Cultural Studies | Special Topics in Cultural Studies: History and Politics of the Horror Film
C701 | 8709 | Hawkins


This course takes a serious look at horror as a cultural and cinematic
form, and attempts to draw some conclusions about its
“politics”—sexual, ethnic, familial, economic 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, AIDS, addiction?  Is horror essentially
conservative or does it challenge accepted social paradigms?  What is
its relationship to mainstream cinema and to cultural criticism at
large? What is the relationship of art-horror to trash cinema; horror
to the avant-garde? Films will include: Meet Me in St. Louis, George
Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead, Michael Powell’s Peeping
Tom, Hitchcock’s Psycho, and units on European horror, experimental
horror, vampire films, Asian Extreme horror and early horror.
Readings will run the gamut from novels (Geek Love, Dracula) to theory
by Derrida, Freud, Carol Clover, Barbara Creed,  Mark Jancovich, Jeff
Sconce, Linda Williams, Robin Wood and other scholars working on the
genre.  There will be some lecture, but the class will be conducted
primarily as a seminar.    Weekly screenings.
Required course work will include a short paper, an oral presentation
and a final project.

Readings:
Essays on e-reserve
Mark Jancovich, Horror: The Film Reader (Routledge, 2001)
Carol Clover, Men , Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror
Film (Princeton, 1992)
Mark Seltzer, Serial Killers: Death and Life in America’s Wound
Culture (Routledge, 1998)
Katharine Dunn, Geek Love
Bram Stoker, Dracula