Black Magic and White Guilt: Voodoo in Angel Heart
Copyright © 2011 Douglas Keesey. Published in PsyArt.
On first viewing, Alan Parker’s 1987 film Angel Heart may seem like just another in a long line of films that equate voodoo with Satanism, blacks with the black arts. However, the film also struggles toward an acknowledgment of white guilt, an admission that evil resides within the self. Evil’s repression and projection onto the “black other” must be understood as a defensive strategy for denying one’s own guilt. The difference between good whites and bad blacks must be redefined as a difference within, the capacity for good and evil inherent in each of us, regardless of skin color or religious faith. Angel Heart gains psychological depth and social relevance if we view it as the lead character’s internal struggle with his desires and fears regarding blacks.
Douglas Keesey. "Black Magic and White Guilt: Voodoo in Angel Heart" PsyArt: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts (2011).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dkeesey/9