Miskatonic Logo webNamed for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an international organization that offers undergraduate-level history, theory and production-based masterclasses. The Miskatonic is a largely volunteer-run endeavour through which established horror writers, directors, scholars and programmers/curators celebrate horror history and culture with a unique blend of enthusiasm and critical perspective.

The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies was founded by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010. After existing in embryonic form at Aqua Books in Winnipeg, Canada, Miskatonic moved to Montreal’s Blue Sunshine Psychotronic Film Centre in June of 2010. In fall of that year, scholars Kristopher Woofter and Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare joined as instructors, and later as co-directors and curators. In addition to helping shape the long term vision of Miskatonic, Woofter and DeGiglio-Bellemare oversaw Miskatonic Montreal from 2013-2017, while Janisse teamed up with UK-based film scholar and Electric Sheep founder/editor-in-chief Virginie Sélavy to launch Miskatonic London in January 2015. In fall of 2016, Janisse launched Miskatonic NYC with a masterclass by horror author Jack Ketchum; while originally overseen by Japanese film scholar Marc Walkow, the NYC branch is now directed jointly by filmmaker Jacqueline Castel and Joe Yanick, co-founder of Yellow Veil Pictures. In 2017, the Montreal location went on indefinite hiatus, and Josh Saco of Cigarette Burns Cinema took over from Virginie Sélavy as co-director of Miskatonic London.

In fall of 2018, Miskatonic launched a branch in Los Angeles at the storied Los Feliz headquarters of the Philosophical Research Society, founded by occultist Manly Palmer Hall in 1934.

In March of 2019, Miskatonic established its first Advisory Board, to aid in expanding the curriculum to work towards internal accreditation. The Advisory Board includes director and producer Mick Garris (Masters of Horror, Nightmare Cinema), actress/producer Barbara Crampton (We Are Still Here, Re-Animator), director/producer Larry Fessenden (Depraved, The House of the Devil), author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study), filmmaker Buddy Giovinazzo (Combat Shock), writer and lawyer Rodney Perkins, Graveyard Shift Sisters founder and Horror Noire co-writer/producer Ashlee Blackwell, film programmer Heidi Honeycutt (Etheria Film Night), founder of Fantasia’s Frontieres Co-Production Market Stephanie Trepanier, Arrow Video acquisitions manager/disc producer Ewan Cant, film programmer Liane Cunje (TIFF, Overlook Film Festival), writer/director/producer Sean Hogan (The Devil’s Business, Future Shock: The Story of 2000AD) and Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women).

In 2020, Miskatonic founder Kier-La Janisse announced she was stepping down as Executive Director and would be succeeded by Screen Anarchy editor and Fright Fest programmer Dr. Shelagh Rowan-Legg as of January 2021.

In addition to the regular September-May curriculum, Miskatonic co-presents events throughout the year. For details, email us at miskatonicinstitute@gmail.com.


Code of Conduct:

The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a welcoming and safe environment that values diversity and inclusivity. All instructors representing Miskatonic are expected to respect these values. Miskatonic reserves the right to cancel any lecture in consideration of this mandate.


“It’s not enough to know we’re scared – we need to understand how and why, and what being scared means. The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an initiation into an understanding of horror, which is – in the end – a key to an understanding of everything.”

— Kim Newman is a journalist, critic and writer of horror fiction, including the ANNO DRACULA series (1992 – 2013). He also contributing editor to SIGHT AND SOUND and EMPIRE, writes regularly for VIDEO WATCHDOG, and is the author of the BFI Film Classics series entry on CAT PEOPLE (2008).