Rank #1: Episode 33. All Work and No Play: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980)
Alex and Andrea take a tour of the Overlook Hotel examining Stanley Kubrick’s seminal film, the spectre of Stephen King’s book and the complexities of family life under the American dream. REQUIRED READING The Shining. Dir Stanley Kubrick, 1980 EXTRA CREDIT Kubrick Goes Gothic. A preview piece from American Film anticipating the release and impact of The Shining. The Overlook Hotel. This comprehensive Tumblr has all your Shining-related needs covered. The Making of The Shining. Vivian Kubrick’s candid behind-the-scenes documentary should really be required reading! Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, edited by Danel Olson. Essays, artwork and interviews that deliver the goods that other books might have, ahem… overlooked. COURSE NOTES Intro song: Nail Ballet from Nightmare Picture Theatre, courtesy of James Zirco Fisher. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #2: Episode 60. Season of the Witch: Witches in Film Part 3, The Witch (2015) and The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
The past few years have seen the figure of the witch become a cultural touchstone for progressives and conservatives alike. From the resurgence of astrology, tarot, and natural healing methods to feminist rallying cry, the witch has never been more inclusive or divisive. Through analysis of two recent films, Andrea and Alex examine the witch’s new meaning in contemporary Western society, and why she remains a symbol of subversive feminism. REQUIRED READING The VVitch: A New England Folktale. Dir. Robert Eggers, 2015. The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Dir. André Øvredal, 2016. EXTRA CREDIT Yes, This Is a Witch Hunt. I’m a Witch and I’m Hunting You. Lindy West’s New York Times Op-Ed on the misappropriation of the term witch-hunt during the rise of the #MeToo movement. Why the Witch Is the Pop-Culture Heroine We Need Right Now – A look at why the figure of the witch has become so deservedly popular. Satanic Feminism by Per Faxneld. Faxneld’s book on the Devil as liberator of women in the nineteenth century. The Book of English Magic – An overview of the real and perceived magic used across the British Isles, with a chapter dedicated to witches and witchcraft. The Autopsy of Jane Doe post-screening Q & A – Following a showing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, stars Emile Hirsh, Brian Cox and director André Øvredal talk about the making of The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings. The Satanic Temple – Activism and critical film appreciation, apparently. W.I.T.C.H. PDX – The figure of the witch adopted for anonymous activism in Portland. Start a local coven near you! LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #3: Episode 31. The Power of Christ Compels You: The Exorcist (1973)
Keep a crucifix close and put some pea soup on the stove because Alex and Andrea are confronting their demons to talk about The Exorcist and why the scariest things are sometimes the most personal. REQUIRED READING The Exorcist. Dir William Friedkin, 1973. EXTRA CREDIT The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. The 1949 Washington Post piece on an exorcism in Mt. Rainier. The news article that inspired Blatty to write the best-selling novel. History Today article on The Exorcist. Nick Cull explores how the smash-hit horror film exploited all the issues that most worried Americans in the early 1970s. Horror and the Monstrous-Feminine: An Imaginary Abjection by Barbara Creed. Creed’s seminal paper which explores the female body as a site of trauma and terror. I Was There Too – The Exorcist with Eileen Dietz. Matt Gourley’s fun and informative podcast focuses on interviews with actors who were there for the great moments of cinema history. In this episode he interviews Linda Blair’s body and stunt double who was also the face of Captain Howdy, Eileen Dietz, who gives a personal account of the shooting of the film. Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror by Jason Zinoman. The New York Times writer describes playwright Harold Pinter’s influence on The Exorcist’s original theatrical cut. COURSE NOTES Intro song: Nail Ballet from Nightmare Picture Theatre, courtesy of James Zirco Fisher. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #4: Episode 29. Jesus Wept: Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
Andrea and Alex open a puzzlebox to unpack the history, mythology and impact of Clive Barker’s iconic series. REQUIRED READING Hellraiser. Dir Clive Barker, 1987. Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Dir Tony Randel. 1988. EXTRA CREDIT The Hellbound Heart – Clive Barker’s novella that spawned the franchise. “Fire, Brimstone and PVC: Clive Barker’s Cenobites as Agents of Hell” – Andrea’s chapter in The Undead and Theology looks at how the Hellraiser series suggests a modernized depiction of hell, morality and punishment. The Hellraiser Podcast – They’ll tear your ears apart! COURSE NOTES Intro song: Nail Ballet from Nightmare Picture Theatre, courtesy of James Zirco Fisher. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #5: Episode 25. I Thought There’d Be Stars: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Andrea and Alex return to the outskirts of civilization with Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods. Looking at archetypes, genre tropes and the limits of humanity, the Faculty ponders the fate of horror and if it should survive. REQUIRED READING The Cabin in the Woods. Dir Drew Goddard. 2012. EXTRA CREDIT The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon. Literature’s Greatest Fools. A look at famous fools from across literature. The Stanford Prison Experiment on YouTube. Not a horror movie per se, but pretty chilling all the same. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #6: Episode 38. Alienation, Part 1: Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986)
Catch Jonesie the cat and keep the work loader handy because Alex and Andrea are on an express elevator to LV-426 discussing feminism, mothering, special effects and the enduring influence of classic science fiction in the Alien franchise. Stay tuned for Part 2 in June! REQUIRED READING Alien. Dir Ridley Scott, 1979. Aliens. Dir James Cameron, 1986. EXTRA CREDIT Strange Shapes – a blog dedicated to everything Alien. Reel Terror: The Scary, Bloody, Gory, Hundred-Year History of Classic Horror Films by David Konow. H.R. Giger – Giger’s Necronomicon and the making of Alien – A documentary on HR Giger, the artist behind some of the arresting imagery in the movies. Alien Behind the Scenes – The extensive making-of doc taking a look at all that went into Alien. The Making of Aliens – The equally-extensive featurette about the second film, featuring interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Get That Life: How I Co-Founded Bitch Media – A history of the evolution and influence of Bitch Magazine. COURSE NOTES Intro song: Nail Ballet from Nightmare Picture Theatre, courtesy of James Zirco Fisher. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #7: Episode 47. Caved In: The Descent (2005)
Andrea and Alex take a deep dive into Neil Marshall’s 2005 contemporary horror classic, examining the intersections of intimacy, adventure, trust and truth. Who will survive, what will be left of them and which ending will they go with? REQUIRED READING The Descent. Dir. Neil Marshall, 2005. EXTRA CREDIT Cave Ecosystems: Bones and Baskets – A concise exploration of caves and humanities on going use of them. Ruthless Reviews – The Descent. A oppositional spin on the film’s depiction of women. Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema by Laura Mulvey – a seminal text for film analysis that introduced the concept of the male gaze. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #8: Episode 36. Mommy Dearest: The Babadook (2014) and Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Everyone’s got mother issues, right? This episode examines the perceived and manifested strains on maternal instinct once malevolent forces enter the picture. Alex and Andrea investigate where these forces come from and what they truly want. REQUIRED READING The Babadook. Dir Jennifer Kent, 2014. Goodnight Mommy. Dirs Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, 2014. EXTRA CREDIT Monster. Jennifer Kent’s short film on which The Babadook was based. The Mommy Trap: Four recent horror movies by women explore the most troubling aspects of motherhood. The Monstrous Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis by Barbara Creed. Talking to the Directors of the Horror Film ‘Goodnight Mommy‘. Vice talks to the directors about the origins of the film. COURSE NOTES Intro song: Nail Ballet from Nightmare Picture Theatre, courtesy of James Zirco Fisher. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #9: Episode 20. “It’s Very Hard To Get Lost In America These Days”: The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Andrea and Alex take a wrong turn down the horrored halls and discuss Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick’s groundbreaking film, The Blair Witch Project. By looking at the created mythology, unstable narrative and audience reaction they hope to find the map before it starts getting dark. REQUIRED READING The Blair Witch Project. Dir Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick. 1999. [DVD] EXTRA CREDIT 32 Things We Learned From the ‘Blair Witch Project’ Commentary Track. A break down of the most salient points from the director and producer commentary on the DVD. Book Excerpt: “Film Firsts: The 25 Movies that Created Contemporary American Cinema” by Ethan Alter. An analysis of the release and revolutionary marketing campaign. The Blair Witch Project. The OG website with only a few updates. Still a great source the Blair Witch mythology and timeline of events. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #10: Episode 11. Family Dinner: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so Andrea and Alex take a bite out of Tobe Hooper’s horror classic and all the film and cultural theory that goes with it because the family that eats together, stays together. REQUIRED READING The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Dir. Tobe Hooper. 1974 [DVD] [Blu-Ray] The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Dir. Marcus Nispel. 2003 [DVD] [Blu-Ray] EXTRA CREDIT The E! True Hollywood Story: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A sensationalist look at the inception, production and reception of Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre in time for one of the Platinum Dunes retreads. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #11: Episode 61. Stardust: Event Horizon (1997) and Sunshine (2007)
Andrea and Alex reach for the heavens and find the furthest reaches of hell with two films about space exploration and the darkness therein. Event Horizon and Sunshine explore the different reasons humankind would dare try to conquer space and the horrors that might await us there. REQUIRED READING Event Horizon. Dir Paul W.S. Anderson, 1997. Sunshine. Dir Danny Boyle, 2007. EXTRA CREDIT Class of 2018 t-shirts! Available until September 2018 – get ’em at Twisted Ts! Death Count: All of the Deaths in the Friday the 13th Film Series, Illustrated by Stacie Ponder. The Making of Event Horizon. Check out all the behind the scenes stories and detailed production history. Event Horizon‘s shooting draft of the script. The Myth of Oedipus. The Greek myth and the importance of sight. Mad, Bad and Dangerous? The Scientist and the Cinema by Christopher Frayling. A book that specifically looks at the personalities of on-screen scientists. Reasons Behind Cult Suicide. A look at the reasons and psychology behind mass suicide and why most of the “suicide cults” also involve a fair amount of homicide. Kermode Uncut Film Club: Sunshine. British critic Mark Kermode talks about appreciating Danny Boyle’s Sunshine. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #12: Episode 72. Sleeper Hit: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
Freddy Krueger may be the man of our dreams but what about his creator, the studio that sustained him, his victims and the 1980s? Andrea and Alex dive into their nightmares and beyond to explore the lasting effects of one of horror’s most beloved franchises. Class of 2019 T-shirts are available now at Twisted Ts! Salem Horror Fest – Tickets to our live show on October 5th are on sale now! REQUIRED READING A Nightmare on Elm Street. Dir. Wes Craven, 1984. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Dir. Jack Sholder, 1985. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Dir. Chuck Russell, 1987. EXTRA CREDIT Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy. The four hour documentary that delves into the nooks and crannies of the Elm Street franchise. The Faculty of Horror: Filmmaker Spotlight. Dreamweaver: Wes Craven (1939-2015). Our mini-episode on Wes Craven. “Fairy Tales for the Apocalypse”: Wes Craven on the Horror Film. A 1985 interview with Craven on the state of horror films in America. Wes Craven: Thinking Through Horror. A retrospective piece on Craven’s career after his passing. The Monstrous Years: Teens, Slasher Films, and the Family. Pat Gill’s article on how the slasher film can be read as a reflection of the broken home. How Did A Bunch Of Mythical Monsters Become Queer Icons? A look at the importance of reclaiming monsters. The Singular Joy of the Dumb, Fun Slasher Movie Threequel. Wired’s look at the 1980s Horror Threequel cycle. Uncover: The Village. CBC Podcast’s in-depth series on the Bruce McArthur case. Robin Wood on the Horror Film: Collected Essays and Reviews. The collected horror-based writings of film critic Robin Wood. The Legal Industry for Kidnapping Teens. Vice’s look at the Troubled Teen Industry. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #13: Episode 18. Camp Blood: Friday the 13th (1980) and Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Pack your bag, say goodbye to Mom and Dad because it’s camp time. The annual tradition of camping has come to the Faculty of Horror and Andrea and Alex set off into the wilds to talk about nature, madmen/women and the politics of adolescence. REQUIRED READING Sleepaway Camp. Dir. Robert Hiltzik. 1983. [Blu-ray/DVD] Friday the 13th. Dir. Sean S. Cunningham. 1980. [DVD] EXTRA CREDIT History of Summer Camps. A brief history of the North American compulsion to camp overnight. Sleepaway Camp Analysis, a brilliant and well-referenced article on the impact of the film from a soiological perspective. Horror Movies as Modern Day Morality Tales. An analytical look at some of the most popular slashers and what they have to teach us about life (and horrible, grisly death). LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #14: Episode 59. In Plain Sight: The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter’s terrifying cult classic stands the test of time in many regards – from the practical effects, to the performances to the storytelling, there’s little about the film that doesn’t work. Andrea and Alex tackle the film and its stances on leadership, paranoia, the notion of discovery, and more over a bottle of Jim Beam. REQUIRED READING The Thing. Dir. John Carpenter, 1982. EXTRA CREDIT Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present by Robin R. Means Coleman. An in-depth look at Black culture and representation through the lens of horror films. Aids as Monster in Science Fiction by Edward Guerrero. Filmnoia, or How Fear Permeated Cinema. George Wead’s history of perception and paranoia in North American films. You Must Remember This podcast – the Blacklist series. The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 board game. Can you survive the infection? LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #15: Episode 49. Achievement Unlocked: Resident Evil (2002) and Silent Hill (2006)
Andrea and Alex combine their powers and enter all the cheat codes to analyze two of the most iconic survival horror games that were re-imagined as movies. With a look at how narratives transition across mediums and the rise in popularity of video game and nerd culture, their two-player co-op campaign attempts to unlock the mysteries of both films. REQUIRED READING Resident Evil. Dir. Paul W.S. Anderson, 2002. Silent Hill. Dir. Christophe Gans, 2006. EXTRA CREDIT The Town That Was – A documentary on the history and lineage of the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, upon which Silent Hill was based. Tropes vs Women in Video Games. The first season of Anita Sarkeesian’s webseries. Alice in Wonderland; The Psychoanalytic Approach – One of the many, many analyses of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland which identifies Alice’s search for identity. Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film by Peter Biskind. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #16: Episode 16. Toil and Trouble: Witches in Film
Join Alex and Andrea as they call the corners and delve into the world of witchcraft. By examining The Craft (1996), Antichrist (2009) and The Lords of Salem (2013) the role of the witch as protagonist/antagonist will emerge and will reveal that there is more to these women than meets the eye (of newt). REQUIRED READING The Craft. Dir. Andrew Fleming. 1996. [DVD] Antichrist. Dir. Lars Von Trier. 2009. [Blu-ray] Lords of Salem. Dir. Rob Zombie. 2013. [DVD] EXTRA CREDIT Glamorous Witchcraft: Gender and Magic in Teen Film and Television. An essay about how the young/adolescent witch provides insight into negotiating female power. The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth by Robert Graves. Recommended reading on witchcraft by listener T Quest! LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #17: Episode 48. Crime and Punishment: Rape and Revenge in I Spit On Your Grave (1978) and Elle (2016)
The discussion of rape and sexual violence has never been in our cultural conversation as much as it is now. In this episode, Andrea and Alex look at an exploitation classic and a contemporary award-winner to parse out how rape is depicted and how revenge is achieved, if at all. REQUIRED READING I Spit On Your Grave. Dir. Meir Zarchi, 1978. Elle. Dir. Paul Verhoeven, 2016. EXTRA CREDIT Support: Anti-Violence Centres in Canada, Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network hotline: 1-800-656-4673. Roger Ebert’s contentious review of I Spit On Your Grave. Social Dominance and Forceful Submission Fantasies: Feminine Pathology or Power? A 2009 article by Patricia h. Hawley and William A. Hensley from the Journal of Sex Research. Andrea’s appearance on the Rue Morgue Podcast discussing I Spit on Your Grave. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #18: Episode 40. ReVamp: Fright Night (1985) and The Lost Boys (1987)
In the 1980s, vampires left their castles and European hideaways for American suburbs and small towns. In this episode, Andrea and Alex examine what happens when the monster you fear is part of your community and discuss what is to be done when they want to borrow more than just sugar…. REQUIRED READING Fright Night. Dir. Tom Holland, 1985. The Lost Boys. Dir. Joel Schumacher, 1987. EXTRA CREDIT The Growth of the Suburbs. An overview of the suburban expansion following WWII. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History by William J. Palmer – A look at sequels and nostalgia in the 1980s. Check out Alex and Andrea‘s guest spots on The People’s History of Film for some more of our favorite nostalgic movies over at GoodTrash Media. COURSE NOTES Intro song: Nail Ballet from Nightmare Picture Theatre, courtesy of James Zirco Fisher. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #19: Episode 35. Body Rippers: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)
Bust out your corsets and button up your pinafores because we’re going back to the 19th century… by way of the 1990s. In this episode, Alex and Andrea examine conflicting authorial intentions, monsters and their makers and what happens when love won’t stay dead. REQUIRED READING Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Dir Francis Ford Coppola, 1992. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Dir Kenneth Branagh, 1994. EXTRA CREDIT Dracula Making-Of Documentary (Parts 1, 2 and 3) – Everything you could want to know (and more) about the making of Dracula. De Niro Meets Frankenstein – Kenneth Branagh, in character as Victor Frankenstein (or so we think), interviews Robert De Niro about his career and approach to playing the iconic monster. THE BATCAVE – Andrea’s new YouTube channel is alive… ALIVE! BLOOD IN FOUR COLOURS book giveaway – Comment on our blog with your favorite horror movies based on comic books, and you’ll be entered to win one of 3 copies of Rue Morgue’s BLOOD IN FOUR COLOURS! COURSE NOTES Intro song: Nail Ballet from Nightmare Picture Theatre, courtesy of James Zirco Fisher. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.
Rank #20: Episode 28. Horrorwood: The Haunting (1999) and World War Z (2013)
Blockbusters are as much a part of summer as sunburns and mosquitoes. In this episode, Andrea and Alex explore what it means when the billion dollar industry that is Hollywood casts its evil eye on the horror genre during their most profitable time of the year. REQUIRED READING The Haunting. Dir Jan De Bont. 1999. World War Z. Dir Marc Forster, 2013. EXTRA CREDIT Brad’s War. Vanity Fair’s in-depth look at the plagued production of World War Z. Conclusion to Culture and Society by Raymond Williams. The conclusion to the cultural theorist’s book, containing his insights on community, “the masses” and the myth of common culture. LISTEN Right click or option-click here and choose “Save Target As…” to download the mp3.