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FEBRUARY 4, 2021



Long before Robert Zemeckis’s The Witches (2020) launched a debate about limb difference as a shorthand for evil in horror films, silent film icon Lon Chaney made his name playing a number of visibly disabled characters in films such as The Penalty (1920) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). Focusing on Chaney’s work in Rupert Julian’s The Phantom of the Opera (1925), this talk will explore the simultaneous fascination with and revulsion toward physical difference in early horror cinema before turning to more contemporary examples. It will consider Chaney’s sympathetic and ambivalent performances in the context of the work of disability studies scholars such as Rosemarie Garland-Thomson and Ato Quayson, as well as more recent work from filmmakers such as David Cronenberg, Ari Aster, and Aaron Schimberg.

With live discussion room and screening of The Phantom of the Opera (dir. Rupert Julian) to follow!


DATE: Thursday, February 4th, 2021
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.


Angelo Muredda is a Toronto-based film critic, programmer, and educator. His writing has appeared in outlets such as Cinema Scope, The National Post, The Walrus, and Film Freak Central. He hosts the online lecture series Disability on Film for the MNJCC, as well as the genre film series No Future at the Royal Cinema. He holds a PhD in English on representations of disability in Canadian literature and film from the University of Toronto, and teaches in the Department of English at Humber College.

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