Kier-La Janisse's Pioneering Horror Memoir HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN Celebrates 10th Anniversary
The influential House Of Psychotic Women is getting a limited Expanded Edition release next month at the Fantasia International Film Festival.
June 2nd, 2022 – In 2012, a book debuted that would go on to canonical status and usher in a new way of writing about film. Kier-La Janisse’s House of Psychotic Women was billed as “an autobiographical topography of female neurosis in horror and exploitation films,” and explored hundreds of films through a daringly personal lens. From the back cover:
"Cinema is full of neurotic personalities, but few things are more transfixing than a woman losing her mind onscreen. Horror as a genre provides the most welcoming platform for these histrionics: crippling paranoia, desperate loneliness, masochistic death-wishes, dangerous obsessiveness, and apocalyptic hysteria. Unlike her male counterpart—‘the eccentric’—the female neurotic lives a shamed existence, making these films those rare places where her destructive emotions get to play."
In this pioneering work, anecdotes and memories interweave with film history, criticism, trivia, and confrontational imagery to create a reflective personal history and an examination of female madness, both onscreen and off. Tim Lucas of Video Watchdog called it “groundbreaking,” no-wave icon Lydia Lunch called it “a masterpiece,” and Molly Ringwald said she “devoured this compelling, surprising, and moving book.”
To mark its 10th anniversary, celebrated film writer, programmer, producer, and director of Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched (2021), Kier-La Janisse and FAB Press have reteamed to produce an expanded edition of House of Psychotic Women, featuring new writing on 100 more films—many of which were inspired in part by the book itself—and hundreds of images, including a 48-page full-color section. The expanded edition of House of Psychotic Women will launch at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival on July 24, 2022 in a limited edition, large-format hardcover.
In conjunction with the book’s release, Severin Films have restored four films that will form the basis of a screening series at the festival: Giuseppe Patroni Griffi’s Identikit (1974) starring Elizabeth Taylor, Polish vampire film I Like Bats (1986), Brunello Rondi’s libidinous folk horror Il Demonio (1963), and Luigi Bazzoni’s amnesiac Giallo Footprints (1975). The Cinematheque Quebecoise will complement the series with a 35mm print from their archive of Marina de Van’s grotesquely transcendent In My Skin (2002), which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
Screenings will be introduced by Kier-La Janisse, and the House of Psychotic Women will be available at all related events, with Janisse available to sign copies on request. For those who can’t make it to Fantasia, the book is also available for pre-order here.
Films covered in the book include Black Swan (2010), Repulsion (1965), The Brood (1979), and hundreds more!
Included in the limited edition hardcover will be an exclusive CD of author Kier-La Janisse reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic feminist horror story The Yellow Wallpaper (1892) with an original score composed and performed by Timothy Fife (known for his work with labels Death Waltz and Library of the Occult) and cover art by Katy Horan (Literary Witches, Ask Baba Yaga).
The House of Psychotic Women special edition will be available for direct purchase from FAB Press following the Fantasia launch on July 24, 2022. It will be widely available in the regular edition as of October 2022.
House of Psychotic Women is for the horror aficionado as well as the horror curious. Janisse weaves her own life into an intensely personal exploration of the genre, challenging the reader to reconsider the films in all of their complexity. I devoured this compelling, surprising, and moving book. – Molly Ringwald, actress, singer, and author
High Priestess of Horror Kier-La Janisse has crafted the definitive encyclopedia of female neurosis as depicted in horror cinema and the many ways it paralleled her own trauma zones. Beautifully written, extremely well researched, and lush with gorgeous film stills and posters—a masterpiece. – Lydia Lunch, musician, poet, author, and No Wave icon
People love this book. Why? It talks about life and art in an unusual, provocative way. Kier-La Janisse doesn't kid around. For her, movies are a matter of life and death. House of Psychotic Women is an original, singular creation. Nothing like it existed before and certainly nothing since. Cherish this book, argue with it, throw it against the wall. But let it get under your skin... invade your bloodstream. It may change you. – Jimmy McDonough, author of The Ghastly One: The 42nd Street Netherworld of Director Andy Milligan and Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography
Fascinating, engaging, and lucidly written: an extraordinary blend of deeply researched academic analysis and revealing memoir. – Iain Banks, author of The Wasp Factory
What ultimately makes House of Psychotic Women so spellbinding is less the memoir or the reviews as individual entities, but the way that the two, when juxtaposed, remind us that these stories are rooted in the real; and not the big/broad/social-political real, but the real that is small and intimate and experiential. – Ian MacAllister-McDonald, LA Review of Books
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kier-La Janisse is a film writer, programmer, producer, and founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. She is the author of House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (2012), A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (2007), and has been an editor on numerous books including Warped & Faded: Weird Wednesday and the Birth of the American Genre Film Archive (2021), Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television (2017) and Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s (2015). She was a producer on David Gregory’s Tales of the Uncanny (2020) and wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning documentary Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (2021) for Severin Films, where she is a producer and editor of supplemental features. She is currently at work on several books including a monograph about Monte Hellman’s Cockfighter.