Miskatonic London Unveils Spring 2016 Lineup!

After closing out the fall 2015  season with a star-studded panel discussion and live reading of Nigel Kneale’s long-lost teleplay The Road (featuring Mark Gatiss, Jeremy Dyson, Jonathan Rigby, Kim Newman, Stephen Volk, David Pirie, Maura McHugh and many more), The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London returns to the Horse Hospital from January-May 2016 for another lively semester of film classes on a range of esoteric topics, led by some of the horror world’s most renowned critical luminaries.

Visiting instructor Jack Sargeant (author of Deathtripping: The Extreme Underground) launches the season in January with his lecture “JG Ballard: Crash, The Atrocity Exhibition and Moving Beyond Literature.” He will be followed in February by a special instalment of “Live From Miskatonic,” featuring director John Hough (The Legend of Hell House, Twins of Evil, Escape To Witch Mountain) in an extensive onstage interview with FilmBar70 curator Justin Harries. In March, former Wire deputy editor Frances Morgan will talk about electronic sound design and horror. In April, Miskatonic London co-director and Electric Sheep founder Virginie Selavy will present “Holy Torture,” an investigation of desire, cruelty and religion in 60s and 70s cinema. And we’ll be closing the season with Headpress founder David Kerekes, who will present a multimedia excursion through the dangerous landscape of custom-ordered sex and horror films. This last class will also act as the graduation ceremony for those who have been with Miskatonic for the full 2015/2016 school year. Course descriptions and instructor bios are available below.

Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a non-profit, community-based organization that started in Canada, founded by Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010. Miskatonic London operates under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and Virginie Sélavy.

All classes take place at the historic Horse Hospital, the heart of the city’s underground culture. Registration for the full spring 2016 semester is £40 and is available HERE.
Individual class tickets are £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concessions and will be available 30 days in advance of each class. See below for the full course descriptions.

For further information, images or interview requests, please contact Miskatonic.london@gmail.com



The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London
Spring 2016 Semester: monthly classes from January to May 2016
Dates: 7 January, 11 February, 10 March, 14 April, 12 May
Time: 7:00-10:00pm
Venue: Horse Hospital
Address: Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD
Prices: £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concs / £40 full semester ticket


7 January, 2016 – 7-10pm
Instructor: Jack Sargeant

Building on Jack Sargeant’s previously published research on JG Ballard, this talk explores Ballard in the realms beyond literature; looking at his cinema, graphics, performances and infamous Crashed Cars exhibition in relation to the extended aesthetic ‘perversions’ that emerged around the groundbreaking novels published in the 1970s. The talk offers an exploration of the radical experimental work of Ballard, which exceeds the imprint of the author to offer lines of flight into the mise-en-scene of the wider subcultures of the era. The talk will include a screening of The Unlimited Dream Company (dir: Sam Scoggins, 1983, 24 mins).

About the Instructor:
As an author, Jack Sargeant’s work has been described as “dangerously inspirational” his numerous books include Against Control, Deathtripping: The Extreme Underground and Naked Lens: Beat Cinema (like Deathtripping now in its third English language edition). His forthcoming book Flesh and Excess On Underground Film is due for publication in late 2015. He has written on film and culture for numerous books, anthologies and journals, and introductions for books by Lydia Lunch, Romain Slocombe, Joe Coleman and for William Burroughs’ Unforgettable Characters. He writes a regular column for FilmInk, and has written for The Wire, Xochi 23, Fortean Times, World Art, Real Time and many other publications. Jack has frequently appeared as a documentary interviewee in films including Blank City, The Advocate For Fagdom and Llik Your Idols. He is regularly called upon to assist in research for television and film documentaries. In addition to writing, Sargeant has lectured on underground film and culture, beat culture, William Burroughs and many other topics across the world. He has curated numerous film and art events, including co-curating the critically acclaimed ‘Sex’ at Melbourne’s Strange Neighbour gallery. He is currently program director for the Revelation Film Festival in Western Australia.


11 February, 2016 – 7-10pm
Instructor: Justin Harries

From 60s TV series THE AVENGERS and salacious Hammer Horror TWINS OF EVIL to 70s gearhead staple DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY and children’s classics ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN and THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS, British filmmaker John Hough has had an eclectic and storied career behind the camera. He considers himself a craftsman rather than an auteur, but is responsible for some of the most beloved films in horror history – most notably his 1973 adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel HELL HOUSE.

In this special instalment of LIVE FROM MISKATONIC, Hough will participate in a lengthy on-stage conversation with our guest interviewer Justin Harries, the curator of London’s popular FILMBAR70. The conversation will cover Hough’s early television career, his work with Hammer Films and Disney, his interactions with 1970s renegade Hollywood and his work with screen giants such as Orson Welles, Roddy McDowell, John Cassavetes, Max Von Sydow, Sophia Loren, Rod Steiger and so many more. The talk will be punctuated by film clips and there will be a Q+A period following the formal discussion.

About the Instructor:
Justin Harries is the co-creator and curator of Filmbar70, a London based film-club that specialises in screening anomalies drawn from the last gasp of European genre cinema, and has contributed visual and written essays to a number of DVD releases – especially those that lean toward the more glamourous side of the giallo genre. He also makes up approximately 50% of ‘The Carpenters’ (a John Carpenter tribute band) and is a member of ‘The Begotten’, a collective providing improvised sonics to E. Elias Merhige’s avant-splatter flick.


10 March, 2016 – 7-10pm
Instructor: Frances Morgan

Lecture outline tbc.

About the Instructor:

Frances Morgan is a music and film critic based in London. A former deputy editor of The Wire, she has written regularly for Sight & Sound about sound and music in cinema. She is currently researching electronic music histories at the Royal College of Art and the Science Museum.


14 April, 2016 – 7-10pm
Instructor: Virginie Selavy

The 1960s-70s saw copious amounts of on-screen self-flagellation, brutal witch-hunting, delirious possessions and sadistic exorcisms, culminating into the so-called ‘nunsploitation’ genre. Beyond the desire to shock and titillate, many of these films, most notably Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971), were part of the time’s questioning of all power structures, pitching repressive, corrupt and hypocritical religious authorities against individual freedom and morality. In particular, films such as Gianfranco Mingozzi’s Flavia the Heretic (1974) denounced the oppression of women in patriarchal society, and pictured their revolt through disobedience and deviant sexuality. This deviant sexuality was also sometimes part of an alternative form of worship connected to natural forces, as in Juan López Moctezuma’s Alucarda (1977). For Moctezuma, as for his fellow Panique associate Alejandro Jodorowsky, spiritual initiation involved an element of violence, although not the same kind of violence as that of the Catholic Church, as depicted in many of these films. The lecture will explore the various ways in which desire, cruelty, power and religion are configured in the cinema of the period.

About the Instructor:
Virginie Sélavy is the founder and editor of Electric Sheep, the online magazine for transgressive cinema. She has edited the collection of essays The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology, and has contributed to World Directory Cinema: Eastern Europe and written about Victorian London in Film Locations: Cities of the Imagination – London. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Sight&Sound, Rolling Stone France, Cineaste and Frieze.


12 May, 2016 –7-10pm
Instructor: David Kerekes

In the 1990s, Wave Productions in New Jersey established itself as perhaps the leading distributor of shot-on-video horror movies. Its catalogue was expansive because of a very simple if ingenious marketing premise: Customers scripted and paid for their own movies.

From the outset, customers wanted sexy girls in horrible situations. Yet, Wave had reservations about nudity and violence, underplaying or rejecting entirely anything it considered extreme. Not all the companies that followed were as conscientious. Fetish custom studios now operate internationally, patronised by individuals with a hankering to see a favourite model hiccup in white socks, or else, more likely, be executed and play dead.

This lecture traces the history of the custom shoot, from its clumsy beginnings in video horror to the present facsimile death scenes, often enhanced by digital effects and sometimes featuring explicit sex. These short films closely mimic the motifs of the mythological ‘snuff’ film, in as much as the customer suggests a scenario, the preferred mode of death (gunshot, strangulation, hanging, etc.) and the victim (plucked from a studio’s own roster of performers). Thus the custom shoot occupies a unique space in the collective mind-set, one created and never occupied by the ‘reality’ of snuff films.

Adults only.

About the Instructor:
David Kerekes is a co-founder of the publishing house Headpress. He is co-author of the books Killing for Culture (1994), revised and updated as Killing for Culture: From Edison to Isis — A New History of Death on Film (2016), and See No Evil: Banned Films and Video Controversy (2001). He is the author of Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jörg Buttgereit (1994) and has written extensively on popular culture. His meditation on southern Italian Diaspora and folklore, Mezzogiorno, was published in 2012. www.worldheadpress.com