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Sources, Citations & Cocoa

Sunday, October 26, 2014 8:01 pm

Starting November 10th, we will be offering our drop-in research assistance sessions– Sources, Citations & Cocoa! If you are working on a research paper or project, and would like a bit of help from one of our research experts at ZSR, here’s your chance! Our drop-in research assistance sessions will be held in ZSR Room 476 on:

  • Monday, November 10th from 3:30-7:30pm
  • Monday, November 17th from 3:30-7:30pm
  • Monday, November 24th from 3:30-7:30pm &
  • Monday, December 1st from 3:30-7:30pm

We will have librarians available to help with any aspect of your research project from selecting a topic, to finding resources, to setting up Zotero or citing tricky sources. Delicious winter bevvies and snacks will also be on hand to help keep you fueled!

There is no need to sign up for a time, but if you would like to, you can reserve an available time in our appointment calendar.

If these times don’t work, you can always use our Personal Research Session request form to schedule an appointment with a research librarian at a day and time that is convenient for you.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

The Research and Instruction Team, ZSR Library

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.

 

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!

Sources, Citations and Cookies!

Monday, March 31, 2014 2:24 pm

If you are working on a research paper or project this semester and would like a bit of help from one of the research experts at the ZSR Library, here’s your chance. We are holding three drop-in research help sessions during the end of the semester paper-writing season in ZSR Library classroom 476:

  • Sunday, April 6th from 3:30PM – 7PM
  • Monday, April 14th from 3:30PM – 7PM
  • Sunday, April 20th from 3:30PM- 7PM

We will have librarians available to help with any aspect of your research project from selecting a topic to citing tricky sources. Cookies and refreshments will also be available to help get you through the stress!

There is no need to sign up for a time, but if you would like to, you can reserve a time from the Professional Development Center website.

If these times don’t work, you can always use our Personal Research Session request form to schedule an appointment with a research librarian at a day and time that is convenient for you.

We look forward to seeing you!

The Research and Instruction Team, ZSR Library

 


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