POSTPONED: HAUNTING THE NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS: THE RISE OF INDIGENOUS HORROR (NYC)

Thu. Mar. 26, 2020

For this class we welcome instructor Kali Simmons and special guest Jeff Barnaby, who will guide us through the cultural shifts that have affected and informed the depiction of Indigenous cultures onscreen over the last 50 years of horror history.

BLOOD IN THE STREETS: FILM CYCLES, SERIAL KILLERS AND THE GIALLO (London)

Thu. May. 14, 2020

This talk will investigate how a collection of film cycles within the giallo capitalised on preoccupations with the recent past in 1970s Italy, and an attendant sense of disquiet towards modernity and the pace of socio-cultural change. This will in turn reveal various strategies that were being deployed to exploit the local film market, in a perpetual attempt to capitalise on topicality and the perceived tastes of the popular audience.

POSTPONED: THE WORLD IS FULL OF TERRIBLE PEOPLE: SHIRLEY JACKSON AND FEMALE VIOLENCE (London)

Thu. Apr. 9, 2020

Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) remains best known for her supernatural horror novel The Haunting of Hill House (1959. After several decades of critical and commercial neglect, her work now has a higher public profile than ever. Scholar Bernice M. Murphy will be talking about who Jackson was and the reasons why her work remains so important for horror fans and creators. well as creating the most famous haunted house of the twentieth-century, Jackson also played a foundational role in establishing the ‘Suburban Gothic’ sub-genre, and wrote what is still the single-most notorious American folk horror tale (‘The Lottery’, 1948). The class will also focus on one particularly timely (and influential) aspect of Jackson’s interest in domesticity and female interiority: her recurrent depiction of deeply troubled young women. Murphy will argue that the narrator of We Have Always Lived in the Castle is the precursor to the many young women in the contemporary horror cinema canon who find the boundaries between reality and fantasy dangerously malleable, and discuss several recent horror films focusing on homicidal young women whose behaviour and motivations owe much to the Jackson blueprint.

GOLEMS, DYBBUKS & OTHER MOVIE MONSTERS: THE SEARCH FOR A JEWISH HORROR FILM (London)

Thu. Mar. 12, 2020

Mainstream horror cinema has been known to draw upon Jews and Jewish belief traditions as a kind of domesticated exotica. Jews are cast as either wise scholars of arcane magic, or as voices for cynical positivism, proponents of scientific rationalism in opposition to Christian metaphysics and mysticism. In many cases, the cosmology shown in these films is much less Jewish, and more likely to be Christian beliefs performing a kind of Jewish drag show. In this class, scholar Mikel J. Koven explores Jewish folklore and looks to legends about Golems and Dybbuks as sources for cinematic horror. Ultimately, this class is designed to explore the relationship between cultural identity and horror cinema. Specifically, Koven discusses the extent to which these films avail themselves to Jewish lore and also maintain the cultural contexts which first developed these narratives. In other words, just how Jewish are these Jewish horror movies?

MAGIC AND POLITICS IN ALAN MOORE & JACEN BURROWS’ ADAPTATIONS OF LOVECRAFT (London)

Thu. Jan. 9, 2020

In this talk, scholar Matt Green argues that Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’ Providence uses the comics form to assert the value of humanities research, and of the arts more broadly. Green’s focus– like Moore’s and, arguably, like Lovecraft’s — is on the relationships between imagination and the historical realities of readers; the discussion maps Moore’s reworking of Lovecraft onto current political turmoil in Britain and the US via Moore’s underlying premise that we can trace the origins of our contemporary moment through the societal anxieties encoded in Lovecraft’s fiction.