The Black Museum's Lectures Take a Deadly Serious Approach to Horror Film
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The Black Museum’s Lectures Take a Deadly Serious Approach to Horror Film

The Black Museum's lecture series examines the smarter side of the splatter genre.


Horror film isn’t all jump scares, gore, and viscera. There’s also a subtler side to the blood-drenched genre, but one that’s no less unsettling. The Black Museum, based in the Big Picture Cinema on Gerrard Street East, hosts a discussion series that approaches scary movies from an intellectual perspective.

The series will begin its third “semester” on September 26. Named after Scotland Yard’s infamous in-house museum devoted to the darkest and most gruesome crimes the organization investigated, the Black Museum of Toronto deals in grotesque voyeurism of the most entertaining kind.

The series is curated by Paul Corupe and Andrea Subissati, who work to run an event that, as they put it, allows “horror professionals of all kinds to share their experience, knowledge and love of the genre in a casual and interactive atmosphere.” The lectures cover a range of topics, and engage with film theory and literary criticism; some of the sessions have been interactive workshops led by industry professionals. Past lectures have dealt with the iconography of horror film posters, representations of Bigfoot on film, and the creation of (and subsequent cultural fallout from) Ken Russell’s 1972 film The Devils.

New to this semester of the lecture series is the Black Museum Debate Club. On November 7, participants in the “King of the Ring: Stephen King Movie Debate” will verbally tussle over which Stephen King movie adaptation was the best. Moderated by Stuart Andrews, the debate panel will consist of Tal Zimerman, Steve Kostanski, Ghoulish Gary Pullin, Monica S. Kuebler, Less Lee Moore, Shaun Hatton, Alexandra West, and J.M. McNab.

Kicking off the series on September 26, Jamie Love (creative director of Sugar Rockets, a local game developer) will discuss the history of horror in video games, in a talk called “Arcane Arcade.” On October 10, Rue Morgue Magazine contributor Mark R. Hasan will explore soundtracks from Italian giallo films. Costume designer Alex Kavanagh, whose credits include Repo! The Genetic Opera and almost all the movies in the Saw franchise, will talk about the cultural history of Halloween costumes during her timely lecture on October 24. On November 21, Torontoist‘s own Kiva Rearson (who is also the founding editor of the feminist film journal Cléo) will discuss a particularly disturbing kind of body horror in her talk on “Woeful Wombs: Pregnancy and the Horror Film.”