Hollywood’s End of Days: visions of Biblical apocalypse and the transposition of a secular science fiction film genre

Degouveia, Antonio (2016) Hollywood’s End of Days: visions of Biblical apocalypse and the transposition of a secular science fiction film genre. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Amid the often complex and paradoxical relationship between Hollywood and American Christianity lies the dichotomy between the archaic and the futuristic, and the way in which biblical beliefs have been intertwined into the seemingly discordant realm of science fiction.
Hollywood, as an institution that has often been regarded as pronouncedly secular, was once deemed at the opposite end of the cultural spectrum to American evangelical belief – in much the same way that science and religion are often identified as conflicting arenas of ideological latitude. My study lays emphasis to the fact that biblical allegory and religious cabal are now adopted by Hollywood on a frequent basis, and cinematic visions of apocalypse, incorporating ideas of biblical ‘myth’ and prophecy, are often framed within the machinations of science fiction.

What makes this development all the more intriguing is that, in effect, this represents an ideological inversion of what had not only been an expressly secular 20th century (sub)genre of science fiction cinema, but one which had often incorporated a denigration of religion as a whole. My key conceptual approach is based on close textual analyses of a body of contemporary apocalypse films that most effectively represents this ontological shift. As a cultural backdrop to post-9/11 America over the first decade of the 21st century, I examine the influence of ‘premillennial Dispensationalism’, or the form of evangelical belief that is intrinsically concerned with the biblical ‘endtime’, and thus with the future, and is ‘hermeneutically hungry’ for signs and prophecies that might signal the beginning of the end.

Correspondingly, I draw on Hollywood’s own accordant fascination with prophetical signs and codes and premonitions of apocalypse, and consider the socio-cultural intersection between premillennialist belief and post-9/11 social structures of trauma, paranoia, and neoconservatism.

This thesis ultimately contends that, since the turn of the century, perceptions of Premillennialist endtime belief has become an integral aspect of Hollywood’s apocalyptic vision, and this is something that informs a strong religious consciousness already at the heart of the American apocalyptic imagination.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Users 9280 not found.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2017 13:29
Last Modified: 31 May 2020 00:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/63604


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