Two Nebraska Wesleyan University art professors and self-proclaimed “horror nerds” are making certain that the spirit of Halloween continues despite a pandemic.
In fact, they’re making sure it’s celebrated all month long with their 31-day virtual event, Nights of Horror.
Together, Matthew Jarvis, visiting assistant professor of art history, and Juan Jose Castano-Marquez, assistant professor of digital media, contacted scholars, industry professionals, authors and directors who are leading figures in the field of horror to be featured nightly for this pop-cultural event.
“With COVID-19, programming on any scale is a challenge, but I was interested in what could be achieved online,” said Jarvis. “There was no question that if we were going to do this, it would be on a large scale. There is really something for everyone.”
For 31 days, a combination of screenings, interviews, readings, and demonstrations will be shared by some of the best in the horror industry.
Among those featured will be:
- Gary Pullin, artist responsible for the shocking, chord-striking film posters of Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Big Lebowski, Vertigo, and The Babadook, as well as countless soundtrack covers.
- S. T. Joshi, American writer, musician, critic, and award-winning scholar whose work has largely focused on weird and fantastic fiction, especially the life and work of H. P. Lovecraft and associated writers.
- Makeup artists including Joe Dulude, Emmy-nominated makeup artist who famously worked on productions including Wicked, Beetlejuice, Spongebob Squarepants the Musical, Sunday in the Park with George, Anastasia, Sweet Charity, The Wedding Singer, Grease, Follies and Jekyll & Hyde. Dulude will transform himself into Beetlejuice during his talk.
- Matt Ruff, New York Times best-selling author and author of the novel, Lovecraft Country, which was recently adapted to an HBO series and released in August 2020.
“We are hoping that people are entertained, find new things to be interested by, and gain new appreciations even if they are themselves experts in an area,” said Jarvis. “The event is at its heart meant to be educational. That isn’t to say that education cannot be mixed with pop-culture and fun.”
Both Jarvis and Castano-Marquez hope the event becomes an annual occurrence. Both are incorporating aspects into their classes too. Castano-Marquez is currently teaching an Archway Seminar for first-year students that explores camp, a style or mode of personal or creative expression that is absurdly exaggerated and often fuses elements of high and popular culture. Next semester, Jarvis will teach a course on global horror film.
A complete schedule of events for Nights of Horror can be found at https://www.nwunightsofhorror.com. Events will be streamed on the same website beginning Thursday, October 1.
—Story by Danielle Anderson, public relations intern.