Welcome back to Romancing the Gothic everyone! I’m excited about our range of classes over the next few months. If you’d like to sign up for this month’s classes, you can do so here.
This Saturday, we’re joined by Daru McAleece to talk about ‘Nature Initiation and Body Horror in British Myths’. The classes will be at 10 am and 7 pm.
This talk will look at three British myths, peeling back their layers a little to reveal the body horror, transformation and cosmic horror present within them that lurks beneath the sheen of folklore. Their Druidic underpinnings will be explored briefly, hinting at possible deeper histories or themes behind the tales. The three tales will be – Math, Son of Mathonwy from the Welsh Mabinogion and covering the Frankenstein’s monster-like creation of a woman out of flowers who turns into a lady murderer, and topics of control and manipulation of women and nature; The Hanes Taliesin, also from Welsh mythology, with a powerful Druid-Witch who wishes to give her unlucky son a magical gift from an ancient cauldron, touching on issues of ‘monstering’ and ableism with a shapeshifting animal chase; and lastly the Scottish Tale of Thomas of Ercildoune, or ‘True Thomas’, a tale of a Lowland Bard who travels to Elfinland. This story will touch on the realms of psychological and cosmic horror and the effects of the unknowable and how we are touched, changed and transformed by them, as with all the forces in each of the three tales.
On Sunday we’re joined by Tugce Kutlu to talk ‘Mourning in Horror: Grief in the 21st Century Horror Film. The classes will be at 10 am and 7 pm.
This particular work sets out to analyse horror’s relation to grief due to the genre’s proximity to death and secondly, to propose a new theory that establishes the 21st-century horror films to be directly about the process of mourning. The dissertation utilises the case study design, examining some of the most prominent horror films of the century: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019), Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018), Pet Sematary (Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, 2019), The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012) and The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014). These films are studied closely using the tools of genre theory and grief studies and the research is structured according to Kübler-Ross’s “five stages of grief”. Looking at these horror films’ narrative and visual approach to grief with fresh eyes, building on the works of grief scholars, and redefining the genre studies’ perspective to the horror being more about the fear, this research highlights the horror genre as a cinematic tool for representing the emotional and mental outcomes of death.
Keywords: grief, horror, genre, death, loss, mourning