Hollywood’s New Mythology

  • Author(s): Neil P. Hurley
  • When: 1983-01
  • Where: Theology Today
  • As popular art, motion pictures provide clues to the unconscious collective mind and suggest the direction of a culture. Alfred Hitchcock's pictures of the fifties and sixties (Rear Window, Psycho, Frenzy) mirrored the growing instability and fear of our contemporary world. Similarly, box-office attractions of the recent past provide valuable "peep-holes" into American society, its character and values. The perceptive critic can discern the outline of a new blend of religious and secular mythology in such films as Superman I and II, Star Wars I and II, Star Trek / and II, Conan the Barbarian, The Thing, Trott, Blade Runner, and E.T. These films have had broad popular appeal, provoking film critics to ask why the preference for such fantasy costume dramas. Let us look more closely at these movies to see what we can learn about the imagination of American youth, the largest patron group for the films mentioned.

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