Satan’s Seductress and the Apocalyptic Hero:
The Body in American Apocalyptic Films at the Turn of the Century

by Katherine Low


1. The hotline was (888) USA-4-Y2K. See Matt Richtel, “U.S. Opens Hot Line for Year 2000 Queries,” New York Times (Jan. 14, 1999): G3.

2. Alex Heard and Peter Klebnikov, “Apocalypse Now. No, Really,” New York Times (December 27, 1998): SM40.

3. Heather Clements, “Preacher, Shepherd, Judge: The Role of the Outlaw Prophet in American Film,” Journal of Religion and Film 12.2 (October, 2008):

4. Bryan S. Turner, “The Body in Western Society: Social Theory and Its Perspectives,” in Religion and the Body, ed. Sarah Coakley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 20-39.

5. Satan almost comes across as an archetypal buffoon, or an inept villain, as discussed by Kelly J. Wyman, “The Devil We Already Know: Medieval Representations of a Powerless Satan in Modern American Cinema” Journal of Religion and Film 8.2 (October, 2004):

6. John Martens, The End of the World: The Apocalyptic Imagination in Film and Television (Winnipeg, Canada: J. Gordon Shillingford Publishers, 2003).

7. Tina Pippin, “The Heroine and the Whore: Fantasy and the Female in the Apocalypse of John,” Semeia 60.1 (1992): 67-82.

8. Tina Pippin, Death and Desire: The Rhetoric of Gender in the Apocalypse of John, Literary Currents in Biblical Interpretation (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992).

9. Tina Pippin, “The Joy of (Apocalyptic) Sex,” in Gender and Apocalyptic Desire, eds. Brenda E. Brasher and Lee Quinby (London: Equinox, 2006): 66. See also Apocalyptic Bodies: The Biblical End of the World in Text and Image (London: Routledge, 1999).

10. This comparison is made by Stephen Moore in God’s Gym: Divine Male Bodies of the Bible (New York: Routledge, 1996), 121-22.

11. Ironically, the doctor’s name, called by the nurse, is Dr. Job, recalling Mary Ann’s patient suffering, a common attribute of Job in ancient Christian understanding.

12. Michael Novak, Frederick Hart: Changing Tides (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 2005), 11-29. An article by Martha Lufkin was also reprinted in the book on pages 86-87 from the International Edition of the Art Newspaper from April, 1998, describing the case.

13. Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Book XI; for a compilation of interpretations of Eve from Augustine and other Christian commentators, see Kristen E. Kvam, Linda S. Shearing, and Valarie H. Ziegler, eds. Eve & Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999).

14. Theophilus, “Apology to Autolycus,” found in Eve & Adam, 129-130.

15. Kelly Wyman notes that viewers did not overwhelmingly assume that the woman in the Ninth Gate could be Satan. Kelly J. Wyman, “The Devil We Already Know.”

16. Satan, disguised as a news reporter at the very end of the film, tries again and succeeds to capitalize on Kevin’s vanity.

17. Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence, The Myth of the American Superhero (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002).

18. See Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence, Captain America and the Crusade Against Evil: The Dilemma of Zealous Nationalism (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 2003), 6.

19. In Latin, the word “malum” means both evil and apple, especially since the word “malum” was used to translate evil in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Latin Vulgate. Early Christian artists conflated the two images in artistic interpretations of Genesis 3.

20. Bryan S. Turner, “The Body in Western Society: Social Theory and Its Perspectives,” in Religion and the Body, ed. Sarah Coakley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 20-39.

21.Yvonne Tasker, Spectacular Bodies: Gender, Genre and the Action Cinema (London: Routledge), 77-83.

22. Walter Wink, The Powers that Be: Theology for a New Millennium (New York: Galilee Doubleday, 1998), 48.

23. Tasker, Spectacular Bodies, 151.

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