Step into the safety of the magic circle as Mark Pilkington explores how the myriad Western esoteric magical practices and traditions have been represented, enacted and portrayed on film.
As one might expect, depictions of magic on film have tended towards the lurid and sensational rather than the spiritual or the sublime but they also provide a useful reflection of popular attitudes and ideas about magic and, on occasion, the unorthodox beliefs and practices of the film makers themselves.
From the grit of medieval grimoires and spellcraft to the closeted exoticism and eroticism of early modern hermetic orders and the spiritual liberation of mid twentieth century witchcraft, we will look at a number of representations of magic on film, from the silent era, through Expressionism, B-movies, the avant garde and into the mainstream.
In doing so, we’ll also learn something of the history of Western magics and their symbiotic relationship of influence with popular culture, and enjoy blood and fire, sex and sacrifice, great costumes, freaky dancing and all the spirits and demons that lurk in the heart of man. And remember, whatever you do, don’t break the circle!
About the instructor:
Mark Pilkington is the author of the book and documentary film Mirage Men and Far Out: 101 Strange Tales from Science’s Outer Edge. He has written for The Guardian, The Wire, Sight and Sound, Electric Sheep, Fortean Times, Frieze and The Quietus amongst others. He founded and runs Strange Attractor Press and regularly speaks on esoteric and fringe culture topics.
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. Season ticket is £35 and will be available shortly. 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.