John Morehead

I work academically and popularly in the area of intercultural studies, and apply these insights to the sociological and cultural study of the fantastic in pop culture through TheoFantastique, my website that explores sci fi, fantasy, and horror.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes: A Welcome Addition to the Apes Mythological Canon

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: A Welcome Addition to the Apes Mythological Canon

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES – the new chapter in the PLANET OF THE APES series of films – is is an attempt by 20th Century Fox to breathe new life into the venerable franchise. This was a daunting task in that the film had to be done in such a way as to appeal to contemporary movie audiences, and yet also resonate with fans of the forty-three year-old Apes mythology. Thankfully, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES does not disappoint; it is a solid science fiction film that contributes fresh material to the PLANET OF THE APES canon.

THE RITE: Satan, Possession, and Unlikely Sources of Faith

THE RITE: Satan, Possession, and Unlikely Sources of Faith

The Devil and the related phenomenon of demonic possession, have been the source of several horror films for the years. Previous decades offered THE EXORCIST (1973), with its Roman Catholic perspective, and the various films that made up Protestant responses to it in THE OMEN (1976) and its sequels. Moving forward into more recent cinematic [...]

Music in the Horror Film: An Interview with Neil Lerner

Music in the Horror Film: An Interview with Neil Lerner

A few moments reflection on the horror movie experience reveals how important music is: PSYCHO, JAWS, HALLOWEEN. Unfortunately, while the images of horror have been the focus of much critical and academic discussion, little attention has been paid to the music. Addressing this deficit, Neil Lerner has edited the book Music in the Horror Film: Listening to Fear.

House of Usher: A Celebration of 1960 Review

House of Usher: A Celebration of 1960 Review

Although many younger television and movie fans may think that the 1970s represent an archaic time in entertainment, there were certain advantages to growing up during this period. One was that television was all about local markets, and this made it necessary for local stations to find programming that would keep the viewer’s attention. One [...]

Book of Eli on DVD: The Use and Abuse of Religion

Book of Eli on DVD: The Use and Abuse of Religion

The recent release of THE BOOK OF ELI (2010) on DVD provides an opportunity for a reassessment of important elements within its story. Viewers with religious convictions have interpreted the film in strongly positive and negative terms; however, another reading is plausible that avoids these extremes. Taking into account its late-modern-Western and post-9/11 context, THE BOOK OF ELI may be interpreted as a film that urges caution in the use of religion by both its practitioners and the irreligious – who variously objectify religion and justify violence in fundamentalist fashion while failing to heed the message of religion or recognize its power as a form of social control and a tool for oppression.

Legion (2010)

Legion (2010)

Action-Horror Meets Postmodern Angelic Apocalyptic
In 1975 evangelist Billy Graham first published his book Angels: God’s Secret Agents. The book would go through numerous printings and inform popular angelology for Protestant Christians for years. In the 21st century angels are still the subject of interest in popular culture, but they are no longer secret, and with [...]

Favorites Nightmares from Elm Street: Sleep, Dreams, and Discerning Reality

Favorites Nightmares from Elm Street: Sleep, Dreams, and Discerning Reality

Although I have never been a fan of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET films, Freddy Krueger, or slasher films in general, there are several aspects of the series that I find intriguing. They are all related, arising out of Freddy’s ability to enter into the consciousness of his victims as they sleep in order to [...]

The Changing Face of Biblical Horror & Fantasy Films

The Changing Face of Biblical Horror & Fantasy Films

Recent Hollywood horror movies exploit Biblical themes – but in a post-modern context far removed from traditional religious values.
Recently, Cinefantastique Online’s administrator-editor, Steve Biodrowski, brought an article to my attention from earlier this month and asked for my feedback. The article was “Hollywood heroes on a mission from God,” by Anne Billson, originally published in [...]

AVATAR: Probing Beyond Visuals to Culture and Identity

AVATAR: Probing Beyond Visuals to Culture and Identity

For many months now I have been looking forward to the release of James Cameron’s AVATAR. But with all the hype, much of it coming from Cameron himself, I was prepared to be mesmerized by the visual display, but to feel let down by the storyline. Thankfully, the visual elements lived up to the hype, [...]

Surrogates: Sci-Fi Thriller’s Reflections on the Self and the Synthetic

Surrogates: Sci-Fi Thriller’s Reflections on the Self and the Synthetic

Last month I heard about a forthcoming science fiction film by thumbing through one of my wife’s entertainment magazines. A little further research on the Internet led to a trailer, and after viewing it I was hooked. The movie became an instant part of my “must see” list for the last few months of 2009. [...]

Terminator Salvation: Apocalypse and Transhumanism

Terminator Salvation: Apocalypse and Transhumanism

Will the new TERMINATOR explore apocalyptic anxiety regarding technology and nuclear annihilation in a new way?
The local fire station used to be located a few more blocks to the east of us. Within the last couple of months, the local city police and fire departments secured separate facilities, which means that the fire department is [...]

Wonder Awards 2009: Rationale of a Conflicted Contrarian

Wonder Awards 2009: Rationale of a Conflicted Contrarian

As cinema buffs and Hollywood’s elite await the Academy Awards this weekend, Cinefantastique Online has addressed the unfortunate lack of critical appreciation for films of the fantastic through its 2009 Wonder Awards. As in any other subjective human endeavor those of us who voted on the nominations disagreed at times with the selections of others. [...]

Werewolves Rising: Underworld launches a new wave of Lycans

Werewolves Rising: Underworld launches a new wave of Lycans

The film franchise that successfully combines vampires and werewolves and which also involves a romantic element hit the theaters once again last weekend and did fairly well in box office returns. I’m not talking about the second installment in the TWILIGHT series, but rather, UNDERWORLD: THE RISE OF THE LYCANS. This latest and perhaps last [...]