Following the successful conclusion of our 2017 winter semester with seasonal classes on Christmas Horror on Film and Television at both our London and New York branches, the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is pleased to announce our spring curriculum and instructors, as well as exciting new developments.
Coming up in 2018 we’ll guide our students through folk horror, cults in film and Black Horror: The Revolutionary Act of Subverting the White Gaze. We’ll offer classes examining the works of gothic author Shirley Jackson, true crime and Noir writer John Gilmore, Richard Matheson’s seminal horror text I Am Legend, and host a conversation between horror fiction titan Ramsey Campbell and prolific author and editor Stephen Jones. Rounding things out Miskatonic London will feature a class by Watchmaker Films’ Mark Rance on the complexities of digital restoration (with a case study of his restoration of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 Nosferatu) while Miskatonic NYC will close its semester with a class presented by the co-founder of distribution and restoration company Vinegar Syndrome, Joe Rubin. Full class descriptions and instructor bios follow below.
Continuing for 2018 – now at both New York and London branches – is the Diabolique Scholarship. Each year Diabolique Magazine sponsors up to five students to participate in Miskatonic free of charge for the year. Applications and information for the scholarship are available on the Miskatonic websites here:
Miskatonic London also says farewell this year to its longtime co-director, genre film journalist and scholar Virginie Sélavy, who nurtured the branch from its founding in 2015. In her role at Miskatonic Selavy oversaw dozens of lectures, hosted a legion of special guests and taught some remarkable classes of her own. Sélavy leaves Miskatonic to focus on a new book project, explaining: “I’ve decided to step down as Miskatonic London co-director to focus on writing my book. It’s been really exciting to help set up Miskatonic London and co-run it in its first three years of existence. Kier-La Janisse had a great idea and I’m glad to have been involved in bringing it to life. Miskatonic London has created a strong sense of community and tapped into a real appetite in the public for learning about the more obscure and neglected corners of horror film. It has opened up a dialogue between fans and academics and encouraged the spread of more critical ways of discussing horror. I am looking forward to seeing it continue to grow and develop under the new co-directorship.”
Stepping in as Miskatonic London’s co-director as of January 2018 is Josh Saco, the curator behind Cigarette Burns Cinema, one of the UK’s leading independent film exhibitors, who caters to fans of left field, classic horror and exploitation cinema, screening primarily from rare 16mm and 35mm prints at prestigious venues including the Barbican, Prince Charles and Regent Street Cinema and various festivals. “Our beloved genre offers various darkened alleyways and avenues,” says Saco, “I look forward to exploring, discovering and sharing these mysterious corridors of the Miskatonic Institute with everyone.”
Saco will be running Miskatonic London with founder Kier-La Janisse, who also co-runs the New York branch with film writer and Visit Films’ Assistant Director of Festivals and Non-Theatrical, Joe Yanick.
In spring 2018 Miskatonic also says farewell to its longest-running branch in Montreal, whose co-directors Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare and Kristopher Woofter have decided to branch off into their own local community of horror scholarship under the name The Montreal Monstrum Society. Woofter will however be joining Miskatonic NYC as an instructor for its Shirley Jackson class on March 13th (see class descriptions below).
About the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies:
Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an international organization that offers university-level history, theory and production-based masterclasses for people of all ages, founded by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse in March 2010, with regular branches in London and New York as well as presenting special events worldwide.
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – NYC
Dates: Tuesdays, January 9, February 13, March 13, April 10, May 8
Venue: Film Noir Cinema
Address: 122 Meserole, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Prices: $12 advance / $15 on the door / $50 Full semester pass
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London
Dates: Thursdays, January 18, February 15, March 15, April 19, May 17
Time: 7:30pm-10pm (Doors 7pm, no admittance after class starts at 7:30)
Venue: Horse Hospital
Address: Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London
Prices: £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concs / £45 Full semester pass
FULL CLASS DESCRIPTIONS – NYC:
January 9: SACRED DISOBEDIENCE: ON PENDA’S FEN
Instructor: Sukhdev Sandhu
Named after the last pagan king of England, David Rudkin/ Alan Clarke’s Penda’s Fen (1974) is deep heresy, an extraordinary piece of folk horror, a visionary film that is almost a foundational text in the pantheon of The Old Weird Albion. A clergyman’s son – agonistically, ecstatically – has his personal armour stripped away: parentage, nationality, sexuality, patriotism. He has encounters with an angel, a demon, the ghost of Edward Elgar, the crucified Jesus, and Penda himself. A radical archaeology of Deep England and a praise-song to anarchist transformation, it culminates with the most euphoric revelation in British cinema: “My race is mixed. My sex is mixed. I am woman and man, light with darkness, nothing pure.”
Only recently exhumed after having been out of circulation for forty years, Penda’s Fen has lost none of its power to bewitch and ensorcel. This illustrated talk by Sukhdev Sandhu, editor of The Edge Is Where The Centre Is, a limited-edition art book on the film, will explore its topographies and febrile contexts – experimental public broadcasting, avant-garde arcadias, the rural uncanny, a mid-70s Britain that teetered on the brink of civil war, the rise of eldritch England.
Image: Kalia S Heir