This Web site is the outgrowth of a symposium that was held at UCLA in January of 1994. "Scary Women" was sponsored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive Research and Study Center, with the support of UCLA's Center for the Study of Women and the Academy Foundation, and organized by Andrea Kalas, then Assistant Manager of the UCLA Film and Television Archive Research and Study Center. The original symposium featured four speakers, Rhona Berenstein, Barbara Creed, Vivian Sobchack, and Linda Williams, and was moderated by Janet Bergstrom (Department of Film and Television, UCLA). Steven Ricci, Archive Head of Research, instigated the translation of the symposium into a Web event. James Friedman, Archive Research and Study Center Manager, oversaw its development.


Below are audio clips from the original symposium. The clips include the opening of Linda Williams' talk on Psycho, which was subsequently published as "Learning to Scream" (Sight and Sound, December 1994), and the question and answer period following Vivian Sobchack's paper, "The Leech Woman's Revenge."

Linda Williams, "Learning to Scream"

In the paper she presented at Scary Women, and subsequently published in Sight and Sound, Williams argues that Psycho (1960) represents a turning point in the reception of popular film. Citing the film's trailers and other promotional material that admonished audiences to arrive at the theater on time, Williams demonstrates that the film's assaultive pleasures constituted an attraction that audiences were disciplined to enjoy. But, while they had become quite orderly outside the theater standing in line to attend the show, inside the theater audiences exhibited new levels of performativity, screaming and running down the aisles. Based on contemporary accounts of Psycho's audiences, Williams makes the compelling argument that the film represented the destabilization of gender identities not only on screen but in the audience as well.

Visitors to this site are encouraged to read the paper in its entirety; "Learning to Scream" can be found in Sight and Sound, Dec. 1994.

Vivian Sobchack, "The Leech Woman's Revenge"