English 150

Senior Seminar: Modern Horror

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Fall 2008 Oyama, Misa
Oyama, Misa
TTh 12:30-2 106 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill; HouseStephen King, The Stand; Martin McDonagh, The Pillowman; Joyce Carol Oates, Beasts; Peter Straub, Ghost Story; course reader of short stories and criticism


Within the past decade, the phenomenon of J-horror (originally Japanese, but now associated with other Asian countries) has gone from minor cult status to accepted Hollywood convention, due to the success of American adaptations like The Ring. But as Takashi Shimizu noted while directing an American adaptation of his own film, horror which comes from a specific tradition can be difficult to adapt to another culture. This course considers the horror genre in cultural context, primarily focusing on its presence in American literature and film over the past fifty years, but also examining its revitalization through more recent international influences. In what ways does horror transcend cultural differences, and in what ways does it depend on cultural specificity? To what extent do these texts derive their power from racial, sexual, and social fears? Assignments will include a brief oral presentation, bibliography, and final research paper on a topic of the student?s choice. Films will be screened outside of class in the evening; students who cannot make the screening can see the films on their own at the Media Center in Moffitt. Students interested in taking this course may want to read The Stand over the summer, so that we can approach this thousand-page novel as familiar readers.

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