The 1960s-70s saw copious amounts of on-screen self-flagellation, brutal witch-hunting, delirious possessions and sadistic exorcisms, culminating into the so-called ‘nunsploitation’ genre. Beyond the desire to shock and titillate, many of these films, most notably Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971), were part of the time’s questioning of all power structures, pitching repressive, corrupt and hypocritical religious authorities against individual freedom and morality. In particular, films such as Gianfranco Mingozzi’s Flavia the Heretic (1974) denounced the oppression of women in patriarchal society, and pictured their revolt through disobedience and deviant sexuality. This deviant sexuality was also sometimes part of an alternative form of worship connected to natural forces, as in Juan López Moctezuma’s Alucarda (1977). For Moctezuma, as for his fellow Panique associate Alejandro Jodorowsky, spiritual initiation involved an element of violence, although not the same kind of violence as that of the Catholic Church, as depicted in many of these films. The lecture will explore the various ways in which desire, cruelty, power and religion are configured in the cinema of the period.
Please note there will be no admission after the lecture has started at 7.30pm.
About the instructor
Virginie Sélavy is the founder and editor of Electric Sheep, the online magazine for transgressive cinema. She has edited the collection of essays The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology, and has contributed to World Directory Cinema: Eastern Europe and written about Victorian London in Film Locations: Cities of the Imagination – London. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Sight&Sound, Rolling Stone France, Cineaste and Frieze.
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. Season tickets are £40.
The course dates of the Spring 2016 semester are 7 January, 11 February, 10 March, 14 April, 12 May. For the full details of the course please check the Miskatonic website. For all enquiries, please email Miskatonic.london[at]gmail.com.
Loosely based on Sheridan Le Fanu’s ‘Carmilla’, extravagant, sumptuous, macabre Alucarda hails from the golden age of Mexican horror. Raven-haired orphan Alucarda has been brought up in a convent to shield her from the evil influence of her diabolical father. But the devil in her blood cannot be suppressed and she draws the newly arrived Justine into her world. Thereon ensue copious amounts of nudity, wild-eyed hysteria, repressed desires, hints of lesbian love, religious exaltation, levitation, exorcism, self-flagellating nuns and unholy rituals, most of it set in a womb-like convent with nuns dressed in what looks like bloodied bandages. Part of the Panique movement co-founded by Alejandro Jodorowsky, director Juan López Moctezuma shared his interest in creating a magical and ritualistic kind of spectacle that would shake up audiences’ perceptions. He certainly succeeded with this astounding, surreal, eye-popping stunner.
+ The Moon Bird (Brothers McLeod, UK 2010, 15 minutes)
A dark animated fairy tale in black and white, about an orphan girl kidnapped by a witch who wants her tears for a magic potion.
Co-curated by Strange Attractor Press, this special weekend of EEFF screenings at the Andaz Hotel Liverpool Street’s Masonic Temple includes witches, ghosts and devilish mermaids, taking you from Wicca to haunted Mexican convents, and from British classics to a special evening with Dave McKean. Full schedule below.
Eye of the Devil
J. Lee Thompson | 1966 | UK | 92 mins
Vineyard owner (David Niven) returns to his castle, where he and wife (Deborah Kerr) are confronted by a witch, calling for a blood sacrifice.
14:00 Night of the Eagle
Sidney Hayers | 1962 | UK | 87 mins
A psychology professor discovers that his wife has been practicing witchcraft and presses her to stop. Then things begin to go horribly, supernaturally wrong.
16:00 Audrey Rose
Robert Wise | 1977 | USA | 113 mins – 16mm Screening
A young Anthony Hopkins is unnervingly obsessed with the idea that Ivy Templeton is the reincarnation of his daughter.
19:00 An Evening with Dave McKean
Illustrator and designer Dave McKean has created books and graphic novels of The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman) and The Homecomeing (Ray Bradbury), worked with Richard Dawkins and Stephen King, designed characters for Harry Potter, and exhibited across the world. Join us for an evening with a truly unique artist, where Dave will discuss his work, and offer an exclusive first look at footage from his upcoming feature Luna. His other work can be seen on www.keanoshow.com
2005 | USA/UK | 104 mins + Shorts + Dave McKean in conversation with SF Said
A collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Mirrormask is a dizzying journey into a complex fantasy world. 15-year-old circus worker Helena finds herself in a landscape filled with giants, monkeybirds and dangerous sphinxes. The mysterious Mirrormask is her only hope of escape.
The Week Before
1998 | UK | 23 mins
A card game between God and the Devil, inspired by jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.
2002 | UK | 28 mins
Bruised from a failed marriage, a man wanders around Venice finding old books, memories, and a momentary ghost.
I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP
Continuing directors’ month on IR4MCU, guest presenter Virginie Sélavy interviews legendary Mexican director Alejandro Jodorowsky who talks about using eerie sound effects, Sam Peckinpah and Antonin Artaud’s ‘The Conquest of Mexico’. The show is introduced by Alex Fitch and was edited by Richard Thomas.