Archive: Facets Fright School
October 2 – 31, 2009
Facets' acclaimed midnight cult movie series, Facets Night School, becomes Facets FRIGHT School
this October, expanding to both Friday and Saturday nights to celebrate Halloween and educate fans on the traditions and history of the horror film!
Though horror is every critic's favorite genre to bash, we at Facets Night School feel it is the richest cinematic genre, rife with visual splendor, brimming with malcontent monsters and simply spilling over with deeper meanings and subtext.
Join Facet Night...er, Fright School for a month-long excursion into cinema's scarier side, touching on all points of the horror genre's incredible history. The fun begins the first Friday in October and concludes on Halloween night with a special Night School event!
Friday, October 2
In the Beginning There Was Universal:
The Establishment of the Hollywood Horror Genre
Susan Doll presents the ultimate Universal horror classic:
Directed by Karl Freund, 1932
Boris Karloff stars in a landmark role as a mummy, accidentally revived by British archaeologists after being entombed for 3,700 years. A brooding, dream-like masterpiece of the horror genre from Karl Freund, who as director of photography contributed to such visually expressive masterpieces as Murnau's The Last Laugh and Browning's Dracula. Susan Doll explores this horror classic from Universal Studios and explains how the studio established the Hollywood horror genre with its many popular monster films in the 1930s-50s.
Susan Doll is the writer/researcher for the Facets Video label. She holds a PhD in film studies from Northwestern University and is the author of Elvis for Dummies, Florida on Film, The Films of Elvis Presley, Best of Elvis, Elvis Album, Elvis: Forever in the Groove, and more. Susan also writes for Turner Classic Movie's blog, MovieMorlocks.com. Previous Facets Night School classes taught include Night of the Hunter: A Fractured Fairy Tale and Elvis 101: How to Appreciate an Elvis Movie, a look at Viva Las Vegas.
Saturday, October 3
It's All in Your Head: The Genius of Horror Producer Val Lewton
Stephen Reginald presents the underrated, atmospheric chiller:
Directed by Jacques Tourneur, 1942
RKO producer Val Lewton redefined the horror genre by creating taut psychological masterpieces in which inference plays a much bigger role than gore or special effects. Although not a household name, Lewton left an indelible mark on the horror film genre and influenced numerous filmmakers, including William Friedkin, Martin Scorsese, George Romero, and Alfred Hitchcock to name a few.
Lewton's Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942, 73 mins.), stars Simone Simon as a frigid young bride who fears that her blood ties to an ancient tribe will turn her into a deadly panther. Stephen Reginald looks at Lewton's first production and its influence on the horror genre and filmmaking in genre.
Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill's The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts "Meet Me at the Movies" once a month at the Sherwood Conservatory of Music (Columbia College), 1312 South Michigan Ave.
Friday, October 9
Hammer Time: Inside Britain's House of Gothic Horror
Phil Morehart presents the Hammer Films classic:
Directed by Terence Fisher, 1957
The Curse of Frankenstein
Peter Cushing is the obsessed Baron and Christopher Lee is his monstrous creation in the first of Hammer Films' long-running horror series based on Mary Shelley''s novel. The success of this handsomely photographed chiller, along with Horror of Dracula, secured the studio a devoted following who flocked to every new release. Phil Morehart delves into the history and influence of the infamous Hammer Films studio on the horror genre; the career of filmmaker Terence Fisher and the production, reception and influence of arguably his (and Hammer's) greatest work, The Curse of Frankenstein.
Phil Morehart is Facets' Editor. Prior to joining Facets, Phil was a programmer for the Cincinnati Film Society. He also writes on film, theater, music and visual arts for Chicago Journal Newspaper and Cincinnati CityBeat Newspaper, and is a contributor to the upcoming book, The Armchair Reader Guide Goes Hollywood. Previous Facets Night School classes taught include There's No More Room in Hell, So Let's Go Shopping: A Look at George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead and Cheap Tricks and Suburban Kicks: Re-Discovering a Lost Teen Classic, a look at Jonathan Kaplan's Over the Edge.
Saturday, October 10
Fulci's Zombie: Brains or Entrails?
Patrick Ogle presents the Italian zombie gore-fest:
Directed by Lucio Fulci, 1979
Made quickly to capitalize on the success of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, this film has built up a loyal, gore-hungry fan base over the years. Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, and a group of tourists travel to the wrong island, where a mad scientist's experiments have brought the dead back to life and looking for munchies. Definitely not for the squeamish, this one boasts some truly nauseating effects. Patrick Ogle dissects this gory classic and its place within the zombie canon and Italian cinema.
Patrick Ogle is Facets' Media Relations Coordinator, and a PR person, promoter, recording artist and writer. A humor, business and travel writer for the Miami Herald for 6 years, Ogle is a native of Florida which is positively awash in zombies. Previous Facets Night School classes taught include Cemetery Man: The Last of the Great Italian Knock-Offs.
Friday, October 16
All of Them Witches: Rosemary vs. the Satanists
Cary Jones Elza presents Polanski's horror masterpiece:
Directed by Roman Polanski, 1968
Roman Polanski's film of Ira Levin's thriller is a true horror masterpiece. Polanski's innovative direction avoids many of the genre's cliches, with many of the film's most frightening scenes taking place in brightly lit interiors and a slowly building nightmare quality replacing easy shocks. There is also a rich streak of humor in the film, particularly from Best Supporting Actress Oscar-winner Ruth Gordon as the eccentric agent of Satan who leads young bride Mia Farrow to unexpected motherhood.
Cary Elza discusses The Exorcist and motherhood, pregnancy and feminist issues in the mid-sixties, and the film's legacy in other (failed) motherhood-centric horror films (The Exorcist, The Brood, The Omen, Carrie, etc).
Cary Elza is a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University, and is currently writing her dissertation on female figures and boundary crossing between real and imagined worlds, from Alice in Wonderland to Coraline. She earned her MA in Film Studies at Emory, where she wrote a thesis on Superman, and has also taught film at Oakton Community College. She has published articles on Pokemon, Smallville, and The X-Files. Previous Facets Night School classes taught include David Bowie's Codpiece, or: How Girls of the 1980s Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Backlash: A Look at Jim Henson's Labyrinth and Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, and... Fashion?: Style vs. Substance in Besson's The Fifth Element.
Saturday, October 17
Living the Mania:
Rutger Hauer & The Hitcher's Psychopathic Thrill Ride
Amy J. Boyd presents the road-trip nightmare:
Directed by Robert Harmon, 1986
A young man picks up a hitchhiker on a deserted road at night, and unknowingly opens his door to terrifying danger in this chiller starring C. Thomas Howell, Jeffrey De Munn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the great Rutger Hauer. Amy Boyd dives into this mid-80s horror sleeper and its exceptional cast, in addition to looking at the overall state of horror in the '80s.
Amy Boyd is a Footage and Photo Researcher at Getty Images and for local documentary filmmakers. She moonlights as a Facets Personal Video Consultant and has almost fifteen years experience working in the film and video industry. Previous Facets Night School classes taught include The Making of a "Feature-length We-don't-know-what"
or: How the American New Wave Birthed the Documentary Hybrid, a look at Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One.
Friday, October 23
Nicolas Roeg's Death in Venice
Dan Mucha presents the disquieting supernatural thriller:
Directed by Nicolas Roeg, 1973
Don't Look Now
"...one of the great horror masterpieces..."
-Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Nothing is what it seems" in this haunting mediation on grief and extra-sensory perception set against the backdrop of a desolate, off-season Venice. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie star as the grieving parents who encounter two elderly women -- one of whom is blind, yet claims to "see" their recently deceased daughter. Dan Mucha explains how Roeg's trademark dazzling imagery and associative editing work together to create a uniquely eerie masterpiece, equally remembered for its notorious love scene between Sutherland and Christie.
Dan Mucha is the Distribution Coordinator for the Facets Video label. In addition to lecturing on Harold and Maude and Quadrophenia for Facets Night School, past Facets Film School classes include True to Life: The Films of Louis Malle and The British New Wave: From Angry Young Men to Swinging London.
Saturday, October 24
Ghosts of the Spanish Civil War:
Guillermo del Toro's Eerie Poetic Vision
Michael Smith presents a creeper from the mind behind Pan's Labyrinth:
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, 2001
The Devil's Backbone
Five years before Pan's Labyrinth brought him international fame, Mexico's Guillermo del Toro wrote and directed this equally impressive film, a highly poetic ghost story set during the Spanish Civil War. The Devil's Backbone tells the story of Carlos, a ten year old boy admitted to an orphanage after the death of his father, an anti-fascist war hero. Once there, he finds he must contend with a sinister caretaker, the school bully and, perhaps most distressingly of all, the ghost of a former student.
Michael Smith explores The Devil's Backbone as both a political allegory for the rise of fascism in 1930s Spain as well as a 21st century update of the gothic Mexican horror films of director del Toro's youth. In doing so, we will examine how both aspects reveal The Devil's Backbone as the ideal masculine "brother film" to its more feminine companion piece, Pan's Labyrinth.
Michael Smith is an independent filmmaker and film history teacher at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL. His newest short film, At Last, Okemah!, is currently playing the festival circuit. He has previously taught Facets Film School classes on subjects such as the South Korean New Wave and the directors John Ford, Wong Kar-Wai and Takashi Miike.
Friday, October 30
[REC] & The European Union Horror Revolution
Miguel Martinez presents the up-close-and-personal zombie
Directed by Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza, 2007
freak-out from Spain:
Worthy of all its buzz, this Spanish horror film "plays like Night of the Living Dead meets The Blair Witch Project" (Variety). Shot in handheld, POV style, a television news crew is following firefighters on an emergency call to an apartment building. Once there, the firefighters, cameraman, and female TV host (Manuela Velasco) find there is something worse than a building engulfed in flames -- a building engulfed in a zombie plague! [Rec] was remade as Quarantine in the States. Miguel Martinez digs into this new classic of zombie cinema and its place within the new upswing of horror films coming out of Europe at present.
Miguel Martinez is a Facets Personal Video Consultant. A life-long Chicagoan, Miguel is also a filmmaker whose work can be seen on Youtube. He is currently working on a documentary with fellow Night School presenter Amy Boyd. Previous Facets Night School classes taught include Mean Spirited: Horror in the Naked City, a look at The Entity.
Saturday, October 31
Heavy Haxan: Depictions of Satan on Screen
Brian Elza and Bruce Neal present the Swedish silent film on witchcraft:
Directed by Benjamin Christensen, 1922
Complete with an original heavy-metal score composed especially for the evening and performed live!
While not as well known as Nosferatu or The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, this incredible silent feature was a major influence on the horror film, from the eerie Val Lewton productions to The Blair Witch Project. A "history" of witchcraft is presented through reenactments of rituals described in witchcraft trials of the 15th and 16th centuries, with incredible imagery (including some animation) and a darkly humorous streak aimed at then-contemporary psychiatric practices.
Around Halloween, everyone has an opinion on what you should watch to celebrate the holiday. And it's proper to welcome All Hallow's Eve with staples like Dracula and Halloween. But seriously, what about Satan? What about good old-fashioned depictions of the devil? Brian Elza and Bruce Neal will discuss the craft of conjuring Satan on screen, and the occult implications of watching Haxan in a darkened room with strangers at midnight on Halloween when blazing metal riffs are splitting your ears and boiling your guts.
Brian Elza is Facets' Catalog Writer/Researcher. He received his Masters in Film Studies from Emory University in 2006. He has lectured on Bergman and German Expressionism, and presented at the 2007 Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference on the relationship between Twin Peaks fandom and Ivan the Terrible scholarship. He also plays hot licks in a metal band. Previous Facets Night School classes taught include Mining The Holy Mountain: The Influence of Jodorowsky on Conservative Action Movies and Progressive Rock Music and Ivan the Terrible: Ruling After Midnight.
Bruce Neal is a Facets Personal Video Consultant and has worked in underground theater, performance art and stand-up comedy. Bruce was a co-founder of the performance art group The Dol Furies and his work has been featured on NPR, PBS, HBO, Stage Left, Prop Theatre, Chopin Theatre, Cabaret Metro, Theatre IgLoo, Lounge Ax and many others. Bruce recently completed work on the film, Dream Havana, which went on to win best documentary at the Chicago and Orlando Latino Film Festivals. Previous Facets Night School classes taught include The Invisibles are Exploding: Toxic Trickle-Down in the Reagan Era, a look at the horror-comedy Street Trash, and Mystery Play Freakout, a look at God Told Me To.
For all inquiries about Facets Night School, email email@example.com.