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Fright Night: The Ethics of Horror on Film

ENGL 291.401
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

This is an advanced seminar in American horror cinema. It facilitates in-depth analysis and close readings of classic American horror films. This course explores the production, reception, aesthetics, politics and evolution of a genre. We begin with classic films of the 1930s & 40s. Next we examine Cold War politics and its influence on film culture. Landmark films responsible for shifts in the genre’s paradigm are considered and contextualized. We will read these films against the historical, political and industrial settings in which they were produced. The range of topics on the syllabus is necessarily limited, which means that your participation in discussions is essential. Please commit to attending class, being prepared to discuss each week’s topics and texts, and make use of the class email list. Our discussions of diverse, complex issues (i.e., race, class, gender, sexuality) will likely reveal differences of opinion, experience, and education. The work of Alfred Hitchcock, Roman Polanski, Brian DePalma, David Cronenberg and Mary Harron, among others, will be studied.