Bunch Of Fives: Dr David Edwards | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Nightmare 24 is an international horror film conference hosted by staff, postgraduate and final year undergraduate students from the Stage and Screen faculty of The Northern School of Art on Thursday 25th April. The event aims to explore how mental health issues are represented in the horror genre from both cinematic and audience perspectives.

The day’s schedule will focus on three key strands: The contextual impact of Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971, dir. John D. Hancock), Body Politics and Horror, and Recontextualising Mental Health in Horror. The line-up features presentations by academics from a broad range of UK Universities as well as online papers from international colleagues.

International film journalist and author Matt Glasby is the keynote speaker, Kim Newman, an internationally renowned film critic and prominent advocate of Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, will deliver a digital address and magician Dave Alnwick, who has a passion for using magic to tell scary stories will perform digitally for guests.

Delegates will also get an opportunity to see work and contributions by students from across The Northern School of Art’s film, textiles, fine art, photography, costume and animation faculties and concluding the day is a public showing of a 4K remaster of cult zombie comedy drama Harold’s Going Stiff (2011) which will be presented by its director Keith Wright and is followed by alive Q&A conducted by Fortean Times columnist Bob Fischer.

Here, the event organiser and acting lecturer and creative practitioner at The Northern  School of Art, Dr David Edwards, tells us about his top five horror films…

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) – This is the film that has inspired the whole Nightmare 24 conference at The Northern School of Art. A forgotten gem that explores psychological fragility as Jessica believes a woman she has allowed into her house is a long-dead vampire. The story is expertly paced and has a genuine sense of dread and Jessica believes her madness is enveloping her once again.

Dawn of the Dead (1978) – The classic zombie film. Everything about it just clicks, from the brilliant cast, to some classic zombie characters and the amazing legacy of different cuts and soundtracks. Romero was a cinematic genius and this film shows that. If only Bub from Day of the Dead was in this film too it would be better than perfection!

Halloween (1978) – In Michael Myers, John Carpenter created the epitome of evil. Faceless, motiveless and prowling a suburban locale not unlike our own. Jamie Lee Curtis gives a genuinely great performance as she moves from high school girl to Final Girl in ninety minutes. It is the ending though, as Michael transforms into The Shape and disappears into the streets that truly terrifies.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) – This is the film where everything clicked for Jason. The iconic mask, Tom Savini back doing the effects and a really good cast. This is pure cosy horror, from the locations to the kills to Crispin Glover’s incredible dance moves. This is the eighties slasher.

The Stepfather (1987) – Terry O’Quinn gives an incredible performance as Jerry Blake, a mild-mannered real estate salesman who is in fact a serial killer who, when his family disappoints him, murders them and moves on to the next. Much like John Fowles’ The Collector, you find yourself almost rooting for Jerry, wanting this family to be the one but, inevitably, it all comes crashing down and Jerry realizes he must kill his family and disappear again. All the more terrifying when you discover this film is based on the true case of American murderer John List.

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