Northwestern Events Calendar


LACS Graduate Workshop: "Musical Monstrosity in El hombre y el monstruo (1958)” — Emily Masincup

When: Thursday, May 13, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Linda Remaker  

Group: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement


LACS Graduate Workshop — Emily Masincup

Title: "Musical Monstrosity in El hombre y el monstruo (1958)”


For nearly a century, horror films have used diegetic musical performances to reveal monstrosity. These musical moments draw attention to those traits which most clearly communicate a character's "categorical interstitiality," a feature believed by Noël Carroll to be essential in the production of horror. In few other films is the demonstration of interstitiality through music made as clear as in Rafael Baledón's 1958 film El hombre y el monstruo/The Man and the Monster. Baledón's film effectively utilizes key scenes of virtuosic piano playing to blend the lines between human and beast, beauty and ugliness, and masculinity and femininity.

In my paper, I address the unsettling effects of musical performance within horror cinema through a case study of this seminal text from Mexico's "golden age" of horror (c. mid 1950s to late '70s). I examine the leading character Samuel Magno's recurring transformation into a grunting, hairy man-beast each time he plays the piano, exploring not only how these musical performances effectively disrupt his human appearance and identity, but also the ways in which these musical events derail his performance of machismo masculinity. I argue that the musical moments of El hombre y el monstruo do not only serve as helpful guides on the way to understanding the undeniable link between musical performance and monstrosity present in horror films, but that they also, more broadly speaking, shed light on larger discourses surrounding the potency of music as an agent of terror.

Emily Masincup is a PhD Candidate in Musicology at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern. Her master’s thesis, entitled “Rings and Other Gendered Spaces: Musical Representations of Gender in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Films,” seeks to establish unique connections between Howard Shore’s score and different types of space present within the films—literal and/or metaphorical—in order to illuminate subversive readings of gender. She maintains a strong interest in film music, and is especially thrilled when her explorations of film sound lead her into the territory of media studies. Emily also researches historical and contemporary conceptualizations of the human voice/vocality and hopes to combine this research with her film interests by examining representations of musical vocality within film. When she is not studying, she enjoys working on Kakuro puzzles, snuggling with cats, and singing with Northwestern’s University Chorale.

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