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Horror Films: Genre, History, Culture

Horror Films is a survey of the American horror film that investigates the interrelations between horror cinema and its socio-cultural contexts. In so doing, students will learn to appreciate the cultural work performed by horror movies, which are—next to pornography—most easily dismissed as having no merits and/or lacking values.

In addition to understanding how horror movies reflect and reflect on their respective socio-cultural environments, from the Great Depression to the Digital Age, students will acquire basic skills in film analysis (film narratology, psychoanalytical criticism, ideology critique), learn to comprehend the (un-?)importance of cinematic genres, get introduced to debates surrounding the representation of race, class, and gender in movies, and sharpen their ability to critically examine scholarly discourses.

This should be self-explanatory, but a cautionary note: Watching horror movies is what you signed up for when registering for this class. You will have to watch movies that depict physical and/or psychological violence and may cause unwanted and/or unexpected reactions.

Term Paper Checklist

Very good horror documentaries that tap into some of the questions that this class will focus on: