Social Guidance Sunday’s Halloween Edition is an Educational Scream!

On the Eve of All Hallows’ Eve, the Social Guidance Sunday team brings you films about safety, Halloween and haunted happenings in October’s program, “Educational Scream!” The 16mm films featured this month are primarily from the 1970s when there was a lot to be scared about – inappropriate, white supremacist costumes, clowns, and not being consumed by the media… but that was all in the past!

“Educational Scream!” has two very special guest programmers, Professor Joan Hawkins and doctoral student, Alex Svensson. Professor Hawkins is an Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the Media School at IU. She has been a passionate fan of horror since she first saw James Whales’s “Frankenstein,” when she was 9 years old. Her scholarship and pedagogy feature horror and the avant-garde and her best-known book is Cutting Edge: Art Horror and the Horrific Avant-garde. She is currently working on book on independent horror. Outside of the classroom, Professor Hawkins has appeared in horror films as well: a cameo in the film “Headless” (Arthur Culipher, 2015) and a starring role in a student film about a Satanic faculty cabal. Alex Svensson is a PhD student and Instructor at IU Bloomington, and his research focuses on both the advertising of horror and the horrors of advertising. He has published work about eerie movie trailers and haunted mobile apps, and will hunt for horror VHS tapes with you any day of the week!

As experts in horror and experimental filmmaking Alex and Prof. Hawkins will have plenty of fun nuggets of information for you to consume while you enjoy these films. Come in costume for a costume contest during intermission and bring your sweet tooth as there will be plenty of treats to eat!

In the mansion, there was a staircase, and up the staircase, there was a room, and in the room, there was a chair that moved on its own!!
In the mansion, there was a staircase, and up the staircase, there was a room, and in the room, there was a chair that moved on its own!!

The film line-up begins with a haunted house, reminiscent of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Filmed from first-person point of view, you will explore the haunted house in Haunted Mouth (1974) and encounter B. Plaque, a ghost-like figure with the laugh of the Joker (a la Batman [1966]) that will teach you that near-invisible things can still be quite scary!

Just when you thought trips to the dentist couldn’t get any worse, we bring you the scary film, Toothache of the Clown (1972). After eating too many treats and nursing his toothache with lollipops and sweets, a clown falls into a nightmarish, perhaps nitrous-oxide induced trance that gets him to see the need for proper dental hygiene.

You’ll be astounded by the transformation of this witch into a safety-conscious princess!
You’ll be astounded by the transformation of this witch into a safety-conscious princess!

Social Guidance Sunday cares about your wellbeing, so along with dental care, we will next share tips and tricks for costumes and trick-or-treating in the film Halloween Safety (1977). Although you may think you know how to create a proper Halloween costume, this film will provide you with alternatives that will make you reconsider your costume choices. Additionally, this film shares some quality jokes you can use while you are out collecting treats!

Breath Death (1964) an experimental film by Stan VanDerBeek will make you re-evaluate your life and marvel at death.
Breath Death (1964) an experimental film by Stan VanDerBeek will make you re-evaluate your life and marvel at death.

After a short intermission, our program shifts gears from safety tips and tricks to more surreal yet silly Halloween-type films. First, there is Breath Death (1964), an experimental film directed by Stan VanDerBeek featuring skeleton animations performing the Dance of Death to a rather catchy tune. Dedicated to the silent film greats, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, this film explores the somber topics of death and destruction in a surrealistic, fantastical way.

Following this, we present Recorded Live (1975), a silly film that was written and directed by S.S. Wilson who went on to direct Tremors (1990), Wild Wild West (1999), Tremors II: Aftershocks (1996). This partially stop-motion animation was featured on HBO’s “Short Takes” between feature films in the 70s and 80s. It is a funny, all-consuming film!

Finally, we conclude “Educational Scream” with the 1977 film The House of Accidents. This is a particularly delightful film that adopts a rather unusual approach to household safety. Featuring Count Accident and his family, we learn about all the ways one can create an unsafe environment that can lead to all sorts of hazards. This is a crowd pleasing film with activities that are fun for the whole family!

So please join us for what is sure to be a fun, if a little frightening, Social Guidance Sunday! And make sure to follow us on Facebook for the next SGS program on December 4th.

October’s films:

Haunted Mouth (1974, 13 minutes)

Toothache of the Clown (1972, 8 minutes)

Halloween Safety (1977, 11 minutes)

Breath Death (1964, 15 minutes)

Recorded Live (1975, 9 minutes)

The House of Accidents (1977, 16 minutes)

~Katie Lind