November 22, 2012
Echoes from the Sleep Room: Medical Terror in Canadian Horror Cinema
They were some of the darkest, most disturbing revelations in Canada’s recent history. In the 1940s and ’50s, the Québec government and the Catholic Church sent thousands of orphans to psychiatric institutions where they were subject to isolation, electroshock therapy, lobotomies and abuse. At almost the same time, the CIA was conducting brainwashing and mind control experiments on unwitting volunteers at McGill University using similar techniques. These latter experiments, known as Project MK-ULTRA, included erasing memories and preparing test subjects for psychological reprogramming by triggering drug-induced comas in what was called the “Sleep Room.”
This lecture will explore how Canadian horror cinema has tapped into national anxiety over these incidents of physical and psychological torture, which uncomfortably recall the Nazi medical atrocities of just a few years earlier. From deadly doctors and mind control to unauthorized surgical procedures and patient revenge, we will discuss how medical terror has become one of the defining themes of Canada’s horror films.
November 22, 2012 at 8pm
Projection Booth – East, 1035 Gerrard Steet East, Toronto
Cost: $15 at the door
Instructor: Paul Corupe
The creator of Canuxploitation.com, Toronto-based writer and editor Paul Corupe has been exploring and documenting the secret history of Canadian B-movies for more than a decade. A regular contributor to Rue Morgue magazine, he has also written about genre movies for The Toronto Star, Take One Film and Television in Canada, Offscreen.com and This Magazine. In addition to scripting two seasons of On Screen!, a TV documentary series on landmark Canadian films, he has appeared in numerous DVD extras as well as the documentary Nightmare in Canada: Canadian Horror on Film.