‘Consumed out of the good land’
George A. Romero’s horror of the 1970s
in The wounds of nations
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This chapter opens with a discussion of John Winthrop, Governor of New England, who delivered a rousing sermon entitled A Model of Christian Charity. Winthrop outlined the hopes and fears of the community of men and women who had left Europe in search of religious freedom and warned of the dangers that imperiled the success of their mission to redeem the sins of the old world in the new. Winthrop warned people, that the Lord would surely break out in anger against them and stated that they would be ‘consumed out of the good land.’ The long-dead figure of John Winthrop is resurrected here for a number of reasons, primarily because close consideration of his words provides a salutary reminder that the foundational historical documents of the United States, as is the case with all nations, are continually open to ideological manipulation in the service of competing interest groups. It is nonetheless significant that by the 1970s new generation of activists, writers, artists and particularly film-makers looked to the nation's foundational mythology as a means of understanding why and how things had gone so terribly wrong in the present. Through a hugely creative deployment of the conventions of contagion horror, supernatural horror and body horror, the films of George A. Romero thus provide some of the most visually arresting political challenges to the low, dishonest decades from which they emerged.

The wounds of nations

Horror cinema, historical trauma and national identity

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