CANCELLED: HA! AAAH! THE PAINFUL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUMOR AND HORROR (Los Angeles)

Thu. Mar. 12, 2020

Veteran comedy writer David Misch (Mork & Mindy, Police Squad!, Saturday Night Live) explores how both humor and horror share a mordant view of our relationship to pain – an obsession with the human body and its multifarious fluids, and a subtext of death and transcendence underlying the eviscerated flesh and fart jokes. What could be more blood-curdlingly fun?

LIVE FROM MISKATONIC: PENNY SLINGER IN CONVERSATION (Los Angeles)

Thu. Dec. 12, 2019

The Miskatonic Institute is pleased to welcome filmmaker, collage artist, sculptor and performer Penny Slinger to our LA branch for an exclusive, in-depth conversation about her dark surrealist work in multiple mediums, frequently addressing themes of interior space, body horror, female sexuality and psychosis. Penny’s work – from with her early student short films and first book of collage art, 50% The Visible Woman to her collaborations with filmmakers Peter Whitehead (Lilford Hall, 1969) and Jane Arden’s Holocaust Theatre troupe (culminating in the feature film The Other Side of the Underneath, 1972), and her masterpiece of psychic trauma, the collage art book An Exorcism (1977) – was the spark for a new mode of surrealism focused on the female experience that would have ripples throughout the film and art worlds, though it would take many years for her pioneering influence to be acknowledged.

THINGS FROM OTHER WORLDS: ADAPTING, TRANSFORMING AND TRANSLATING ‘THE THING’ (London)

Thu. Dec. 12, 2019

This lecture explores the rich narrative universe of The Thing, using its various iterations to examine the multi-platform and serial nature of contemporary genre storytelling. In a way reminiscent of the alien subject at its heart, which copies, transforms and mutates as its virus spreads, The Thing illustrates the way in which intricate and complex ‘worldbuilding’ can occur through the introduction of new narrative instalments across multiple media platforms. But it also highlights the impossibility of exhaustively defining categories of adaptation and serialisation. Ultimately, this lecture does not strive to resolve these complexities, but rather to identify the theoretical considerations raised by transmedia genre storytelling within a wider culture of recycling and adaptation.

DEAD EYES OF LONDON: THE GERMAN ‘KRIMI’ FILM (NYC)

Thu. Dec. 19, 2019

This class will explore the German krimi film, or Kriminalfilm, a genre of West German crime thrillers inspired by the novels of British mystery writer and King Kong creator Edgar Wallace starting in the late 1950s with Der Frosch mit der Mask (The Fellowship of the Frog, 1959), With their lurid violence and macabre humor, and shadowy, fog-drenched sets in an imaginary London or in spooky castles replete with secret passageways, the Kriminalfilm is an important but relatively unexplored subgenre. Perhaps this neglect is due to the death of home video releases for English language audiences, but the krimi represent a vital stepping-stone: they are effectively the bridge between German Expressionism and film noir, and later horror subgenres like the Italian giallo film and Eurohorror of the ‘70s. Though they retained common themes and shared stock characters—often embodied by beloved cult actors like Christopher Lee and Klaus Kinski—krimi plots would become increasingly lurid and pulpy as the series wound to a close in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, directly influencing the Eurohorror of the ‘70s.

NORTHERN SCARS: THE FOUNDATIONS OF CANADIAN HORROR CINEMA (Los Angeles)

Mon. Jan. 6, 2020

Prepare yourself for a snowstorm of malevolent miners, ravenous rats, killer sex-slugs and ZED (not ZEE)-grade zombies: all this and much more can be found in the frosty annals of Canadian horror movie history. Oh, and there’s some Cronenberg in there too, of course. Never a dry recitation of facts, the talk describes a wild tapestry of high drama and crazy incident, with characters from David Cronenberg to Lawrence Zazelenchuk: a sort of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls with a much more specific focus and a lot more plaid flannel shirts.