Satanic Panic: Pop Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s
In 1980s North America, everywhere you turned there were warnings about a widespread evil conspiracy to indoctrinate the vulnerable through the media they consumed. This percolating cultural hysteria, now known as the ‘Satanic Panic’, was both illuminated and propagated through almost every pop culture pathway in the 1980s, from heavy metal music to Dungeons & Dragons role playing games, Christian comics, direct-to-VHS scare films, pulp paperbacks, Saturday morning cartoons and TV talk shows — and created its own fascinating cultural legacy of Satan-battling VHS tapes, music and literature. As the hysteria moved overseas to the UK, Australia and South Africa, its life extended into the 1990s – and some say it never went away. From con artists to pranksters and moralists to martyrs, this lecture – based on the instructors’ book of the same name, which will be available at the screening – aims to capture the untold story of how the Satanic Panic was fought on the pop culture frontlines and the serious consequences it had for many involved.
About the instructor:
KIER-LA JANISSE is a film writer and programmer, the founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies and Owner/Editor-in-Chief of Spectacular Optical. She has been a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas, co-founded Montreal microcinema Blue Sunshine, founded the CineMuerte Horror Film Festival in Vancouver (1999-2005) and was the subject of the documentary Celluloid Horror (2005). She has written for Filmmaker, Shindig!, Incite: Journal of Experimental Media, Rue Morgue and Fangoria magazines, has contributed to The Scarecrow Movie Guide (Sasquatch Books, 2004) and Destroy All Movies!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film (Fantagraphics, 2011), and is the author of A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (FAB Press, 2007) and House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (FAB Press, 2012). She co-edited Spectacular Optical Book One: KID POWER! with Paul Corupe, and is currently writing A Song From the Heart Beats the Devil Every Time, about children’s programming in the counterculture era.
DAVID FLINT is a freelance writer, sometime filmmaker and full time angry misanthrope who has edited Sheer Filth, Divinity and Headpress, authored Babylon Blue, Ten Years of Terror and Zombie Holocaust and written for publications ranging from Rapid Eye, Bizarre and Skin Two to Penthouse, Loaded and Mayfair.
GAVIN BADDELEY is an English writer specialising in the devilish and decadent, with a special interest in the darker fringes of history. He’s penned ten books and written for numerous periodicals. An honorary priest in the Church of Satan, Baddeley’s in demand as a speaker in both academic and media circles.
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.
The next course dates of the autumn semester are 12 November and 10 December. For the full details of the course please check the Miskatonic website. For all enquiries, please email Miskatonic.london[at]gmail.com.