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Welcome Gina Freitag

Exciting changes are afoot for Black Museum’s 2019 season! Series founders Paul Corupe and Andrea Subissati are pleased to announce that Gina Freitag will be joining the Museum as a curator. A writer and horror enthusiast with an M.A. degree in Film Studies, Gina has contributed to publications including the American Review of Canadian Studies, Anatomy of a Scream and Grim Magazine. In addition to coordinator roles with various film festivals and organizations, she is also the co-editor and co-author of The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (2015), and a contributor to the forthcoming A Cinema of Pain: Essays on Quebec’s Nostalgic Screen (2019).

Gina will play a significant role in Black Museum’s future in selecting and programming lectures and other future events, and was kind enough to answer a few questions about her own past experiences with horror.

Hi Gina! Tell us: Was there one particular horror film viewing that made you a lifelong fan of the genre?

I definitely caught glimpses of horror movie reruns on TV when I was maybe a little too young to be watching them — Gremlins (1984) and Beetlejuice (1988), for example. Later, between ages 9 and 12, I remember being disturbed by Tales from the Crypt: Demon Night (1995), seeing Psycho (1960) at a friend’s house for the first time, and hosting a birthday slumber party and watching Scream (1996). But I think my very first memorable viewing would be watching The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949) on the library floor in Gr. 1 or 2 — I was fascinated with the headless horseman. I started craving horror after that, I think.

What should we know about the horror film book you edited, The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul.

It’s a project I tackled after I finished grad school — the co-editor, André Loiselle, was my thesis supervisor. We shared an interest in dissecting the collective Canadian psyche, and we gathered together some other horror scholars (Paul and Andrea among them) to share thoughts on what Canadian horror represents. The result is this mix of discussions about our monsters, our politics, and our various crises. I can think of a few other aspects that definitely could be added since it was published, but the hope is that this book acts as a solid foundation for future discussions of Canadian horror cinema.

How do you think an academic approach to horror help us grapple with the genre?

Horror offers a lot to unpack. I think horror fans in particular can appreciate digging deep to uncover those hidden bits that give greater meaning and context to their favourite films. Academia has a ton of theory and concepts that we can harvest to get at that extra layer of meaning. It’s all about the discourse, too – how ideas are discussed, debated, refined, informed by other works… This particular book relies on Canadian lit theory, for example, with the subtitle borrowed directly from literary theorist, Northrop Frye. And it builds from other works, like Caelum Vatsndal’s They Came from Within, but it tries to dive a little deeper, past the historical survey of Canadian horror cinema, to pull out common themes that help to shape a sense of the “Canadian consciousness” — those underlying fears and psychological preoccupations that haunt us as Canadians. An academic volume like this is basically an approach to better understand a “national imagination” that has created some pretty strange and unusual films.

What made you want to get involved with The Black Museum?

I wanted to share my love of horror with a community built around examining and cataloguing curiosities of the genre. The Black Museum creates this exhibition space for horror trends and oddities that anyone can engage with, and it allows them to learn a little about their own dark fascinations at the same time.

What are three elements or themes that you personally love to see pop up in a horror movie?

It’s probably obvious, but I love psychological horror – an isolated character grappling with a persistent sense of dread and battling their demons? Delicious. I’m also drawn to horror films that have gothic or supernatural elements. And I want to see some unusual, creative, nightmarish visuals, too. Give me something strange and disturbing that I can’t stop thinking about.

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