Symphony Macabre: Bernard Herrmann and the Scoring of Horror (LA online)

Thu. Sep. 24, 2020

In his 35-year film career, Bernard Herrmann scored “respectable” screen classics like Citizen Kane, Jane Eyre, and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. But this emotionally volatile iconoclast was no snob. He loved exploring the dark side of human nature, in classic horror and suspense titles for multiple media. Through clips and music cues, plus interviews with the composer himself, we’ll discover how Herrmann earned his reputation as the twentieth century’s top composer of horror and suspense scores, and explore techniques he used to put us inside the minds of characters that society would consider “monsters,” and how he made us feel their humanity as well as their madness.

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

Thu. Dec. 10, 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.

The Strange Story of Misty and Gothic for Girls in British Comics (London online)

Thu. Nov. 12, 2020

British comics dominated children’s entertainment in the UK in the last century but have been all but forgotten today. When they are remembered, it is often assumed that the boys’ titles were all about sports, space and war, while girls got stories about ponies, ballet and boarding schools. But nothing could be further from the truth! – these comics were not for the fainthearted and the girls’ titles in particular told many stories of outsider protagonists, psychological cruelty, isolation, and supernatural mystery.
Misty (IPC, 1978-80) comic stories included “Pacts with the devil, schoolgirl sacrifice, the ghosts of hanged girls, sinister cults, evil scientists experimenting on the innocent and terrifying parallel worlds where the Nazis won the Second World War.” This lecture will introduce students to Misty and its creators, explore the ways in which it draws on Gothic themes and archetypes, and argue that its combination of fairytale abstraction and psychological mystery constructs a particular type of ‘Gothic for Girls’.

Spanish Horror Cinema: Industry, Political Trauma and the Gothic Imaginary (London online)

Thu. Oct. 8, 2020

Spain did not become well-known for its contribution to horror cinema until the late 1960s, when the long-running success of the genre in other countries like Britain and Italy made its relatively low-risk production attractive to independent directors. The cycle that emerged from the overdrive period of filmmaking that began in 1968 and had petered out by the introduction of the Miró decree in 1982 has often been termed ‘fantaterror’ (a portmanteau combining ‘fantástico’ and ‘terror’ – both words which have culturally specific meanings in the country). After laying the ground for this financially driven cinematic surge, this presentation by Dr. Xavier Aldana Reyes will consider the terminological implications of the modern use of ‘fantaterror’ to refer to all forms of supernatural cinema, especially its shortcomings: its lack of affective and narrative specificity. Highlighting the need to separate Gothic horror from other horror subgenres (like the giallo), especially in the contemporary context, Dr. Aldana Reyes makes a case for the usefulness of the increasingly global term ‘Gothic’ to refer to a certain aesthetic and thematic category that foregrounds ideas of tyrannical oppression, ideological repression and, especially, the return of a haunting past.

A Miskatonic Tribute to Stuart Gordon at Fantasia 2020

Thu. Oct. 8, 2020

With panelists Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Dennis Paoli, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon and Brian Yuzna. Moderated by Graham Skipper. Stuart Gordon, who we lost earlier this year, is inextricably tied to Miskatonic. Not only by continuing the legacy of the fictional Miskatonic University in his iconoclastic Lovecraft adaptations, but by christening the very first branch […]