The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is the world’s longest-running educational organization dedicated to classes in horror history, theory and production, and currently has branches in L.A., New York, and London. While we take this time to prepare the Fall 2020 semester amidst the current lockdown regulations Miskatonic will be launching archival videos of classes online for by-donation access.

Released periodically over the summer and viewable globally, the online roll-out will begin with confrontational artist Penny Slinger’s (An Exorcism, published in 1977) talk with filmmaker Jacqueline Castel at Miskatonic L.A. in December 2019.

This will be followed by a masterclass from British exploitation/horror filmmaker Pete Walker (Frightmare, Cool It Carol) moderated by Bret Berg of The American Genre Film Archive, and closing out with one of the most significant and celebrated sold-out events in the history of the Institute: THE SHADOW OVER LOVECRAFT: INTERROGATING H.P. LOVECRAFT’S RACISM – a panel of revisionist Lovecraft authors including Matt Ruff (Lovecraft Country), Victor LaValle (The Ballad of Black Tom), Ruthanna Emrys (The Innsmouth Legacy series) and longtime Lovecraft scholar Peter H. Cannon that took place at Miskatonic NYC in April 2019. The latter will be released in August, the same month that Jordan Peele and Misha Green’s hotly-anticipated series adaptation of Ruff’s novel Lovecraft Country premieres on HBO. 

Upcoming archival classes are:

Thurs June 25, 2020 – 12:00 Noon PST
LIVE FROM MISKATONIC: PENNY SLINGER IN CONVERSATION

The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies presents a conversation with British surrealist filmmaker, collage artist, sculptor and performer Penny Slinger, moderated by filmmaker and Miskatonic NYC Co-Director Jacqueline Castel. This class originally took place on December 12, 2019 in the Manly P. Hall Library at our Los Angeles host venue, the Philosophical Research Society.

Date: Thursday, July 16, 2020 – 12:00 Noon PST
LIVE FROM MISKATONIC: PETE WALKER IN CONVERSATION

Miskatonic is proud to present an evening in conversation with the great British horror and sexploitation director Pete Walker, moderated by Bret Berg of The American Genre Film Archive. This class originally took place on Thursday, May 9, 2019 in the main lecture hall at our Los Angeles host venue, the Philosophical Research Society.

Walker was an upstart in an uptight industry, making a horror icon out of elderly Scottish actress Sheila Keith, turning communion wafers into weapons in THE CONFESSIONAL, working with horror giants Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and John Carradine on HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS, his ill-fated Sex Pistols documentary, and so much more.

Date: Thursday, August 20, 2020 – 12:00 Noon PST
THE SHADOW OVER LOVECRAFT: INTERROGATING H.P. LOVECRAFT’S RACISM

There is no denying that H.P Lovecraft was a racist. Though racism was not uncommon in his day, and some have argued that this excuses his attitudes, his racism and xenophobia were especially vehement, even for his time. These attitudes are directly apparent not only in an infamous 1912 poem denigrating those of African descent, but in journal entries and personal correspondences, as well as both directly and allegorically in his fiction.
Often held as Lovecraft’s most racist horror story, The Horror at Red Hook was addressed, revised and reclaimed by writer Victor LaValle in his brilliant, multiple award-winning novella The Ballad of Black Tom in 2016, which reconfigures the perspective of the story to that of African American protagonist Charles Thomas Tester, which Locus magazine praised for “co-opting Lovecraft’s epic-scale paranoia into the service of a trickster tale.”

The same year saw the release of Matt Ruff’s novel Lovecraft Country, which similarly explores issues of race in Lovecraft’s work through its tale of an African American science fiction fan named Atticus Turner, traversing through New England during the heyday of the Jim Crow laws in
The release of both of these books – coincidentally in the same week – prompted renewed questioning into the legacy of Lovecraft’s fiction for a legion of fans and fellow writers who have found magic in his Mythos and Cosmic Horror, easily one of the most influential strands of horror in literary history. But does Lovecraft’s racism overshadow his incredible contributions to the field? Should Lovecraft be demoted in the pantheon of horror writers based on his personal ideologies? Can people of those races and ethnicities Lovecraft directed hate towards still find value his work?

This momentous class, moderated by Miskatonic board member, author and festival programmer Rodney Perkins, features special guest speakers longtime Lovecraft scholar and Mythos author Peter H. Cannon and authors Victor LaValle, Matt Ruff and Ruthanna Emrys – whose debut novel Winter Tide (2017) was called “A mythos yarn that totally reverses the polarity on Lovecraft’s xenophobia, so that in the end, the only real monsters are human beings.”