Library Gazette

In the 'General' Category...

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.

Sustainability Exhibit: Make Every Bite Count

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 12:45 pm

Sustainability Exhibit in ZSR

The Sustainability Office has a Fall Speaker Series which is exploring the farming and food we eat: how it is grown, who grows it, and issues surrounding this topic. I worked with Program Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, Hannah Slodounik to put up an exhibit in ZSR to promote the series called “Make Every Bite Count” and this provocative subject which affects all of our lives.

There will be three events in the series:

  • Wednesday, September 10a panel discussion called Make Every Bite Count will include Orchardist, Eliza Greenman of Foggy Ridge Cider; Eric Hallman of The Livestock Conservancy; April MacGregor, of The Farmer’s Daughter brand; and will be moderated by Jeanette Wesley, Regional Slow Food Governor.
  • Tuesday, October 2GMO OMG: Documentary Film and Discussion- This film made by director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert, explores the issues around GMO’s and how they are affecting our diet.
  • Tuesday, November 4Keynote speaker, Vandana Shiva. In November 2010, Forbes Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as one of the Seven Most Powerful Women on the Globe. She will speak on issues relating to women in the Third World and Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources – especially native seed – and to promote organic farming and fair trade, which she founded.

I encourage you to check out the library exhibit and these fascinating speakers.

ZSR Hosts Biggest HvZ Event to Date!

Monday, September 1, 2014 12:49 pm

Thanks to some heavy marketing of Humans v Zombies during orientation (an OG&B ad, a mention at Project Wake: Civility, and a mention at Faculty House Calls) along with our huge HvZ event in mid-August for Worldwide Wake and SPARC, there was quite a large group of students eager to participate in Friday night’s Humans v Zombies event in ZSR! We had over 200 students attend!

I want to thank the volunteers, Susan Smith, Tim Mitchell, David Link, Mary Beth Lock, Le’Ron Byrd, and Chris Burris (for Tweeting!) We were excited that Dr. Adam Goldstein, who had come to an earlier HvZ with is kids this summer, returned and spoke to the students! Additionally, a few other staff brought their kids to join in the event! I also want to thank Brandon West, our student leader, who took over this year from HvZ founder, John Walsh! We started around 7:30pm, played three fast games and ended by 9pm!

As always, a big thanks to the Student Activities Fund for supporting these events! These events are truly a team effort! Check out the wonderful photos from the event (courtesy of Susan Smith) on the Library’s Flickr site!

About the New Website

Monday, August 25, 2014 10:17 am

Why the change?

  • The way people access the web has changed. Smartphones, tablets, and other devices have proliferated. The new site is designed to accommodate screens of all sizes.
  • The way people search has changed. Users now expect a simpler search experience, and the new homepage aims to deliver that.
  • The way the web looks has changed, too. The redesign reflects design and usability improvements that enhance the user experience.

What’s next?

Changes to the site will be rolling out over the coming months. Here’s what you’ll notice:

  • The top banner will bring simple navigation to the entire site, including an easy way to access your account.
  • The new look will find its way to sub-pages and other parts of the site, providing a more consistent experience.
  • What do you think should be next? Let us know at zsrweb@wfu.edu.

How do I report problems?

If you encounter any trouble with the new site, let us know at zsrweb@wfu.edu.

Can I still access the old homepage?

You betcha. For a short time, the old homepage will be available at zsr.wfu.edu/old.

Authors Lev Grossman and Najla Said at ZSR

Friday, August 8, 2014 10:38 am

Winston-Salem book lovers look forward every fall to the annual Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors. This event, the largest annual book festival in North Carolina, brings nationally known authors to downtown Winston-Salem on the second weekend in September. This year Bookmarks will celebrate its 10th festival on Saturday, September 6. Wake Forest University and ZSR Library have been Bookmarks supporters since its beginnings.

This year the Wake Forest community will also have the opportunity to interact with two of the festival’s featured authors at ZSR Library on Friday, September 5.

At 10:00 a.m. Najla Said will give a presentation in the Library Auditorium (ZSR 404). Said’s book, Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family, is a memoir of her childhood and young adulthood as the daughter of renowned scholar Edward Said and his accomplished Lebanese wife. Her story is a very personal take on issues of racism, family dynamics, and ethnic identity, told with honesty and humor.

Author Lev Grossman will make an appearance in the ZSR Special Collections and Archives Reading Room (ZSR 625) at 3:00 p.m. Grossman is best known as the author of the New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy. The third and final book in the fantasy series, The Magician’s Land, was released this month to enthusiastic reviews.

Both of these events are cosponsored by the ZSR Library Lecture Series and the Bookmarks Authors in Schools program, and both are free and open to the public.

Najla Said and Lev Grossman will also appear at the Bookmarks festival on September 6, along with James McBride (The Good Lord Bird), Sam Kean (The Disappearing Spoon, The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons), A. Scott Berg (Wilson: A Life), Rita Mae Brown, Robert Morgan, and many others. For more information, visit the Bookmarks website at http://www.bookmarksnc.org .


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