The Black Museum Presents: Accursed Ugliness...
Toronto, ON, Canada
"Accursed Ugliness: Desire, Dread, and Physical Difference in Early Horror"A virtual lecture presented by Toronto-based film critic, programmer, and educator, Angelo Muredda
Long before Robert Zemeckis’s The Witches (2020) launched a debate about limb difference as a shorthand for evil in horror films, silent film icon Lon Chaney made his name playing a number of visibly disabled characters in films such as The Penalty (1920) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). Focusing on Chaney’s work in Rupert Julian’s The Phantom of the Opera (1925), this talk will explore the simultaneous fascination with and revulsion toward physical difference in early horror cinema before turning to more contemporary examples. It will consider Chaney’s sympathetic and ambivalent performances in the context of the work of disability studies scholars such as Rosemarie Garland-Thomson and Ato Quayson, as well as more recent work from filmmakers such as David Cronenberg, Ari Aster, and Aaron Schimberg.A live discussion room and screening of The Phantom of the Opera to follow!This event is free to attend, but we welcome pay-what-you-can donations to support our programming and the guest lecturer! You can contribute at the Universe ticket site linked above, or via https://ko-fi.com/blackmuseumto.