112th: Laurence A. Rickels on "The Psycho Records"
Join us on Monday, October 24th at 7pm for a reading and discussion with Laurence A. Rickels, author of The Psycho Records. Thomas Elsaesser, author of German Cinema -- Terror and Trauma, will join in conversation.
The Psycho Records follows the influence of the primal shower scene within subsequent slasher and splatter films. American soldiers returning from World War II were called "psychos" if they exhibited mental illness. Robert Bloch and Alfred Hitchcock turned the term into a catch-all phrase for a range of psychotic and psychopathic symptoms or dispositions. They transferred a war disorder to the American heartland. Drawing on his experience with German film, Hitchcock packed inside his shower stall the essence of schauer, the German cognate meaning "horror." Later serial horror film production has post-traumatically flashed back to Hitchcock's shower scene. In the end, though, this book argues the effect is therapeutically finite. This extensive case study summons the genealogical readings of philosopher and psychoanalyst Laurence Rickels. The book opens not with another reading of Hitchcock's 1960 film but with an evaluation of various updates to vampirism over the years. It concludes with a close look at the rise of demonic and infernal tendencies in horror movies since the 1990s and the problem of the psycho as our most uncanny double in close quarters.
Laurence A. Rickels is professor of art and theory at the Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe, Germany, and Sigmund Freud Professor of Media and Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.
Professor Thomas Elsaesser is a research professor in the Department of Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. An important representative of international film studies, his work on film theory, genre theory, Hollywood, film, history, archeology media and new media, the European cinema d'auteur and installation art have been published in more than 20 languages.