Image of a woman sitting on a chair concealing a man inside from Japanese film "Horrors of Malformed Men"

SEEING AND FEELING JAPANESE HORROR: SCOPOPHILIA AND CLAUSTROPHILIA IN EDOGAWA RAMPO (LA Online)

Thu. Jan. 28, 2021

Edogawa Rampo burst onto the literary scene in 1920s Japan with a rapid succession of short stories and novels that helped to articulate the cultural logic of “erotic, grotesque, nonsense” in the interwar period. He earned instant notoriety for his startling explorations of Japanese modernity: the lure of illicit or prohibited desires; a fascination with cinema and visual spectacles; the psychology of leisure, and thrill-seeking; and a seemingly inexhaustible wanderlust for the imperial metropolis Tokyo. With instructor Seth Jacobowitz as our guide, this presentation will discuss scopophilia and claustrophilia as two predominant horror themes in Rampo’s fiction writing and their adaptation in the Japanese film and art worlds. We will explore his “Stalker in the Attic” (1926) and the film The Watcher in the Attic (1976) directed by Noboru Tanaka, the omnibus film Rampo Noir (2005), and Suehiro Maruo’s graphic novel The Strange Tale of Panorama Island (2010), among other works.

Three examples of Rick Baker's makeup artistry including ghouls and creatures from horror history

RICK BAKER: AN INTIMATE SELF-PORTRAIT (LA Online)

Thu. Feb. 25, 2021

Rick Baker is a world-renowned titan of the film industry whose curriculum vitae glitters with Oscar® gold. As a taciturn “monster kid” who whiled away youthful hours gleefully poring over love-worn copies of Famous Monsters of Filmland, reverently drawing images of his favorite horror stars, and customizing Aurora model kits, Baker found that his idiosyncratic affinities made him something of a misfit. Upon initial experimentation on himself. , the transformative qualities of makeup emboldened Baker to dabble in the performative and the outrageous. Though seemingly contradictory, donning these eerie exoskeletons of his own design are precisely what enabled Baker to come out of his metaphorical shell. Utilizing Baker’s self-portraits in the medium of monsters as our guide, Miskatonic Los Angeles co-directors Amy Voorhees Searles and Graham Skipper will track his personal and professional metamorphoses: from a boy to a man, and from a novice to a master.

Images of three Wallestein fumetti book covers

AN ORGY OF TERROR: ITALIAN HORROR COMICS OF THE 1970S AND 80S (LA Online)

Thu. Mar. 25, 2021

At its height, Italian publishing house Edifumetto produced hundreds of individual titles and selling millions of copies every month, with their comics appearing across Europe, Central and South America, North Africa and French-speaking Canada. Typically appearing as small-format pocket digests, these comics were notable for their lushly painted cover art which featured work by some of Italy’s finest illustrators. Significant also were the explicitness of their themes and imagery, with storylines that blended nudity and sex with violence so gratuitous that it occasionally bordered on parody. With instructor Adam Twycross, this talk will discuss these extraordinary comics from a cultural and historical standpoint, examining both the transnational context within which they evolved, and the uniquely Italian environment that shaped their development.

Three book cover images from works by Shirley Jackson

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

Tue. Jan. 12, 2021

This talk will explore who Shirley Jackson was and the reasons why her work remains so important for horror fans and creators and will 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.

A black and white photo of a white woman lying on a divan, with the shadow of a black man on the wall behind her.

AMERICAN VOODOO: FICTIONALIZING HAITI TO MEDITATE ON US POLICY (London Online)

Tue. Feb. 9, 2021

This course examines American representations of Haitian culture in a series of horror films and selected texts to consider how they reduce Haiti to an island of aberrant sorcerers creating monsters to destroy the West. A closer look at these representations and America’s concurrent sociopolitical behaviors will reveal that such depictions actually say more about the US and its anxieties and missteps than it ever does about Haiti.