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By my deeds I honor him. V8.

– Slit

The Cult of the V8 is an automobile and engine-based Wasteland religion of Immortan Joe's War Boys. It is featured in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Characteristics[]

2015 MMFR COV8 1

Though the Cult of the V8 isn't mentioned directly in the film, it can be ascertained through the context of the narrative that society of The Citadel, especially the War Boys, worships V8 engines as symbols of power and uses them in the automobiles they build and drive. There is a belief that the V8 engine is the source of the War Boy's strength, a power conduit between the world of the Wasteland and the afterlife -- Valhalla -- with guzzolene powering its wrath. Since most of the War Boys are in their late teens to early twenties, it seems they have been raised to believe in this religion by Immortan Joe and his cohorts in much the same way cult leaders have "brainwashed" their devout followers throughout history.

Immortan Joe[]

Immortan Joe acts as the patriarchal and self-proclaimed immortal Godhead within the Cult of V8 and is the only one capable of granting access to the afterlife -- Valhalla. At one point in Fury Road Immortan Joe reinforces this belief-system with Nux:

Put a bullet in her skull. Stop the rig. Return my treasures to me and I, myself, will carry you to the gates of Valhalla.

Aside from Joe, divine power and influence is bestowed upon Immortan Joe's immediate relatives, particularly, his sons Corpus Colossus, Scabrous Scrotus, and Rictus Erectus. It is quite likely that the cult has a lasting influence among The Wretched as well, for they, too, worship Immortan Joe in their own way and pray for his life-giving waters he delivers from on high.

Half-Life[]

Those within the Cult of V8 refer to themselves as "half-lives," and acknowledge that their lives are short, caring only to serve Immortan Joe. War Boys understand that they are sick with tumors and other diseases, although it is unclear if they're ever told the truth about how they became sick, they simply accept their place within the structure of this "society" they've been born into.

"Witness Me"[]

2015 MMFR WITNESS

"The Witness" is a ritualistic statement called upon when a War Boy plans to die in combat and is intended as a sign of respect by other War Boys. War Boys despise the idea of "dying soft" and prefer to go out sprayed with chrome on the "fury road" to Valhalla. Since War Boys live such short "half-lives," the act of "The Witness" gives meaning to their lives as they will live on in the stories of those who witnessed their glorious, last moments. The concept of "going out in a blaze of glory" is very similar to the Japanese fighter pilots of World War II and their Kamikaze attack runs. During the events of Fury Road, the audience witnesses Morsov successfully perform this ritual.

Religious Artifacts[]

2015 MMFR COV8

There are numerous artifacts associated with the Cult of the V8. When not riding the "fury road," War Boys worship at a V8 altar within The Citadel. They all have a personalized steering wheel, that holds a personalized religious significance to each War Boy. When not in use, the wheel sits upon the altar - connected to the V8. When called to war, it is removed in order to be "symbiotically" connected with their V8 vehicle.

War Boys also daub themselves with skeletal make up in the form of white body paint and black eye make up as a reminder that death has constant emphasis amongst half-lives.

Chrome spray

For the War Boys, chrome spray paint is used as a purification tool upon death. It is believed that the more chrome something is, the more glorious it is. Therefore, if a War Boy acknowledges that their death is near, they will glorify their bodies, especially their teeth and face, with the spray in order to be "eternal, shiny, and chrome." It is possible this also gives the War Boy an increased high from the fumes.

Scarification plays an important role in the cult as well. War Boys spend a substantial amount of time carefully scarifying their chests and appendages to mirror diagrams of engines and car parts. It seems likely that in doing so they believe there is a heightened connection between themselves and the omnipotent V8 and its representative within the Wasteland, Immortan Joe.

Insignia and Signs[]

War Boys and V8 followers utilize insignia and signs as extensions of their worship. A popular hand gesture used by War Boys was "The Sign of the V8," which was formed by intersecting four fingers on each hand (8 in total) in a V shape.

Immortan Joe's also used a specific insignia on his property; this insignia was used as a branding iron. The brand was circular with a skull placed in the middle and rising flames on top.

Trivia[]

  • V8 worship has a real-world analogue. During the 1970s, street-racers obsessed over the modifications of their vehicles with V8 engines. However, their influence was doomed due to V8 engines need for high octane gasoline: "Worship of the V8 on the Street will outlive its rejection by Detroit, but the V8 is doomed nonetheless. The biggest immediate problem is gasoline. Those old v8s crank out gobs of horsepower with high-compression ratios.They require 100-octance gasoline, which simply isn’t made anymore." Popular Mechanics Dec 1980
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