-in here as well, but general Supernatural or Occult films are not necessarily a good fit. Devil Flicks also include a wide range of movies that have no overt religious themes or implications aside from the existence of demons and their ability to impact the natural world. Whatever the mythology involved, the end result is that there is no scientific explanation for the Menace or its abilities, leaving only a Supernatural one. The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, and Evil Dead are all examples of Devil Flicks.

Apocalyptic themes have persisted since the Dawn of Man but their popularity as the subject for Christian-themed fiction soared in the late 1990s, spanning a sub-genre of Religiousploitation flicks.
While Rapture movies target the Christian market and this sub-genre is dedicated to them, Apocalyptic themes had been a popular staple of pop-culture and entertainment throughout the 1980s, particularly in science-fiction. While the Turn of the Century certainly played some part in the popularity of The Rapture as subject matter, the most successful of these franchises spans 16 novels, four movies, and a major Hollywood reboot is scheduled for future release. It started in 1995 and continues to this day.

Religiousploitation films do not necessarily have to choose sides in the religious debate. John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness falls into the Religiousploitation field due to subject matter but concerns itself more with the Lovecraftian concept that there are simply Things Man Should Not Know - "Religion trumps Science," in the phrasing of that film. Prince of Darkness is also a Devil Flick but only on a technicality for the purposes of this example.


Copyright 2014, The Weirding

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