An Afternoon of All-Hallows Eve Mischief with Laurence Rickels

Sun Oct 30
City Lights Bookstore
Claim this listing


Laurence Rickels presents an exploration of the deep recesses of

The Psycho Records

from Wall Flower Press

The Psycho Records follows the influence of the primal shower scene within subsequent slasher and splatter films. American soldiers returning from World War II were called "psychos" if they exhibited mental illness. Robert Bloch and Alfred Hitchcock turned the term into a catch-all phrase for a range of psychotic and psychopathic symptoms or dispositions. They transferred a war disorder to the American heartland. Drawing on his experience with German film, Hitchcock packed inside his shower stall the essence of schauer, the German cognate meaning "horror." Later serial horror film production has post-traumatically flashed back to Hitchcock's shower scene. In the end, though, this book argues the effect is therapeutically finite. This extensive case study summons the genealogical readings of philosopher and psychoanalyst Laurence Rickels. The book opens not with another reading of Hitchcock's 1960 film but with an evaluation of various updates to vampirism over the years. It concludes with a close look at the rise of demonic and infernal tendencies in horror movies since the 1990s and the problem of the psycho as our most uncanny double in close quarters.

Laurence A. Rickels is professor in art and theory at the Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe. He is the author of Aberrations of Mourning (1988), The Case of California (2001), Nazi Psychoanalysis (2002), The Vampire Lectures (1999), The Devil Notebooks (2008), Ulrike Ottinger: The Autobiography of Art Cinema (2008), I Think I Am: Philip K. Dick (2010), and Germany: A Science Fiction (2015).


  1. City Lights Bookstore
    261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA