The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – organisation

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The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a non-profit, community-based curriculum through which established horror writers, directors, scholars and programmers/curators celebrate horror history and culture with a unique blend of enthusiasm and critical perspective.

Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a community-based organization that offers university-level history, theory and production-based workshops for people of all ages.

The Miskatonic is a non-profit endeavour through which established horror writers, directors, scholars and programmers/curators celebrate horror history and culture with a unique blend of enthusiasm and critical perspective.

The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies was founded by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010. After existing in embryonic form at Aqua Books in Winnipeg, Canada, Miskatonic moved to Montreal’s Blue Sunshine Psychotronic Film Centre in June of 2010.

Since 2013 Miskatonic Montreal has been co-directed by Kristopher Woofter and Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare, while Janisse teamed up with UK-based film scholar and Electric Sheep founder/editor-in-chief Virginie Sélavy to launch Miskatonic London in January 2015, which has gone on to enjoy lectures from the likes of genre luminaries Kim Newman, Stephen Thrower, Jasper Sharp, Mark Gatiss, John Hough, and Daniel Bird among others.

In fall of 2016, Janisse launched a pilot season for Miskatonic NYC beginning with classes by Jack Ketchum, Peter Straub, Douglas E. Winter, Dennis Paoli, Michael Gingold and more.

In addition to the regular September-May curriculum, Miskatonic co-presents events throughout the year. For details, email: miskatonic.london@gmail.com

“It’s not enough to know we’re scared – we need to understand how and why, and what being scared means. The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is an initiation into an understanding of horror, which is – in the end – a key to an understanding of everything.” Kim Newman, film critic and author

Upcoming events:

 Event archives:
  • School of Shock: Pain and Pleasure in the Classroom Safety Film
    School of Shock: Pain and Pleasure in the Classroom Safety Film
    Thu. Jan. 8, 2015 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    We kick off the pilot season of Miskatonic London with Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies founder Kier-La Janisse’s class on the history of the shocking classroom safety film.
  • I Eat Cannibals: Atavism, Exoticism and Atrocity
    I Eat Cannibals: Atavism, Exoticism and Atrocity
    Thu. Feb. 12, 2015 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    Mark Pilkington talks about the development of the Italo jungle thriller with a screening of Lenzi’s Man from Deep River (1972) followed by a series of classic cannibal film trailers to uncover the genre’s roots in the West’s growing interest in environmentalism, atavistic cultures, lost worlds and the perils of the green inferno.
  • The Battle of the Sexes: Sado-masochism in 1960s-70s cinema
    The Battle of the Sexes: Sado-masochism in 1960s-70s cinema
    Thu. Mar. 12, 2015 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    In the 1960s-70s, the relaxation of censorship, together with women’s greater social assertiveness, led to the appearance of a substantial number of art and/or exploitative films that explored male/female relationships through sexual power games. This lecture will examine the various ramifications of the period’s unfettered sado-masochistic fantasies.
  • London Underground: Death Line
    London Underground: Death Line
    Thu. Apr. 9, 2015 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    Kim Newman will talk about Gary Sherman’s 1972 British horror film, Death Line (aka Raw Meat), highlighting the film’s political subtext, transgressive use of cannibalism as metaphor and for shock value, black humour, performance styles, relationship with American and other British films on similar subjects, and exploration of London lore and locations.
  • Engulfed by Nature: Psychological and Supernatural Landscapes
    Engulfed by Nature: Psychological and Supernatural Landscapes
    Thu. May. 14, 2015 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    This lecture and screening by Jasper Sharp will look at how landscape and elemental conditions can be evoked to express dangerous forces existing beyond man’s perceptual and belief systems, but also, in contrast, how heightened psychological states can be given visual form through use of such timeless spaces, taking the viewer out of their comfort zones and back into nature at its most wild, mysterious and untamed.
  • Jesús Franco: Shooting at the speed of life
    Jesús Franco: Shooting at the speed of life
    Thu. Jun. 11, 2015 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    In this evening’s discussion, acclaimed author Stephen Thrower (Nightmare USA) will explore Jess Franco’s ability to juggle the commercial and personal dimensions of filmmaking through his confrontational works of horror, sadism and erotic spectacle.
  • Miskatonic Graduation at the Masonic Temple with "DEAD EYES OF LONDON"
    Miskatonic Graduation at the Masonic Temple with Dead Eyes of London
    Sat. Jul. 4, 2015 – 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    The Masonic Temple at the Andaz Hotel
    The Miskatonic London 2015 pilot semester has now wrapped, but we would like to invite all our graduates (those who were with us for the whole semester) to a screening of The Dead Eyes of London at the fantastic Masonic Temple in Liverpool Street on Saturday 4 July at 1pm (part of the East End Film Festival). This will be followed by a panel discussion on krimi films with Kim Newman, Jim Harper and Alex Fitch, after which the graduates will receive their Miskatonic diplomas from the hands of Kim Newman.
  • FREAKS, HIPPIES AND WITCHES: THE STRANGE, SALACIOUS CINEMA OF ANTONY BALCH
    Freaks, Hippies and Witches: The Strange, Salacious Cinema of Antony Balch
    Thu. Sep. 10, 2015 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    As part of Scalarama 2015, our first class of the fall semester features William Fowler talking about Antony Balch, an extraordinary figure of 1960s-70s British film, best known for directing Secrets of Sex (1970) and Horror Hospital (1973), and for his collaborations with William Burroughs.
  • SATANIC PANIC: POP-CULTURAL PARANOIA IN THE 1980s
    Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s
    Thu. Oct. 8, 2015 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    From con artists to pranksters and moralists to martyrs, this lecture – based on the instructors’ book of the same name – aims to capture the untold story of the how the Satanic Panic was fought on the pop culture frontlines and the serious consequences it had for many involved.
  • SHADOWS AND FOG: THE FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF THE GERMAN EDGAR WALLACE KRIMI
    Shadows and Fog: The Forgotten History of the German Edgar Wallace Krimi
    Thu. Nov. 12, 2015 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    Jim Harper explores the background and history of the Wallace krimi, from their beginnings to their long-term influence in Germany and beyond, discussing the charm and appeal of these quintessential European cult favourites.
  • LIVE FROM MISKATONIC: NIGEL KNEALE’S ‘THE ROAD’
    Libe from Miskatonic: Nigel Kneale’s ‘The Road’
    Thu. Dec. 10, 2015 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    To mark the launch of We Are the Martians, a new book of essays about Kneale and his work from Spectral Press, The Miskatonic Institute presents a unique celebration of the work of Nigel Kneale. A rehearsed reading of Kneale’s lost drama The Road (featuring Jonathan Rigby and others), will be followed by an in depth discussion of Kneale’s work and influence by some of the book’s authors
  • J.G. Ballard: Crash, The Atrocity Exhibition and Moving Beyond Literature
    J.G. Ballard: Crash, The Atrocity Exhibition and Moving Beyond Literature
    Thu. Jan. 7, 2016 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    This talk by visiting instructor Jack Sargeant offers an exploration of Ballard’s radical experimental work, and traces its influence into the subcultural mise en scène of the era and beyond.
  • Live From Miskatonic: JOHN HOUGH IN CONVERSATION
    Live From Miskatonic: John Hough in Conversation
    Thu. Feb. 11, 2016 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    In this special instalment of Live from the Miskatonic, John Hough (American Gothic; The Legend of Hell House; Twins of Evil) will participate in a lengthy on-stage conversation with our guest interviewer Justin Harries, the curator of London’s popular Filmbar70.
  • CANCELLED - INHUMAN NOISE: Synthesized Sound as Weapon, Antagonist and Supernatural Presence in Horror Cinema
    Cancelled – Inhuman Noise: Synthesized Sound as Weapon, Antagonist and Supernatural Presence in Horror Cinema
    Thu. Mar. 10, 2016 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    This talk looks beyond the soundtrack at the role of composers, instruments, computers and other sound-making devices in horror films, revealing that the relationship between alien sounds and inhuman activity is not always as straightforward as one might expect.
  • HOLY TORTURE: Desire, Cruelty, Power and Religion in 1960s-70s Cinema
    Holy Torture: Desire, Cruelty, Power and Religion in 1960s-70s Cinema
    Thu. Apr. 14, 2016 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    The 1960s-70s saw copious amounts of on-screen self-flagellation, brutal witch-hunting, delirious possessions and sadistic exorcisms, culminating into the so-called ‘nunsploitation’ genre. This lecture by Miskatonic London co-director Virginie Selavy will explore the various ways in which desire, cruelty, power and religion are configured in the cinema of the period.
  • IT’S NOT REAL, BUT IT’S REALITY: The Story of Custom-Made Sex and Horror
    It’s Not Real, But It’s Reality: The Story of Custom-Made Sex and Horror
    Thu. May. 12, 2016 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    This lecture traces the history of the custom shoot – from its clumsy beginnings in video horror to the present facsimile death scenes – which occupies a unique space in the collective mind-set, one created and never occupied by the ‘reality’ of snuff films.
  • Rituals in the Dark: Evoking Magic on Film
    Rituals in the Dark: Evoking Magic on Film
    Thu. Sep. 22, 2016 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    Step into the safety of the magic circle as Mark Pilkington explores how the myriad Western esoteric magical practices and traditions have been represented, enacted and portrayed on film.
  • Vulgar Structures; or Andrzej Zulawski's Love Triangles
    Vulgar Structures; or Andrzej Zulawski’s Love Triangles
    Thu. Oct. 13, 2016 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    Writer and filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski, who passed away earlier this year, worked in different genres: war films (The Third Part of the Night), gothic horror (The Devil, Possession), melodrama (The Most Important Thing is to Love, My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days, La Fidelite), thrillers (La Femme publique, Cosmos), science fiction (On the Silver Globe), costume dramas (La Note bleue),crime films (L’Amour braque), erotic dramas (Szamanka) – even musicals (Boris Godunov). However, all of Zulawski’s films share the same fundamentally vulgar structure: the love triangle. This class looks at the love triangle fundamental to all of Zulawski’s films and squares it with this remarkable director’s life and loves.
  • Little Terrors: Children's Horror on Film and Television
    Little Terrors: Children’s Horror on Film and Television
    Thu. Nov. 10, 2016 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    This class will explore in detail the area of horror films and television programmes created specifically for children in the UK and the US.
  • Working the Blue Rose Case: Signs, Codes, and Mysteries in David Lynch's 'Fire Walk With Me'
    Working the Blue Rose Case: Signs, Codes, and Mysteries in David Lynch’s ‘Fire Walk With Me’
    Thu. Dec. 8, 2016 – 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    The Horse Hospital
    Fire Walk with Me (1992, directed by David Lynch and co-written with Robert Engels) was created to address unanswered questions in the seminal TV series Twin Peaks (1990-91), but instead it offered more puzzles and dream narratives to confound viewers. Its premiere in Cannes was met with boos and jeers from the audience, but over the years critical opinion of this challenging film has matured and developed. Maura McHugh will explore the symbols and themes that underpin Fire Walk with Me and Twin Peaks, and will offer you a refresher course in its characters and strange happenings in advance of the new series of Twin Peaks that will materialise in 2017

Miskatonic Institute



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