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Profs & Pints: Terror on the Couch
Social Circle Bistro at the Cambria Hotel-Washington DC Convention Center
Washington, DC
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Profs & Pints: Terror on the Couch
Profs and Pints presents: Terror on the Couch, a look at psychological conditions that inspired horror films, with Brian A. Sharpless, visiting research fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London and editor of Unusual and Rare Psychological Disorders.

Whats a better than watching a good horror flick around Halloween? Sometimes, though, what happens in real life can be stranger  or even more disturbing  than what happens in the movies. Prepare to learn about what gives rise to your fears as Brian Sharpless returns to the Profs and Pints stage to discuss the psychological disorders associated with horror films.

Some disorders directly inspired horror movies. For instance, Wes Cravens classic film A Nightmare on Elm Street was derived from at least one recognized sleep disorder as well as sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome. The latter is just as scary as it sounds and took years of research to understand. You may find yourself surprised to learn that Freddy Krueger bears a strong resemblance to a traditional character from Laotian folklore.

With other characters in horror films, it's hard to tell whether life inspired art or art inspired life. Consider tales about Dracula and other vampires. Although most filmgoers are familiar with Eastern European vampire beliefs, many do not realize that there is a corresponding psychological condition called clinical vampirism or Renfields syndrome, which leaves people feeling the need to feed on human blood and prompted some to resort to murder to quench their bloody thirst. Zombies, while arising from Haitian folklore, might gain empathy from people suffering from Cotards syndrome, who believe themselves to be walking corpses rotting from the inside. Underlying folklore about werewolves is clinical lycanthropy, a rare and fascinating psychological condition that people still suffer from today.

Last, but not least, people may very well be shocked to learn how many famous movies (e.g., Invasion of the Body Snatchers) evoke the symptoms delusional misidentification syndromes. Sufferers of one subtype, Capgras, believe that the important people in their life are not actually real, but are identical-looking imposters. They may even believe that the real people are dead, have been kidnapped, or otherwise are being kept elsewhere.

The talk will summarize the scientific and treatment literatures for these horror-related disorders and place them in broader historical and cultural contexts. You'll end up looking at horror movies differently and, perhaps, wondering about that person you see staring that the moon or ordering their beef extra rare. The talk is being staged at the Social Circle Bistro at the Cambria Hotel Washington, D.C. Convention Center, part of the national Cambria Hotels brand.(Tickets are $12 and must be purchased in advance. Save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself plenty of time to get seated and settled in. Although people under 18 generally are welcome at Profs and Pints events, we're reserving this one for adults given the mature subject matter.)


Social Circle Bistro at the Cambria Hotel-Washington DC Convention Center (View)
899 O Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States


Education > Classes
Film > Festivals
Other > Health & Wellness
Other > Holiday
Other > Paranormal

Minimum Age: 18
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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