The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies ― London presents a look at the paranoia expressed by female protagonists in early horror with The Paranoid Woman's Film event on March 7. Also: details on Cold Moon and Lullaby on Tubi and Dan Hilliad's novel Bittersweet: 14 Macabre Tales of Love and Loss.
Miskatonic London's The Paranoid Woman's Film Event Details: "This class will introduce students to the horror films of the 1940s through those films often described as examples of the paranoid (or Gothic) woman’s film. These films, which emerged in response to the phenomenal success of Hitchcock’s Rebecca, feature a woman in love with a potential murderous lover. Although the cycle begins before the war, its key period of productivity was during the war years, and it can therefore also be seen as a key genre associated with changes in the audience during this period. With many men away fighting the war, women were encouraged to disassociate with domesticity in favour of war work and this changed the nature of the cinematic audience. Rather than simply going to the cinema as part of a couple or a family, Hollywood was overwhelmed by the new audience of women that were going to the cinema in groups or alone, and these changed circumstances encouraged these female audiences to play with new forms of femininity. The films, therefore, exhibit an ambivalent relationship to both the home and the world beyond in both of which require their female leads to turn detective.
We will, therefore, begin with a discussion of Rebecca as a key text within this cycle. It will examine the ways in which this film plays with their heroines’ struggle to make sense of their husbands; and the ways in which these women find themselves unable to tell whether these husbands love or hate them, an uncertain which motivates their investigative narratives.
We will then move onto other examples of the genre, such as another Joan Fontaine classic, the 1944 adaptation of Jane Eyre, which was (like Rebecca) explicitly understood as a horror film at the time. This will also be used to illustrate another key feature of the period, that these were not low budget horror films but major prestige studio productions, and ones that sought to acquire associations with legitimate culture. We will also look at Gaslight in this context, a film that sweeps the academy awards in 1945.
The class will then move on to explore the ways in which these materials were linked to another key feature of the period, film noir, which is often seen as distinct from the paranoid woman’s film, although neither of these terms existed at the time, and the films that are now associated with these two categories were usually identified with being part of the same category in the 1940s: the horror film. The class will, therefore, look at Phantom Lady (1944), a film often seen as a classic of film noir but one which was produced by a woman, Joan Harrison, who had also been one of Hitchcock’s key collaborators. Although often seen as a film noir, this film features a female, rather than a male, detective (film noir is often distinguished from the paranoid woman’s film on the basis that the former is supposed to be male centred and the latter female centred), and one that features another key aspect of these films, a focus on psychological horror: the heroine’s antagonist is a psychologically deranged killer.
Finally, the class will end with a consideration of Val Lewton’s films. Lewton is often read as both a low budget filmmaker and as one of the key contributors to the horror film in the period. However, through an examination of his first film, Cat People (1942), the class will explore how Lewton’s films feature many of the elements discussed above: a female detective, psychological horror, and an attempt to acquire associations with legitimate culture. We will, therefore, examine its associations with Rebecca and Jane Eyre, on which Lewton had been a script editor before being hired to produce films for RKO.
About the instructor:
Mark Jancovich is Professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK. He is the author of several books: Horror (Batsford, 1992); The Cultural Politics of the New Criticism (CUP, 1993); Rational Fears: American Horror in the 1950s (MUP, 1996); and The Place of the Audience: Cultural Geographies of Film Consumption (with Lucy Faire and Sarah Stubbings, BFI, 2003). He is also the editor of several collections: Approaches to Popular Film (with Joanne Hollows, MUP, 1995); The Film Studies Reader (with Joanne Hollows and Peter Hutchings, Arnold/OUP, 2000); Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2001); Quality Popular Television: Cult TV, the Industry and Fans (with James Lyons, BFI, 2003); Defining Cult Movies: The Cultural Politics of Oppositional Taste (with Antonio Lazaro-Reboll, Julian Stringer and Andrew Willis, MUP, 2003); Film Histories: An Introduction and Reader (with Paul Grainge and Sharon Monteith, EUP, 2006); Film and Comic Books (with Ian Gordon and Matthew P. McAllister, University Press of Mississippi, 2007); and The Shifting Definitions of Genre: Essays on Labeling Films, Television Shows and Media (with Lincoln Geraghty, McFarland, 2008). He was also the founder of Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies; is a series editor (with Eric Schaefer) of the MUP book series, Inside Popular Film; and is a series editor (with Charles Acland) of the Berg book series, Film Genres. After over a decade researching the history of horror in the 1940s, he is now working on horror in the 1960s.
The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London - The Paranoid Woman's Film
Date: Thu. Mar. 7, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Venue: The Horse Hospital
Admission - £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concs
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, New York and L.A. as well as presenting special events worldwide. The UK branch is co-run by Janisse and Josh Saco, of Cigarette Burns Cinema.
Tubi's March Programming Details: "Two films that will have you cowering under your sofa cushions, celebrated spook-fest “Cold Moon” starring Christopher Lloyd and Josh Stewart, and “The Lullaby,” the acclaimed South African horror haunt from Oscar-nominated director Darrell James Roodt, are now available to stream for free exclusively on Tubi (www.tubi.tv) starting March 1.
Tubi is the world’s largest ad-supported video on demand service with over 12,000 movies and television shows from nearly every major Hollywood studio. The service gives fans of films and television programs an easy way to discover new content which is available completely free. Currently available in the US and Canada, Tubi can be accessed through a large number of devices and apps including Samsung televisions, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Comcast’s X1, iOS, and Android.
A chilling tale of supernatural vengeance, and from the author of “Beetlejuice,” ‘’Cold Moon’’ is a gothic murder-mystery that’ll keep you guessing till the shocking close. In a sleepy southern town, the Larkin family suffers a terrible tragedy. Now the Larkin’s are about to endure another: Traffic lights blink an eerie warning, a ghostly visage prowls in the streets, and graves erupt from the local cemetery in an implacable march of terror . . . And beneath the murky surface of the river, a shifting, almost human shape slowly takes form to seek a terrible vengeance. Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”), Josh Stewart (“Insidious: The Last Key”), Candy Clark (“Twin Peaks”), and Frank Whaley (“Monster Trucks”) star.
“The Lullaby,” called “a fiendishly nasty bit of babysitting” (Starburst) that’s “oft creepy and entirely haunting” (Cryptic Rock), sees a young woman wishing she’d never brought her baby home!
Chloe (Reine Swart) is overwhelmed by the birth of her first child. The incessant crying of her baby, the growing sense of guilt and paranoia sends her into depression. With a heightened urge to protect her son, Chloe sees a danger in every situation. She starts to hear voices, the humming of a childhood lullaby and sees flashes of a strange entity around her child. Convinced that the entity is real, Chloe will do everything in her power to protect her son. Is she haunted by evil or is it just the baby blues?
Watch “Cold Moon” on Tubi
Watch “The Lullaby” on Tubi
Bittersweet: 14 Macabre Tales of Love and Loss Book Details: "Explore the intersection of love, loss, and horror in these 14 bittersweet tales from author Dan Hilliard.
In “My Dark Box,” a girl waits in a haunted house prop for her yearly vampiric visitor. A father prepares his daughter for life alone in the wasteland in “Make the First Swing Count.” A boy and his dog find happiness – if not cleanliness – forever in “Rex.”
Featuring “The Sands,” a Lovecraftian body horror trip to the shore; “Live Action,” a neo-noir look at never letting go; and “Human Mercy,” a machine’s misguided attempt to care for her hapless human.
File Size: 929 KB
Print Length: 45 pages
Publication Date: March 17, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
For more information, visit Dan Hilliard's Bittersweet: 14 Macabre Tales of Love and Loss' Amazon page.