“As God is My Witness: Martyrdom in Modern-Day Horror” in Scared Sacred: Idolatry, Religion and Worship in the Horror Film. eds Rebecca Booth, Valeska Griffiths & Erin Thompson. House of Leaves Publishing, 2020.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) and Martyrs (2008) tackle the subject of modern-day martyrdom in diverse and theologically nuanced ways. This chapter seeks to unpack the convoluted term “martyr” by drawing from its etymological origins, and tracing its redefinition across history. Culminating in an examination of both films—with an aim to isolate the differing conceptions of martyrdom and the resulting cultural impact of those conceptions—this analysis illustrates that the figure of the martyr is far from antiquated, no matter how far removed from its theological origin.