Communication and Culture | Media Genres: The History and Politics of Horror Film
C392 | 26292 | Joan Hawkins

Topic: The History and Politics of Horror Films
Class Number: 26292
TuTh 1:00 PM-2:15 PM
Film Screenings (required): Wednesdays 7:00 PM-10:30 PM

Fulfills COAS A&H distribution requirement

Professor: Joan Hawkins
Office: Mottier 113
Office hours: TBA
Phone: 5-1548

In this course we’ll take a serious look at horror as a cultural and
cinematic form, and attempt to draw some conclusions about
its “politics”—sexual, ethnic, familial, economic, racial, etc.  How
has horror dealt with social changes in sexual mores, gender roles,
and family structure; political and economic events; the increasing
role of technology in our lives? Is horror essentially conservative
or does it challenge accepted social paradigms? Does it lead to a
weakening of the viewer’s moral values, as some critics have
charged, or does it provide a kind of catharsis, a safe “outlet”
through which we can examine our darker sides?  What is its
relationship to mainstream cinema and to cultural criticism at large?

Special attention will be paid to early (pre-1968) American and
postwar European films, as well as to the subgenre of vampire
films.  Written work will consist of two papers, a take-home
midterm, and a final exam.  Expect to read about 50 pages per week
and to participate actively in discussion.

Paul Wells, The Horror Genre from Beelzebub to Blair Witch (UK:
Wallflower Press, 2000)
And a selection of xeroxed essays

Films will include: Psycho, Peeping Tom, Suspiria, The Horror of
Dracula, Cronos,
Night of the Living Dead (1968), Near Dark, Dracula (Browning,
1931), I Walked with a Zombie, Nosferatu  and more TBA.