Horror has often been associated with the arcane. Curiosity for knowledge of beyond that mortals cannot even comprehend. And right now, there is an organization for all those educational desires; The Miskatonic Institute Of Horror Studies! Per their website, this non-profit organization was founded by Kier-La Janisse in March 2010 in Canada, but has since grown to recurring events in London, New York, and most recently Los Angeles. ”
In fall of 2018, Miskatonic will be launching a pilot semester in Los Angeles, co-directed by Kier-La Janisse with Rebekah McKendry and Elric Kane of Blumhouse’s Shock Waves podcast, which will be hosted at the storied Los Feliz headquarters of the Philosophical Research Society, founded by occultist Manly Palmer Hall in 1934.”
I had the good fortune of attending the first Miskatonic Los Angeles class: a conversation with Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep, and John Dies At The End director/writer Don Coscarelli! An event lined up with his new biographical book True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking. The event held at a lecture hall in the Philosophical Research Society building, which coincidentally is where I took a semester in yoga. A sizable crowd attended to hear the life and career path of one of the ‘Masters Of Horror’ straight form the man himself. After a short introduction from Rebekah McKendry and Elric Kane, as well as Philosophical Research society school president Dr. Greg Salyer giving a brief history on the premises, JACKALS screenwriter and Deadright Horror Trivia co-host Jared Rivet took the stage as the night’s moderator before being joined by Don Coscarelli.
It was a fascinating conversation and presentation from one of independent horror’s most treasured heroes. Starting from his roots in Long Beach and his numerous struggles trying to get his first feature, Jim: The World’s Greatest off the ground to further career difficulties throughout. But all the way, Don persisted and made numerous friends like Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm and still managed for the most part to make the kinds of projects he wanted. Going into more recent movies like John Dies At The End and the finale to his beloved franchise, Phantasm RaVager. Though the event was three hours long (with a ten minute intermission in the middle) the night slipped past me as I hung on every word to the very end. Eventually ending the night to a roar of applause and a book signing of True Indie afterward.
If you’re looking to broaden your education of all things horror, I cannot reccommend attending these classes enough. The next being Rebekah McKendry’s “I Dream Of Deep Water: An Exploration Of The History And Psychology Of Aquatic Horror” tomorrow in Los Angeles with more courses of carnage to come!