Jesus: A Tale of Horror

British film critic Mark Kermode offers a horror-movie buff’s take on The Passion:

The Passion seems to me a quintessential horror film, a visceral cinematic assault which is no more or less ‘Christian’ than Ken Russell’s The Devils or Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant. All are examples of extreme movie-making from flamboyant film-makers who are passionately obsessed with the mysteries of Catholicism.

He also notes that in the credits we find make-up effects stalwarts Keith Vander Laan and Greg Cannom, horror graduates who honed their skills on shockers such as the vampiric epic Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the grisly modern-gothic chiller Hannibal. I was also interested to see elsewhere that Benedict Fitzgerald, who worked with Gibson on the script, provided the screenplay for Wise Blood, a brilliant piece of Southern Gothic from John Houston that had the great Brad Dourif (Lynch movies, Wormtongue) playing a very disturbed atheist preacher who sets up “the Church of Christ without Christ”.

Meanwhile, the book-of-the-film has been put out by Tyndale House, an odd choice as Tyndale’s Left Behind novels have been described as anti-Catholic by the Roman Catholic bishops of Illinois. Other movie tie-ins include nail pendants, the inevitable T-Shirt and a jewellery line from the man who brought us WWJD bracelets.

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