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on May 22, 2014 | Leave a comment

On June 11th, it’s time for another round of fancy-learnin’ with The Black Museum. And this time, Rue Morgue‘s fearless leader and Editor-In-Chief, Dave Alexander, will be holding court with his addition to the lecture series, AN IMAGE OF DEATH: OUR EVOLVING RELATIONSHIP WITH MORTALITY ON SCREEN.

“One vast charnel house of death,” described one witness to a corpse-strewn Civil War battlefield. Before the advent of cinema, the “Republic of Suffering” created by the conflict redefined North Americans’ relationship with death, in both ritual and imagery, notably the rise in Victorian post-mortem photography (or “death photography”) – which was key in imbuing pictures of the dead with new meaning. However, that personal relationship would change with the advent of both motion pictures and the funeral industry. Through the decades, death both on- and off-screen became (often humourously) sanitized and repressed, but the tighter a coffin lid is nailed down, the more we want to pry it open, and it eventually popped in the 1960s, ushering in gore, graphic violence, realistic death and other hallmarks of the modern horror film.”


“Morbid reality and morbid moving images continue to inform and change each other as forces such as technology, religion, censorship and war shape attitudes towards mortality. The question is: have we come full circle in some way? To answer that, we explore films including The Others (2001), Wisconsin Death Trip (1999),  and Death and the Civil War (2012)  as well as concepts such as Terror Management Theory, Stephen Cave’s “4 stories we tell ourselves about death,” and Ernest Becker’s landmark book The Denial of Death.


Find out why we need morbid art. Prepare to never look at a horror movie the same way ever again. And expect to have your own image of death permanently altered.”

School’s in session at 9 pm at The Royal (608 College Street ). Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Tags: Dave Alexander, death and mortality, horror cinema, the black museum, The Royal Cinema

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