The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, the world’s longest-running educational organization devoted to the study of horror history, theory and production, has just announced a new Los Angeles branch to complement those in London and New York. The new Los Angeles branch will be hosted at the Los Feliz headquarters of the Philosophical Research Society, founded by famed occultist Manly P. Hall in 1934.
“The University of Philosophical Research is excited to partner with the Miskatonic Institute,” says PRS President and CEO Greg Salyer of the partnership. “Our storied campus in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles has been a home for seekers for 84 years now. Our mission has remained unchanged in all that time—to facilitate the exploration, discovery, application, cultivation, and rediscovery of wisdom. What has changed are the forms that meaning takes, so in addition to literature, philosophy, and religion, we now explore the arts with our new art gallery, as well as film and media—and now horror studies. Welcome Miskatonic. We look forward to engaging and edifying discussions of what the horror genre can teach us about ourselves and culture, and we’re glad you have made your home here.”
The new LA branch will be co-directed by Miskatonic founder Kier-La Janisse with scholars Elric Kane and Rebekah McKendry, both of the Shock Waves podcast. Classes will begin on September 13th with a monthly pilot season, starting with a masterclass with filmmaker Don Coscarelli (PHANTASM, BUBBA HO-TEP, JOHN DIES AT THE END) – whose new book True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking is due out October 2 – moderated by Blumhouse’s Ryan Turek. The season will continue with a class on aquatic horror by filmmaker and Miskatonic LA co-director Rebekah McKendry, PhD, author David J. Skal expanding on ideas from his book The Horror Show about the ways medical crises such as Thalidimide and AIDS were manifested in horror cinema, and filmmaker Rodman Flender with a breakdown and analysis of the Murder Set Piece in horror.
The New York branch of Miskatonic also has a new co-director – joining Kier-La Janisse and Yellow Veil Pictures’ co-founder Joe Yanick will be filmmaker Jacqueline Castel, known for her collaborations with Sacred Bones Records and the upcoming feature documentary A MESSAGE FROM THE TEMPLE: THE STORY OF THEE TEMPLE OV PSYCHICK YOUTH. Together the New York team has put together an incredible lineup for fall 2018, beginning with a class by renowned painter and performance artist Joe Coleman, moderated by film writer and producer Heather Buckley.
In October Miskatonic NYC embarks on two important collaborations in an exploration of horror made for the small screen: first, scholar and archivist Amanda Reyes, editor and co-author of the book Are You in the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium: 1964-1999 visits from Texas to present a brief history of the Made-for-Television film in conjunction with the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, followed by our first partnership with the Paley Center for Media, in which curator David Bushman presents a special class on TV horror pioneer Dan Curtis (DARK SHADOWS, THE NIGHT STALKER, TRILOGY OF TERROR).
In November, comedy writer David Misch (MORK & MINDY, POLICE SQUAD!) joins to present his class HA! AAAH! about the intersection of comedy and horror, and we finish the season with sound designer Dean Hurley (TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN) exploring our physiological experience of sound and how that is used to chilling effect in horror.
Miskatonic London kicks off its fourth school year with Sarah Crowther’s class on drag and transvestism in horror, followed by GHOSTWATCH scribe Stephen Volk in conversation with filmmaker Sean Hogan (THE DEVIL’S BUSINESS) in October. In November, former programmer Jane Giles will present a guided tour of the notorious Scala Cinema through a cache of rare archival documents, architects’ plans, drawings, photographs and other ephemera, in conjunction with her new book on the history of the Scala from FAB Press. And in December we close with a strangely seasonal class on American Highway Horror by scholar and author Bernice M. Murphy, bookended by studies of unlikely Christmas movies PSYCHO and DEAD END.
In addition to our monthly London classes, two of London instructors – Stephen Thrower and Jon Towlson – have been invited to Lisbon for the Motel X International Horror Film Festival to moderate artist talks on national horror cinema with filmmakers Andy Dyson (GHOST STORIES) and Pascal Laugier (MARTYRS) and Xavier Gens (FRONTIERE(S)), respectively.
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 Los Angeles as well as presenting special events worldwide.