The Black Museum Returns
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The Black Museum Returns

Toronto's macabre lecture series launches its sixth semester on March 18

Black Museum

We want to let you in on a secret: some of the “normal” people in your life really like watching scary movies. And they’re not just doing it in October. In fact, this faction of fiends is so large that there exists The Black Museum—a lecture series on all things horror. Continuing their partnership with the Royal Cinema, its sixth semester starts on March 18.

Inspired in part by the series of 10 hour-long courses put out by Montreal’s Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, The Black Museum is the brainchild of Paul Corupe, the B-Movie aficionado behind and a writer for Rue Morgue Magazine, and Andrea ‘Hellbat’ Subissati; a sociology scholar who penned When There’s No More Room in Hell: The Sociology of the Living Dead, and co-host of the Faculty of Horror podcast. Opting for a shorter, more palatable course-load for their hometown horror fans, they launched the project—bearing the name of Scotland Yard’s gallery of dark crime artifacts—in the Fall of 2012.

Familiar with the flack that the genre gets for being senselessly violent, misogynistic, and so-called fodder for real-life criminals, Corupe and Subissati created The Black Museum as a place for educated, and passionate, fans to congregate and intellectually discuss horror minutiae. Don’t worry if you’ve never seen a Giallo film, or even every Friday the 13th sequel – prerequisites don’t exist at this institution. In fact, non-fans are encouraged to come out and learn, or at least discover that those who enjoy the darker side of life are capable of assembling without breaking out an Ouija board, or even sacrificing virgins.

Previous lectures have taken fans through a mélange of topics, such as medical terror, pregnancy, found footage, costuming, movie poster art, religious cults, death photography, snuff films, and dolls in horror. The new semester promises another wide-spanning list of talks, starting tonight on a spiritual note with writer and ghost enthusiast Brian Baker. Drawing on his own spooky experiences, he’ll examine the role of paranormal investigators in some of history’s greatest phantom films including The Haunting, Poltergeist, and Paranormal Activity.

April 8 sees Cinema Studies professor Adam Nayman delve into the expansive career of director, producer, and actor Larry Fessenden. Referencing films such as Habit, The Last Winter, and Beneath, Nayman will also highlight Fessenden’s influence on independent filmmaking. The spring session wraps up on an interesting note with an exploration of erotic-grotesque-nonsense in Japanese horror on May 13. Artist Jennifer Linton takes the lectern, armed with five films from the last 45 years that represent the bizarre, unabashedly sexual ideas that blossomed from Japan’s fascist interwar years.

All lectures start at 9:15pm and take place at the Royal Cinema (608 College Street). Tickets can be purchased online in advance for $12, or at the door for $15.