Library Gazette

What Makes a Great Horror Film?

Thursday, October 23, 2014 5:29 pm

Steve Jarrett, Director of Media Facilities in the Communication Department and cinema aficionado, provided an excellent elaboration and a list of recommended viewing, when we asked him, “What makes a great horror film?”

What makes a great horror film? It’s too easy just to say that if it scared you it did its job. By that measure, the Zyklon roller coaster at the Dixie Classic Fair would be a great work of art, and so would the phone call from the doctor about that suspicious spot on your chest X-ray. A great horror film, for my money, is not so much scary as disturbing. It doesn’t make you jump out of your chair; it makes you squirm in your chair. A good horror film touches on mortal dreads.

The wellspring of these mortal dreads is the lizard brain that lies buried under our neocortex. When our dreams tap into this roiling swamp of primordial emotional ferment, we call it a nightmare. The cinema, as it happens, is especially well positioned to do the same. Consider that when viewing a film we are typically in the dark, with limited sensory input. Ingmar Bergman put it this way: “No other art medium … can communicate the specific quality of the dream as well as the film can. When the lights go down in the cinema and this white shining point opens up for us, our gaze … settles and becomes quite steady. We just sit there, letting the images flow out over us … We’re drawn into a course of events – we’re participants in a dream.” The cinema experience may well be as close as we can get to the dream state while still fully conscious. It follows, therefore, that some of those cinema-dreams are bound to be nightmares.

All great art puts us in touch with our essential humanity; the spark of divinity we carry within us. Great horror films do so by drawing us into waking nightmares that compel us to confront the demons that live in the basement of our psyches, cloaking those demons in fantasy imagery. This confrontation, of necessity, calls forth our better angels as counterpoint. We come away reassured that confronting our mortal dreads is, after all, survivable.

5 Lesser-Known Horror Films that are Worthy of Attention:

  • VAMPYR (1932) Loosely based on Sheridan LeFanu’s “Carmilla,” Carl Theodor Dreyer’s moody vampire film is light on plot but densely packed with striking fantasy imagery. Once seen, it is never forgotten.
  • MAD LOVE (1935) This is one of several film versions of Maurice Renard’s novel THE HANDS OF ORLAC, in which a concert pianist’s injured hands are surgically replaced with the hands of a recently executed murderer. Following the surgery, the hands seem to exert a will of their own, showing more interest in returning to their former occupation than in making music. This version of the story draws on the theatrical tradition of the Grand Guignol, in which luridly melodramatic staging of elaborate acts of violence was foregrounded. The film was directed by Karl Freund, who was the cinematographer for METROPOLIS and other German classics of the 1920s, and the mad surgeon is played with delicious villainy by Peter Lorre.
  • I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943). Never mind the title. Trust me, this is the best zombie movie you will ever see. Producer Val Lewton oversaw a series of intelligent, literate B movies for RKO, of which this is one of the best. The uniformly cheesy titles were dictated by the studio, and Lewton didn’t bother arguing to change them. As a result, a series of cinematic gems from his production company hide behind titles like CAT PEOPLE, THE LEOPARD MAN, and THE BODY SNATCHER.
  • EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1960) George Franju’s melancholy classic tells the doleful tale of a surgeon so obsessed with restoring the former beauty of his daughter, whose face had been disfigured in an accident, that he kidnaps young women and attempts to transplant their facial skin onto hers. Moody and oppressive, this film is most often described as “poetic.”
  • THE CHANGELING (1980) Not to be confused with the completely unrelated 2008 Clint Eastwood film of the same title, this shivery ghost story has been unjustly overlooked. It belongs on the same shelf with such better known ghost movies as THE HAUNTING (1963), THE INNOCENTS (1961), and THE UNINVITED (1944). George C. Scott plays a composer whose family has been torn from him in a tragic automobile accident. Suddenly and jarringly alone, he buys himself a new house, and in short order finds that he is less alone than he thought.

For more from Steve Jarrett, check out our Library Lecture Series film Double Jeopardy: Nightmare Cinema and the Doppelganger“.

Want more horror film (or other film) recommendations?
Want to offer a movie recommendation?
Visit the Recommended Viewing Board in the DVD Room on the 4th floor of the Reynolds Wing at ZSR.

 

Patron Privacy and Adobe Digital Editions: The Situation at ZSR

Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:53 am

Threat level: goldenrod. We’re okay – see summary at bottom.

[To avoid confusion, note that there are two separate pieces of Adobe software discussed here, with very similar names. Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) is a library of tools to enforce digital rights management; for library e-books, this usually means encrypting it so that it can only be opened until its loan period expires. Adobe Digital Editions Reader, version 4 (ADE4) is one reader program that works with the ADE rights management. Reader programs other than ADE4 can use ADE to open encrypted books.]

Last week, several library- and tech-world sites reported that Adobe Digital Editions Reader, version 4 (ADE4), was doing two bad things:

First, it records data that we would consider private, but which (at least arguably) verifies you aren’t a pirate: your ADE4 license (who you are) and the license for your copy of the book. In addition, it logs your IP address (where you are); metadata for the book you’re reading, the time and date you start and stop reading; and the specific page you’re on and when you go to that page.

ADE4 has also been shown to record metadata for e-books on your system that are not encrypted with ADE rights management. In some situations, ADE4 also scans e-book readers or tablets attached to your computer to see what books are downloaded there. All of this information gets transmitted back to Adobe.

Second, the data is transmitted to Adobe unencrypted. This makes it visible to anyone with access to network log files, or anyone snooping on an unencrypted wireless network (not the WFU wireless, but for example a no-password network in a coffee shop).

There are a lot of ethical and possibly legal issues here, but the situation at ZSR is this. EBL downloads are encrypted with ADE to enforce checkout periods. That would be a problem, except:

  1. We instruct students to read EBL books in their web browser. In EBL’s world, this is not a “download” and so they do not use any ADE rights management.
  2. We believe that users who download ADE-encrypted e-books primarily do so to read on tablets or e-reader devices. We point them to the Bluefire reader, which uses ADE, but does not report reader behavior to Adobe like ADE4.
  3. WFU does not include ADE4 in the standard software load.
  4. Other e-book sources we provide do not seem to use ADE or and digital rights management (yay!), mostly because they offer no way to download a complete book for offline reading (boo!)
  5. E-Books purchased through Amazon, Google Play, or other sources do not have ADE rights management (drop a comment if you know any that do), but often have other digital rights management tying them to a specific reader program.

As of October 16, Adobe is promising an upgrade within the next week or so that will encrypt the data ADE4 sends back to them. However, they insist that the data they’re logging is reasonable and covered by their end-user license agreement.

Some further reading:

TL;DR Summary: The ADE4 e-book reader program violates library patron privacy. Downloaded EBL e-books use Adobe’s digital rights management and could be read in ADE4. However, we believe other available options give ZSR patrons access to this content without the threat specific to using ADE4. Our users are at low risk from this threat, but should be aware of it.

Books that go bump in the night: Recommended horrors, thrillers & ghost stories

Thursday, October 9, 2014 3:49 pm

Halloween is close upon us, and this season of ghosts and ghouls offers the perfect opportunity to curl up with a scary story. The following horrors, thrillers & ghost stories are recommended from ZSR Librarians and staff members, and are guaranteed to send chills up your spine:

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

The Other by Thomas Tyron
Holland and Niles Perry are identical thirteen-year-old twins. They are close, close enough, almost, to read each other’s thoughts, but they couldn’t be more different. Thomas Tryon’s best-selling novel about a homegrown monster is an eerie examination of the darkness that dwells within everyone. It is a landmark of psychological horror that is a worthy descendent of the books of James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shirley Jackson, and Patricia Highsmith.

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in the hopes that living in an old mansion, long the subject of town lore, will help him cast out his own devils and provide inspiration for his new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods and only one comes out alive, Mears begins to realize that there may be something sinister at work and that his hometown is under siege by forces of darkness far beyond his control.

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Jacob Marlowe has lost the will to live. For two hundred years he has wandered the world, enslaved by his lunatic appetites and tormented by the memory of his first and most monstrous crime. Now, the last of his kind, he contemplates suicide — until a violent murder and an extraordinary meeting plunge him straight back into the desperate pursuit of life — and love.

High Spirits by Robertson Davies
Robertson Davies first hit upon the notion of writing ghost stories when he joined the University of Toronto’s Massey College as a Master. Wishing to provide entertainment at the College’s Gaudy Night, the annual Christmas party, Professor Davies created a “spooky story,” which he read aloud to the gathering. That story, “Revelation from a Smoky Fire,” is the first in this wonderful, haunting collection. A tradition quickly became established and, for eighteen years, Davies delighted and amused the Gaudy Night guests with his tales of the supernatural. Here, gathered together in one volume, are those eighteen stories, just as Davies first read them.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history

The Stand by Stephen King
A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.

Want more?
You can find additional Halloween reading suggestions (as well as other recommendations) from the ZSR Goodreads page!

Also, the NC Live Homegrown eBooks collection has a selection of Horror short stories that can be read online!

Happy (Halloween) Reading!

OCLC Member Forum – UNCG

Thursday, October 9, 2014 9:55 am

I recently attended the first regional OCLC member forum held at UNCG. The meeting focused on the many changes happening with OCLC products and a better understanding of how the products work together. I went to the break out session pertaining to Cataloging and Metadata. Within this session, members were able to give feedback on issues that we have been having particularly with Connexion and make request for features that don’t exist. OCLC has a web page dedicated to the forums which include pictures, questions and feedback from the attendees. Feel free to explore at the following link https://oclc.org/en-US/events/member-forums/after-party.html

Give ZSR Your Input

Sunday, October 5, 2014 3:00 pm

To plan for the future, ZSR really wants to understand your perceptions and expectations of the Library, in order to provide services you need to be successful. Please take a few moments to participate in this research study by completing a short survey about ZSR and its services. The survey should take approximately 5 minutes to complete. It will be open from October 5th through October 26th.

Your responses will be held in confidence. No identifying links between responses and respondent will be retained. Only aggregated data will be reported. Please be honest in your assessment. Participation is purely optional. Participants must be age 18 or over.

As a thank you for completing this survey, you may choose to provide your email address and be entered in a drawing for an Android Tablet. Three Android Tablets will be awarded, one each to a student, faculty and staff respondent. The email you enter for the prize drawing is in no way linked to your answers on the survey.

Begin the Survey ›

Libraries use this survey nationally and ZSR will benchmark local results against the national data. Anonymous data from ZSR will be available to the national association for publication.

If you have any difficulty accessing the survey or if you have any questions, please contact Associate Dean Susan Smith.

IRB00021718

The Hope of a Thick Rope Exhibit

Friday, September 26, 2014 4:06 pm

Hope of a Thick Rope exhibit

The Hope of a Thick Rope exhibit is an exhibit about rural China brought to ZSR by WFU student, Eagle Jin ’16. This photography exhibit focused on the social customs of the Chun’an mountainous region in China. It attempts to draw attention to the socioeconomic disparity and ecological issues on this region. The photographs are placed between the bookshelves and also in the window well of the east side of the atrium. There will be an Opening Reception on Monday,September 29th from 4 – 5:30 pm in the atrium, with remarks and refreshments. Please come.

The Google Glassroom: ZSR Has Glass

Thursday, September 4, 2014 8:51 am

Instruction Librarian Amanda Foster (left) wears Google Glass during her LIB 100 class.

Beginning this fall, librarians will explore the educational uses of Google Glass in several sections of LIB 100: Accessing Information in the 21st Century.

Google Glass is a wearable computer headset, similar to a pair of glasses, that displays information on a miniscreen in the upper right corner of the wearer’s field of vision. Wearers can communicate with Glass via voice commands to perform several key functions, including searching the Internet, taking pictures and video, playing games, starting a video call, adding Glass apps like Twitter or The New York Times and more.

Students in LIB 100 will use this hands-on experience with Glass as a catalyst to research, discuss, explore and reflect on information-related themes, such as privacy, social responsibility and the future implications of technologies like Google Glass in medicine, business, education and gaming.

By bringing Glass into the classroom, instructors will examine the possibilities of how technologies like Glass could be used in the future, particularly in the educational setting for teaching, learning and research.

New Web Developer Available for Your Projects

Thursday, September 4, 2014 8:50 am

Do you have a great idea for a website, but need a little extra assistance getting it online? ZSR Library can help at low cost-recovery rates with a new Web Developer on staff, Geoff Groberg. Geoff recently relocated from Utah, where he worked at Brigham Young University’s Lee Library. Prior to that, he worked as a freelance web developer.

Geoff can work with faculty and departments at low cost to help with Web projects. He can help with:

  • WordPress sites
  • Digital Humanities projects
  • Graphic design
  • Databases
  • Custom Web applications of all kinds

To get started on your Web project, please contact Geoff at x5403.

Assessment in Action

Thursday, September 4, 2014 8:49 am

This year, ZSR will develop and implement an action learning project called Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success. First, recruited student participants will identify which measures of success are important at all points in their academic careers. Then the study will determine whether the programs, services and study spaces at ZSR help to achieve these objectives. The principal investigator of this 15-month study is Mary Beth Lock, Director of Access Services at ZSR. The project team also includes Ryan Shirey (Writing Center), Meghan Webb (ZSR Reference Coordinator), John Champlin (Professional Development Center) and a representative from The Bridge. This study is part of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Value of Academic Libraries initiative. Assessment in Action is a grant program funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Course Reserves

Thursday, September 4, 2014 8:48 am

Do you assign course readings from various sources? Looking for an alternative to costly course packs? Concerned about copyright? Let ZSR do the work for you! The Course Reserves system can consolidate your reading list materials into one easily accessible location. Course Reserves can manage print, electronic and media resources, and you can link to them from Sakai. ZSR will also manage copyright compliance for posted articles or chapters and pay necessary royalties.

For more information, please visit Faculty Course Reserves or contact the Reserves Department at x4713.


Pages
About
Categories
Archives
Awards
Events
General
Instruction
Outreach
Staff
Technology
Tags
Archives
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
May 2006
April 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
October 2005
August 2005
July 2005

Powered by WordPress.org, protected by Akismet. Blog with WordPress.com.