A newsletter from the shed of
Now then, 

Welcome back to The Losers' Club. How's your week been?

I got my first vaccination and purchased some Moxi Lolly Roller Skates in Clementine which is possibly the most pandemic-era-sentence ever written. With perfect timing, my local roller disco has just announced they are hoping to reopen from July which is Best News of the Week. I bloody love skating and it's been a pleasure to discover how many of my favourite horror women are into skating too. YES HORROR QUEENS.

In work news, good stuff has been happening, involving werewolves...

Back in 2007, I was a PhD student and I presented a paper on An American Werewolf in London, Ginger Snaps and Dog Soldiers at the very first Cine-Excess conference in London. Due to my paper, I got to hang out with John Landis, director of American Werewolf, who was the industry guest that year. 

I then wrote up the Dog Soldiers component of the paper, which I published as an essay 'Destroying the Male Body in British Horror Cinema', and a few days ago, the Dog Soldiers director, Neil Marshall, asked to read it. How cool / terrifying is that? (ooh, and if you want to read any of my essays here they are; and if you can't get at the paywalled ones, drop me a line and I'll sort you out).

Then, yesterday, I was rewatching The Howling when the director of Cine Excess emailed me to ask if I would be the keynote speaker for this year's annual international film festival - conference. Alexandra Heller–Nicholas, author of 1000 Women in Horror, is the other keynote which is great. Alex is one of our Women Make Horror contributors, a fantastic scholar and a thoroughly good egg.

It feels very satisying, to go from PhD student to keynote at the same horror event. What makes it even nicer is that for my keynote, I am going to return to werewolves (don't we all wish we could say that with regularity in our everyday lives?).

I will talk about women horror filmmakers (surprise!) and female werewolf films. I am hoping to do a whole section on filmmaker Amelia Moses, and analyse her second feature film, Bloodthirsty - it's not got a release date for the UK yet but I have everything crossed we will get it over here. 

It sounds SO up my street - a female werewolf? in the woods? in a recording studio? Yes please.

In other good news, Women Make Horror is Runner Up for Book of the Year in the Rondo Awards. Yay! The Rondo Awards are in their 19th year of honouring work in horror, and this year's vote - a global online ballot of horror film fans - is the largest survey of horror film fans in history. I know a lot of you in The Losers' Club voted for us, so thank you very, very much. 

I've got a few other bits and bats on the go at the moment as well. I am prepping for a horror screenwriting workshop that I am giving next month at the fantastic Kurja Polt Genre Film Festival in Ljubljana (remotely! I'm being safe!), and I am researching an essay for Ghouls Mag on the sleazy slasher supernatural madness that is Mausoleum (1982).

I have also just pitched something on gaslighting and horror, and have been watching a lot of 1940s, women-made horror films where gaslighting is a major theme. Not just Rebecca (1940) or Gaslight (1940), but also The Unseen (1945), My Name is Julia Ross (1945) and The Amazing Mr X (1948), all of which are free to watch on YouTube. ...Julia Ross in particular is AMAZING and I am saving up for the Arrow Films Blu-Ray.

And I am still interested in crafting + horror. Send me all your knitting, sewing, crochet and cross stitch sightings in the horror films you are watching. I watched the anniversary Blu-Ray of Halloween last night, and I was reminded of the excellent knitting content (see photo, above). 

For those of you new to The Losers' Club, I am (very, very slowly) putting together an project on knitting / sewing / crochet etc in horror films, and I hope to make an essay film out of it at some point. Everyone who sends me suggestions that I use in the film will be credited with thank yous in the credits. I've had brilliant suggestions so far from you lot, including sightings in The Vigil, What We Do in the Shadows, Sightseers, Coraline, May, Peeping Tom and Happy Death Day 2U. I'm also very partial to the use of a crochet blanket in the set design as well so let me know when you spot those too.

I love the horror hive mind of The Losers' Club.

In my new book news, I've finally hit the wall on writing and reading and thinking and making notes. I'm at that point where I know that I actually have to start writing the f*cker now, and anymore 'new research leads' is actually just prevarication and can be added later.

I know I am super lucky to be able to do this work at all though. I am on sabbatical from the University of Leeds at the moment, and in my experience, sabbatical is the only time when you can read deep and wide, and really engage with ideas and reflect upon them - I write during term, teaching and admin all the time, but usually frenetically, to deadlines, which necessitates a far more surface level of engagement. Sabbatical is the rare and super privileged state of the being to do the big reading and think the big ideas.

When I was doing my PhD, I didn't always enjoy it - I was frustrated by academia, by academics, and by academic writing (some things never change) and I spent a lot of time doing freelance journalism on the side. My PhD supervisor, Professor Annette Kuhn, admonished me, saying 'there will never be another point in your career when you get three years to read and think and write like this'.

Of course, she was right. But I am doing my best to reclaim it during this research leave. And so, 
I'm diving into brand new writing on Monday morning. Wish me luck!

Before I go, a few things I've read online and love:

Amanda Lehr's 'Hair on the Inside' essay on watching An American Werewolf in London and the parallels with her own body in pain, for Roxanne Gay's The Audacity.

'I Will Follow You into the Dark', Isaura Barbé-Brown's latest Bloody Perfect column, on The Descent, for Bloody Women

Laura Maw's '“I Was a Daughter — Existentially”: On Relic and Daughterhood in Contemporary Horror' in Los Angeles Review of Books

Tom Clark's 'Deadly Chemistry: Sex and Psychosis in the Films of Kristine Peterson' for Diabolique Magazine - the second thing I've read on Peterson in the last few weeks (and she never gets written about) after Alex's recent review of Peterson's 80s slasher Deadly Dreams in her Fangoria column.

And for any of you that missed it, you can still read my recent essay, 'Their Wild and Dreadful Rapture' on The Stylist and Saint Maud, for Bloody Women, here.

Do feel free to mail and say hi - just reply to this newsletter - as I do always write back, albeit belatedly. Feel free to forward this newsletter onto anyone you think might be into it. And, i
f you've been forwarded this missive by a friend (who, let's face it, clearly has excellent taste), you can sign up y'sen and view past issues here.

Chin up! 

The Losers' Club is a newsletter by Alison Peirse,
author / editor of Women Make HorrorAfter Dracula and Korean Horror Cinema.

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Alison Peirse · The Loser's Club · Shipley · Bradford, West Yorkshire BD18 · United Kingdom

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