The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London
7pm - 10pm (Film + Lecture)
£10 advance (CLICK HERE) £11 on the door Prices / £8 concs
£50 full season ticket* (CLICK HERE)
*Pilot season: monthly classes from January to June 2015, Second Thursday of the month, 8 January, 12 February, 12 March, 9 April, 14 May, 11 June
School of Shock: Pain and Pleasure in the Classroom Safety Film
Instructor Kier-La Janisse
For many genre fans, a love affair with horror and the grotesque began early on, sometimes fuelled by unlikely sources. One of these was the classroom safety film, which for many kids was their first time seeing other children threatened by true danger, being confronted with a combination of gore effects and actual accident footage, and being offered a pictorial glimpse at things their parents didn’t want to talk about. Thousands of these films were made in North America from the 1940s through the 1980s, when companies like Centron, McGraw-Hill, Coronet, Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, Avis Films, Crawley Films, Bell Labs, the NFB and others thrived on the burgeoning market for classroom or workplace educational films.
Subjects ranged from safety in and around vehicles, to drug abuse and venereal disease, teaching children scary lessons about everything from dental hygiene to how to spot a paedophile. The most memorable of these films deliberately used horror visuals to entice and/or shock children into paying attention – such as those by prolific producer Sid Davis (1916-2006) – and some were even made by directors with genre film pedigrees, such as Carnival of Souls’ Herk Harvey, a key figure in the industrial film scene.
This lecture and screening by Kier-La Janisse, founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, will present some of the most notorious educational films of the 40-year golden age of social hygiene onscreen. We’ll also briefly look at educational television PSAs, from the British Public Information Films through the incredibly grisly Australian drunk driving commercials of the 1990s.
The classic era of classroom films may be over, but viewed from today’s perspective, some of these films offer up a fascinating survey of changing social mores and cultural preoccupations (not to mention fashions!). Being safe has never looked so grim.
WARNING: This program contains graphic imagery, including real accident and casualty footage.
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is pleased to announce the opening of its London branch on January 8th, which will be based at the heart of the city’s underground culture, the Horse Hospital.
In its pilot semester, running from January to June 2015, the Miskatonic Institute will offer monthly lectures exploring the more obscure corners of horror and fantastical cinema, which will be taught by established writers, directors, scholars and programmers. It aims to be a nurturing environment for horror fans and scholars that will inspire intellectual curiosity and critical debate in a friendly atmosphere, as well as build a community around shared enthusiasm for the genre.
Among the topics to be discussed are Jesus Franco, landscapes in horror, classroom safety films and sado-masochism. Instructors include prominent horror expert Kim Newman, author of Nightmare Movies and Cat People; horror and exploitation writer Stephen Thrower, author of Nightmare USA and Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco; Kier-La Janisse, author of House of Psychotic Women and founder of Spectacular Optical Publications; Mark Pilkington, author of Mirage Men and director of Strange Attractor Press; Jasper Sharp, author of Behind the Pink Curtain and director of the documentary The Creeping Garden; Virginie Sélavy, founder of Electric Sheep and editor of The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology.
These classes will introduce participants to less well-known aspects of the horror and fantastical realm, equip them with a more sophisticated critical apparatus as well as provide historical perspective. It will explore how this vital area of cinema delves into the sources of our fears and desires, and dramatizes the most unsettling aspects of our relationship to the natural and social world, as well as to others. It will also examine how the genre has created some of the most wildly inventive sonic and visual forms in cinema.
Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a non-profit, community-based organization that started in Montreal, Canada. Founded by Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010, Miskatonic Montreal now operates under the leadership of co-directors Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare and Kristopher Woofter. Miskatonic London operates under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and Virginie Sélavy.
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies welcomes donations.