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NOVEMBER 26, 2020

To Grandmother’s House We Go: Elder Horror in Found Footage Films

Content Warning: the films discussed in this virtual lecture use conventions of the horror genre to address anxieties around aging. Because of this, they represent topics such as dementia, illness, and death that might be emotionally challenging for some audiences.


For as long as people have been telling stories, the face of evil is often an older woman. From spell-casting witches and hags to evil stepmothers, elderly women are frequently depicted as sites of monstrosity, cruelty, and even doom. In this virtual lecture, guest presenter Maddi McGillvray explores the resurgence of elderly women in contemporary horror films, particularly within the found footage subgenre. She looks at how films like The Visit (Shyamalan, 2015) and The Taking of Deborah Logan (Robitel, 2014) not only embrace the found footage subgenre of horror, but also use its tropes to depict the transformation of their elderly female characters into abject and monstrous old crones.

*NEW* Stick around for the live group chat as we watch the chilling The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014, dir. Adam Robitel), available to stream on YouTube or Amazon Prime (US).

Date: Thursday, November 26th, 2020
Time: Lecture at 7:30pm EST, live group chat with screening to follow at approx. 8:20pm EST
Register for this complimentary event here.

This event is free to attend, but we welcome pay-what-you-can donations to support our programming and the guest lecturer! You can contribute at the Universe ticket site linked above, or via https://ko-fi.com/blackmuseumto.


Maddi McGillvray is a PhD student at York University, where she is completing her doctoral dissertation on contemporary women horror directors. Her research interests include horror, feminist film theory, and transmedia studies. Maddi has contributed to the edited collections Elder Horror: Essays on Film’s Frightening Images of Aging (2019), Gender and Contemporary Horror in Film (2019), and Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre (2020). Maddi frequently contributes to Rue Morgue magazine, and in her spare time, can be found performing stand-up comedy at local open mics.

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