Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Cultural Impact Of "The Exorcist" (Released December 26, 1973)

Thanks to inflation, box-office records seem to get broken every few weeks, but looking at the adjusted highest-grossing films list, one of the top ten features sticks out more than any other: William Friedkin‘s 1973 horror The Exorcist, considered by many to be the scariest film of all time. Besting even Avatar when it comes to adjusted domestic grosses, the film racked up $232 million in the U.S., which is over $900 million by today’s standards.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christ Antiphonetes: The Icon That Allegedly Could Foretell the Future

Christ Antiphonetes, c. 1350 somewhere in Greece,
now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Empress Zoe Porphyrogenita (1028–50) reportedly commissioned a copy of the icon of Christ Antiphonetes in the Church of the Theotokos Chalkoprateia, one of the most important churches of Constantinople. Michael Psellos, a contemporary historian, describes her fervent piety, and apparently not totally orthodox, towards this icon in his Book VI of the Chronographia. He reports that she foretold the future with this icon, as it was capable of responding to questions by changing color. The icon of Christ Antiphonetes also appeared on her coins. Psellos writes:

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Why Monsters Haunt Christmas in Europe but not America

December 24, 2014
By Caitlin Hu

Nothing says Christmas quite like a terrifying monster. The worst isn’t the screams or the snow or the mind-numbing blare of “Night on Bald Mountain“ on repeat. It’s the cowbells: a rusty jangle that means the Christmas monsters are coming.

Until Jan. 6, demons, witches and monsters haunt Europe.

The season of terror actually begins on Dec. 5, the eve of Saint Nicholas’ Day, with public parades of the saint’s supposed companions: Across the Italian, Austrian and Slovenian Alps, cowbell-slung demons called Krampus storm mountain towns. In France, the legendary serial killer and butcher Pere Fouettard (Father Whipper) threatens naughty children with his whip, while in Belgium and the Netherlands, a controversial child-kidnapper called Zwarte Piet (Black Piet) rides through canals on a steamship.