Date(s) - Thu. Oct. 10, 2019
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Philosophical Research Society

Amy Voorhees Searles, Dean Cameron

$12 advance / $15 door BUY TICKETS

In the comparatively nascent academic field of fan studies, very little scholarship has been devoted to horror fandom. Yet, for a branch of study invested in an audience’s passionate participation, horror fans have much to offer. Weaned on a steady diet of horror hosted syndicated shockers, EC Comics contraband, and dog-eared copies of Famous Monsters of Filmland, the dedicated “Monster Kids” of the 1950s and 1960s became the vaunted creators for the next generation. Similarly, enterprising “Gorehounds” of the 1980s, inspired by their use-worn pages of Fangoria and liquid latex-flecked copies of Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook went on to become the notable effects wizards for the ensuing generation. And the slithering ouroboros that is horror fandom continues to both feed and eat itself into the present day.

As an insular community oftentimes found at the fringe of popular culture, it comes as no surprise that the vast majority of media representation of horror fans is generated by horror fans. However, this is not exclusively the case, which accounts for the spectrum of stereotypes from resilient artist (Tommy Jarvis in Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter), to misunderstood outcast (“Evil” Ed in Fright Night), to amoral puppet (Michael Brower in Brainscan), to desensitized sociopath (Eric Binford in Fade to Black). Happily, there are also numerous examples to explore that defy such preconceptions.

Using fan studies as a springboard, this interdisciplinary lecture will chart the historical events, technological advancements, and cultural anxieties toward media effects that have influenced both the horror fan and the portrayal of the horror fan in film and television over the years.

Dean Cameron, who famously played “Chainsaw” in Carl Reiner’s Summer School – perhaps the most recognizable fictional horror fan for viewers outside of the horror community and beloved by those within it – will be joining us for this discussion of horror fanthropology.

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