If you are lucky enough to be in NYC next week, then we must absolutely insist that you attend Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Exploring The Demon Feminine In Film on November 21st at The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies .
In art, literature, and film, the witch is a shapeshifter. She is a gruesome villain and a studious heroine, a spiritual guide and an enchanting seductress. The witch’s narrative can shift effortlessly, transforming her from vixen to hag and healer to hellion based solely upon who decides to tell her tale. But despite these disparate depictions, the witch’s presence is inextricably tied to patriarchal anxieties about powerful women and unruly female bodies: her representation always reflects or refutes societal perceptions about femininity.
In this illustrated talk, New School faculty member and author of Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive, Kristen J. Sollée will trace the witch in visual media from the early modern era through the present, examining her legacy as an icon of female power and persecution, and as a potent feminist symbol. Beginning with the 1922 Swedish film Haxan to offer perspective on the historical origins of the witch, the talk will include clips and analysis of Mario Bava’s 1960 film Black Sunday to examine what film theorist Barbara Creed calls “the monstrous feminine,” and TV classic Bewitched to offer visions of the “good witch” as the women’s liberation movement begins to coalesce in the early 1960s. Sollée will also use aspects of George Romero’s Season of the Witch, anime classic Belladonna of Sadness, Lair of the White Worm, The Witches of Eastwick and The Craft to analyze conceptions of female sexual expression, and Anna Biller’s The Love Witch to undress the witch through the female gaze.
By juxtaposing leading scholarly research on European and American witch hunts with art and pop occulture artifacts, this talk will delve into the complex legacy of the witch from past to present, exploring how the divine and demon feminine have been harnessed to both frighten and inspire diverse audiences for decades.
Notes Sollée: “One thing I particularly want to explore is how the witch is portrayed when women are telling her story versus men. How different is a female director/writer/producer’s perspective on the witch archetype different from the classic cis, white man’s perspective? Can we even make this analysis with so few films about witches being made by women?”
Indeed! We are saddened that we do not live closer to the event, for no doubt this will prove to be an utterly fascinating evening. NYC friends, you must promise us you will attend and tell us all about it afterward!
Tue. Nov. 21, 2017
7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Film Noir Cinema – 122 Meserole Ave
Greenpoint, Brooklyn NY
Admission $12 / $15 door
About Kristen J. Sollée:
Kristen J. Sollée is a lecturer at The New School and founding editrix of Slutist, a sex positive site that examines the intersections between sex, feminism, and the occult. Sollée’s signature college course, “The Legacy of the Witch;” follows the witch across history, pop culture, and politics, from the Venus of Willendorf to The Love Witch. Her first book, Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive, was published by Stone Bridge Press in 2017.
About the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies:
Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a community-based organization that was founded by film writer/programmer Kier-La Janisse (author of House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films) in Canada in March of 2010 and now has branches in Montreal, London and New York. Miskatonic NYC operates under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and film journalist/festival coordinator Joe Yanick.