Communication and Culture | Topics in Communication & Culture: The Fantasy Film
C334 | 11891 | Keith Hamel

Meets 6:00PM-7:30PM MTuWTh  (BH 330)
Required screenings 8:00PM-10:00PM TuTh  (BH 330)


This course is designed to introduce the student to the polysemantic
world of the fantasy film.  The term “polysemantic” is used because
film scholars have yet to determine just what exactly stands for a
fantasy film.  Is it a genre, such as the western or film noir? Or
is it a way of stylizing material, such as in comedy or drama?  One
of the over-riding goals in this course will be to determine just
what is required for a film to be called “fantasy.”

The first section of this course will acquaint the student with the
overall history and aesthetics of the fantasy film.  In this
section, particular attention will be paid to the narratives,
characters, and cinematic elements (such as mise-en-scene) found in
a fantasy film.  The second section of this course will examine how
fantasy has been used in different genres, particularly horror, sci-
fi, and animation. Subtopics here include a look at the “fantastic
monster,” images of the future, and the relationship between
psychology and fantasy.

Lastly, the third section will look at the two poles of fantasy,
tentatively labeled “light” and “dark” fantasy.  Although this
course is not heavy in theory, it is at this point where the course
will examine how fantasy intersects with life.  In other words, what
is the function of fantasy in our world?  By the end of the course,
students should have a new appreciation of the artistic
possibilities of cinema, as well as new ways of seeing and
understanding the “real” world in which they supposedly live.