At 56a Infoshop, 56 Crampton St SE17
Full Unemployment Cinema Zombie Special
Undead and abject, the zombie is uncontrollable ambiguity. Slouching across the earth, restlessly but with hallucinatory slowness, it is a thing with a soul, a body that is rotten but reactive, oblivious to itself yet driven by unforgiving instinct. – Lars Bang Larsen
For the final Full Unemployment Cinema screening of this year we have prepared a special themed screening around the celluloid body of the zombie. For what body better describes the unemployed negativity of the 20th century worker whose vicissitudes we continue to discuss and graves we continue to dig?
We will be screening some of our favourite zombie and horror clips as well as footage from zombie walks, flashmobs and music videos alongside a special feature: Carnival of Souls.
Mulled wine and snacks will be served.
Carnival of Souls, 1962 (US 78mins)
Carnival of Souls is a low budget 1962 horror film starring Candace Hilligoss. Produced and directed by Herk Harvey who produced industrial and educational films for the Centron Corporation based in Lawrence, Kansas. While vacationing in Salt Lake City, he developed the idea for the movie after driving past the abandoned Saltair Pavilion. Hiring an unknown actress, Lee Strasberg-trained Candace Hilligoss, and otherwise employing mostly local talent, he shot Carnival of Souls in three weeks, on location in Lawrence and Salt Lake City.
The film was made for an estimated $33,000, the movie never gained widespread public attention when it was originally released as it was intended as a B film and today, has become a cult classic. Set to an organ score by Gene Moore, Carnival of Souls relies more on atmosphere than on special effects to create its mood of horror. The film has a large cult following and occasionally has screenings at local film and Halloween festivals. Various prints of the film are in the public domain.
'In Carnival of Souls (1962), one place is allowed to be blatantly creepy: the amusement park where ghosts rest under the water and rise to dance. The rest of the world appears both normal and somehow wrong, and part of what is wrong about it—and within it, and encompassing it—is the liminal protagonist, Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss). For she has gone wrong, and the world with her. It may be her subjective world, as in the Cocteau and Bergman films that producer-director Herk Harvey and screenwriter John Clifford admired, but it is ours as long as we are in the theater, and it looks too much like the real world outside the theater for comfort ... Aside from the music, the most artistically daring element of this film—one that defies a central convention of the horror genre—is its flight from romanticism, its concentration not on a foaming monster or on the hammering bosom of a Hammer heroine, but on a cold fish. If she is a magnet for the gothic, there is nothing exciting or sexy about it. The thrills of this carnival are cold ones, bits of death.' From Carnival of Souls by Bruce Kwin, read more: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/76-carnival-of-souls
and in the mean time, here's a bit of reading:
Invasion of the Aca-Zombies
by Joseph Gora and Andrew Whelan
Zombies of Immaterial Labor: the Modern Monster and the Death of Death
Lars Bang Larsen
via E-Flux, http://www.e-flux.com/journal/view/131
Undead and abject, the zombie is uncontrollable ambiguity.1 Slouching across the earth, restlessly but with hallucinatory slowness, it is a thing with a soul, a body that is rotten but reactive, oblivious to itself yet driven by unforgiving instinct.
It follows that if the zombie is defined by ambiguity, it cannot be reduced to a negative presence. In fact, it could be a friend. So why does it lend itself so easily as a metaphor for alienation, rolling readily off our tongues? Resorting to the zombie as a sign for mindless persistence is unfair to this particular monster, to be sure, but also apathetic and facile in the perspective of the historical space we inhabit.
My proposal, perverse or braindead as it may be, is that the zombie begs a materialist analysis with a view to contemporary culture. Such an analysis is necessarily double-edged. The zombie is pure need without morality, hence it promises a measure of objectivity; we know exactly what it wants—brains, flesh—because this is what it always wants. Abject monstrosity is naturally impossible to render transparent, but abjectness itself harbors a defined function that promises instrumentality (of a blunt and limited kind, admittedly). In this way we may proceed to address contemporary relations of cultural production, at the same time as we reflect on the analytical tools we have for doing so.