MAN-EATER: CANNIBAL WOMEN IN FILM (NYC)

Wed. Feb. 12, 2020

The type of the cannibalistic woman can be found in stories throughout history – Lilith, the Sirens, Snow White. But she is of particular interest right now by capturing ever-present social anxieties about the tense and endlessly complicated relationship between gender, hunger, desire, sex, autonomy and power. The characters in these films negotiate and subvert expectations for how women should look and behave. Drawing in particular from the legacy of the femme fatale, many of them actively deceive the men they intend to eat, using their beauty to seduce and then devour. They reflect the dangers of the female body, taken literally and to the extreme – mouths that swallow, teeth that bite, nails that tear. The presence of this type in cinema provokes an exploration of the idea of boundaries, interrogating distinctions between self and other, inside and outside, touch and penetration. In their pursuit of complete incorporation, these women reduce humans to their physical qualities, treating bodies like meat, provoking an experience of abjection which forces the question of what it means to be human.

EROTIC GROTESQUE NONSENSE & THE FOUNDATIONS OF JAPAN’S CULT COUNTERCULTURE (London)

Thu. Feb. 13, 2020

In this illustrated lecture, Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp leads us into the feverish world of ero guro nansensu, a term abbreviated from the English “erotic grotesque nonsense” that first entered common parlance in Japan in the 1920s, when it was applied by reactionary cultural critics to a group of writers who traded in detective, horror, and mystery fiction with an emphasis on deviant sexuality, the irrational, and the bizarre.

TALKIN’ TO DRACULA AND HIS CREW: THE GOTH SUBCULTURE’S ETERNAL AFFAIR WITH HORROR (NYC online)

Thu. Dec. 17, 2020

This lecture will discuss the inextricable link between horror and the goth subculture through music, visuals, fashion, and spaces – with an emphasis on the 1980s. It will focus on the allure of the unknown and its pleasurable horrors, as well as their underlying meanings. While the foundation of goth gathers inspiration from early horror films (Dracula, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari), it also influenced later iterations of the horror genre through visuals and soundtrack selections (The Crow, Queen of the Damned). Additionally, we will discuss how the aesthetics of the horror genre leaked into the interior of the club: not only did the music set the tone, but the decor of its walls created the overall atmosphere, which at times included meat bags (Planet X, Liverpool) and an elevated coffin surrounded by candelabras (The Magic Circle, Zürich). Topics covered will also include Freud’s das unheimliche (the uncanny) within album art – such as X-Mal Deutschland’s cover for their 1982 single for “Incubus Succubus” – as well as Danielle Dax’s performance in The Company of Wolves, and Propaganda Magazine’s video trilogy. Plus, musical and visual samples from beloved artists including The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees as well as the ghastly theatrics of bands such as Specimen, Neva, Parálisis Permanente, and the Virgin Prunes.

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

Thu. Sep. 17, 2020

For this class we welcome instructor Kali Simmons 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.

POSTPONED: 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.