Horror Film

We 1:00PM - 4:50PM / 407 Cathedral of Learning / CRN 30390

The Academy Award nominations bestowed on Get Out and The Shape of Water in 2017 are a recent sign of a phenomenon that has been gaining momentum steadily over the last forty years: the recognigition that horror films need to be taken seriously as contributions to art, culture, and politics. Observing the state of research on cinematic spectatorship in 1995, the film scholar Linda Williams noted "how analysis of a supposedly exceptional genre--the horror film--may end offering the most comprehensive analysis of gender and sexuality in spectatorship in general." The deluge of scholarship on the horror film since 1995 not onlly bears out Williams' prediction and signals the emergence of horror studies as a field in its own right, but teaches us over and over again how a genre often assumed to be an exception to core debates in film theory and film history winds up illuminating foundational assumptions about cultural studies in general and film and media studies in particular.  This seminar will investigate the key films and critical discussions surrounding the genre from  its beginnings to the present, but not merely to perform a genre survey--instead we will use horror as a lens to ask wide-ranging questions about spectatroship, theory, history, aesthetics, and politics that have shaped and contine to transform film and media studies in profound ways.  The seminar will be enhanced by city-wide events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landmark independent horror film The Night of the Living Dead, along with the career of its Pittsburgh-based director, George A. Romero.

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Adam Lowenstein

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Category B: Disciplines and Intellectual Movements

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