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WANTED! MORE VIEWERS LIKE… DEPICTIONS OF HORROR FANDOM IN FILM AND TELEVISI...

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University of Philosophical Research

3910 Los Feliz Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90027

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In the comparatively nascent academic field of fan studies, very little scholarship has been devoted to horror fandom. Yet, for a branch of study invested in an audience’s passionate participation, horror fans have much to offer. Weaned on a steady diet of horror hosted syndicated shockers, EC Comics contraband, and dog-eared copies of Famous Monsters of Filmland, the dedicated “Monster Kids” of the 1950s and 1960s became the vaunted creators for the next generation. Similarly, enterprising “Gorehounds” of the 1980s, inspired by their use-worn pages of Fangoria and liquid latex-flecked copies of Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook went on to become the notable effects wizards for the ensuing generation. And the slithering ouroboros that is horror fandom continues to both feed and eat itself into the present day.

As an insular community oftentimes found at the fringe of popular culture, it comes as no surprise that the vast majority of media representation of horror fans is generated by horror fans. However, this is not exclusively the case, which accounts for the spectrum of stereotypes from resilient artist (Tommy Jarvis in Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter), to misunderstood outcast (“Evil” Ed in Fright Night), to amoral puppet (Michael Brower in Brainscan), to desensitized sociopath (Eric Binford in Fade to Black). Happily, there are also numerous examples to explore that defy such preconceptions.

Using fan studies as a springboard, this interdisciplinary lecture will chart the historical events, technological advancements, and cultural anxieties toward media effects that have influenced both the horror fan and the portrayal of the horror fan in film and television over the years.

Dean Cameron, who famously played “Chainsaw” in Carl Reiner’s Summer School – perhaps the most recognizable fictional horror fan for viewers outside of the horror community and beloved by those within it – will be joining us for this discussion of horror fanthropology.

About the Instructors:
Amy Voorhees Searles is an award-winning Senior Producer in the Content division of Trailer Park, Inc. A proud, second-generation horror fan, Amy’s lifelong passion for horror and exploitation cinema saw her working for genre luminaries Joe Bob Briggs and Roger Corman at the start of her professional career. Though she found herself drawn into the field of mainstream home entertainment, she never turned her back on her first love, and she remains an active member of the Los Angeles horror community. Her essay on the depiction of female monsters in Mexican horror cinema of the 1950s and 1960s will be featured in the upcoming book Creepy Bitches, a collection of compositions by female horror creators and fans.

Though Dean Cameron is best known for his role as Francis “Chainsaw” Gremp in the Carl Reiner movie “Summer School” he continues to reinvent himself by exploring varied careers and experiences. While studying acting with Peggy Feury and Bill Traylor at the Loft Studio in the early 80’s, he landed a few guest star roles on television shows like “Facts of Life” resulting in his first regular role on the television series “Spencer” with Chad Lowe. The next year, he recreated Jeff Spicoli”, the role made famous by Sean Penn, in the television version of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Thankfully, it only lasted seven episodes but he escaped unscathed, having received excellent reviews for undertaking the daunting task.

Dean has appeared in over 50 movies, television programs, stage plays and short films. including “Sleep With Me”, “Hi-Life”, “Men at Work”, “Bad Dreams”, “Highball”, “Rockula” plus the late-night cable staples “Ski School I & II” and “Miracle Beach”. On television, Dean starred, with his Ski School co-star, Stuart Fratkin, in one of the few one hour comedies, “They Came From Outer Space” and a fever dream of a recurring boyfriend/mime role on “ALF.” He continued his active involvement in Los Angeles theater, performing, writing and directing plays you’ve never heard of and studying in Howard Fine’s master class. After co-writing & starring in a feature film, Hollywood Palms, Dean began working as a front end web developer for companies exactly like LegalZoom, TicketMaster, j2 and a couple of shady outfits best not mentioned. It wasn’t until 2012, when he was nudged “out of retirement” by a very wise agent and manager, that Dean began working as an actor enough to happily stop writing code.

Since 2013, Dean has appeared in the television programs The Mentalist, Southland, See Dad Run, American Horror Story, The Neighbors, Glee!, The Newsroom, Shameless, NCIS, Jennifer Falls, How to Get Away with Murder, a role written just for him on Psych and the season 11 madness of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Masters of Sex and Alex Inc. Recent Feature films include “Confessions of a Teenaged Disciple”, “The Waiting”, “Straight Outta Compton” and more.

He married film editor, Jessie Marion, early 2004. They have a son, Duncan Huxley Cameron, who was born August, 2009.

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University of Philosophical Research

3910 Los Feliz Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90027

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