Episode 74: Horror, Social Change, and Experimentation with Michael Monello and Qiana Whitted

Settle in for an extra-spooky Halloween episode! We’re joined by Michael Monello, one of the creators of The Blair Witch Project, Co-founder and Creative Director of Campfire Media and co-producer of the Video Palace podcast for Shudder, and Qiana Whitted, a professor English and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina and author of EC Comics: Race, Shock and Social Protest, which won the 2020 Eisner Award for best academic/scholarly work. Together, they discuss horror in film, radio/podcast, comics, novels, television, and every-day life, helping to map the genre for our listeners. They start with reflections on their own early exposure to the genre. Whitted discusses the way EC comics introduced racism as a form of horror across their suspense and shock oriented titles and she situates these stories within the political debates that followed from Frederic Wertham’s attacks on horror and crime comics and the ways these paved the way for the comics code. Monello traces the ways Video Palace took inspiration from radio horror series in the ways it uses sound to draw the listener in with a mixture of fascination and dread. Along the way, they reflect on how horror has been a site for social transgression and artistic experimentation, and consider the ways international horror films can break the formulas and take us out of a familiar space. And they end with speculations about what forms of horror will allow us to rethink our society in the wake of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter.

Check back soon for Full Transcript on this page!

Here’s your horror watch/read/listen list from this episode (you may want to leave the lights on!):

Horror in Cinema
Nightmare on Elm Street
Universal Monsters
The Blair Witch Project
Media Horror
George Romero
UPA – “The Tell Tale Heart” (animated)
German Expressionismfrom Germany to American horror film
Cabinet of Doctor Caligari
David Lynch – Blue Velvet
Dawn of the Dead (extended Mall Hours version)
Tod BrowningFreaks
Robin Woods
Audition (Japan)
Terrified (Argentina)
Carrie (multiple snap endings)
John Waters (outsider culture)
Jordan Peele Get Out (alternate ending) ; Us
Producer Val Lewton
A Quiet Place
Documentary: Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror

Horror in Comics
EC Comics: Race, Shock and Social Protest
Swamp Thing
Tales from the Crypt
EC comicsWilliam GainesAl Feldstein
Vault of Terror
Haunt of Fear
Frederic Wertham and Moral Panic around Horror and Crime Comics
Comics Code
“The Whipping”
EC Comics illustrator Wally Wood
Bernie Krigstein“Master Race” ; Impact
EC Shock Suspense Stories“The Patriot” ; “You, Murderer” (adaptation of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)

Horror Fandom
60s Monster Culture
Famous Monsters of FilmlandForest J. Ackerman
Horror fanzines
Urban legends

Horror in Literature
Stephen King IT ; Pet Semetery
Anne Rice
O. Henry
Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man
H.P. Lovecraft – Weird Tales
Edgar Allen Poe – “The Masque of the Red Death”

Horror in Sound Media
Video Palace
Walt Disney’s Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House
Lights Out
Inner Sanctum
Arch Oboler
Quiet Please – “The Thing on the Fourble Board”
The CrampsBad Music for Bad People
CBGB punk culture
Passenger List podcast

Horror in Television
Sid and Marty KrofftLand of the Lost
Tales from the Crypt
Twilight Zone
Lovecraft Country

Interested in the parallels to comedy and improv Colin mentioned? Check out our previous episode with Caty Borum Chatoo from American University and the Yes, And…Laughter Lab

Featuring Walt Disney’s Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House https://youtu.be/H6rQyRxLBrY

And Bridge Of Death (From “Chernobyl” TV Series Soundtrack) · Hildur Guðnadóttir

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