The final class of this season’s Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London is a special treat that is not to be missed: leading horror authority Stephen Thrower will launch his gorgeous and extensive new book on legendary exploitation figure Jesús Franco with a talk exploring the Spanish director’s singular approach to filmmaking and his lifelong passion for horror and erotica. Tickets are now on sale.
During a career spanning more than fifty years, Jesús (‘Jess’) Franco created a strange and unique style of commercial genre filmmaking, bordering at times on the avant-garde. Obsessed with ‘aberrant’ sex, erotic horror and the writings of the Marquis De Sade, he took a resolutely personal approach to movie-making, and after spending the 1960s honing his technique on slightly more conventional projects he embarked in the 1970s on a sustained period of intensive shooting, making as many as ten or twelve films in one year. Shooting with a small crew, exclusively on location, he worked at a speed that allowed little time for the honing of a perfect finished product, instead creating a cinema of spontaneity, improvisation and caprice. Franco valued freedom above all: by combining a rapid-fire series of small-scale commercial film projects, a ‘creative’ approach to finance, and a dedicated passion for the sensational, he was able to carve his own niche and digress into the most extraordinary experimental ellipses. In this evening’s discussion, Stephen Thrower will explore Franco’s ability to juggle the commercial and personal dimensions of filmmaking through his confrontational works of horror, sadism and erotic spectacle.
About the instructor:
Stephen Thrower, writer and musician, was born in Lancashire in 1963. After moving to London in 1985 he began writing reviews for the seminal horror magazine Shock Xpress, before launching his own film periodical Eyeball in 1989 with contributors including novelist Ramsey Campbell, filmmaker Ron Peck, and critics Kim Newman, Daniel Bird and Alan Jones. His first book, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, was published in 1999, followed by The Eyeball Compendium (2003) and Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents (2007). His most recent work is Murderous Passions; the delirious cinema of Jesús Franco, published by Strange Attractor in March 2015.
Thrower and his partner Ossian Brown are founders of the avant-garde music group Cyclobe, who recently recorded new soundtracks for three Super-8 films by the British filmmaker and queer activist Derek Jarman (Sulphur, Tarot and Garden of Luxor). As a solo artist, Thrower scored Pakistan’s first gore film, Zibahkhana aka Hell’s Ground (2007), contributed electronic music to Down Terrace (2010) by Ben Wheatley, and was commissioned by the BFI in 2012 to score three silent short films by the pioneering director of gay erotica Peter De Rome.
About the Miskatonic Institute:
Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a non-profit, community-based organization that started in Canada, founded by Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010. The school currently has branches in Montreal and London, with Miskatonic London operating under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and Electric Sheep Founder/Editor Virginie Sélavy.
All classes take place at the historic Horse Hospital, the heart of the city’s underground culture. Individual class tickets are £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concessions and will be available 30 days in advance of each class.
For full details of the next courses please check the Miskatonic website. For all enquiries, please email Miskatonic.london[at]gmail.com.