Box of God(s): On 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

Episode 57 · October 9th, 2019 · 1 hr 30 mins

About this Episode

Raiders of the Lost Ark is more than a Hollywood movie made in the summer blockbuster mold. As Phil says in his intro to this popping Weird Studies episode, the film is "a Trojan horse of the Weird, easy to let in but once inside, apt to take over." This conversation sees him and JF discuss a movie we dismiss at our own risk, a cinematic masterpiece replete with enigmas that reach back to the foundations of Western civilization. What does the Ark of the Covenant signify? What does it contain? What happens if you open that box of god(s)? And whose god is this, anyway? These are questions that have puzzled theologians and mystics for centuries, and Steven Spielberg's great work asks them anew for an age gone nuclear.

Image by arsheffield


Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark
Steven Soderbergh’s version of Raiders with sound and color removed
Weird Studies Patreon extra, “Weird Genius”
Weird Studies episode 28, “Weird Music Part 2”
Camille Saint-Saëns, Danse Macabre
M. Night Shyamalan, Signs
Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon
Neil Jordan (dir.), The End of the Affair
Weird Studies episode 29, “On Lovecraft”
Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism
Howard Carter, British archaeologist
Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”
Claude Levi Strauss, French anthropologist
Clement Greenberg's concept of medium specificity
D. W. Griffith, Birth of a Nation
David Mamet, On Directing Film
Dumbo (1941 film)
H. P. Lovecraft, “The Strange High House in the Mist”
Jan Fries, Helrunar: A Manual of Rune Magick
Neil Gaiman, American Gods
GIF of the soldier moving funny at the end of Raiders
Weird Studies episode 2, “Garmonbozia”
Aaron Leitch, occultist
Austin Osman Spare, The Book of Pleasure
Gene Wolfe, [Soldier of the Mist](