FS20200 Horror

Academic Year 2021/2022

“There’ll be food and drink and ghosts…and perhaps even a few murders. You’re all invited.”
House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Do you like scary movies? Horror is one of the most enduring of film genres, though also one of the most maligned: often dismissed as low-brow, vulgar, overly commercial, even harmful, horror films remain consistently popular with audiences throughout cinema history and across national domains. Many scholars, critics, and theorists have argued for its importance as a cultural barometer, asserting that the genre skilfully explores and negotiates the anxieties around identity, technology, science, and environment that structure our thinking about the world around us. This module will explore the key formal, stylistic, and thematic elements of horror cinema. We will study the historical development of the genre, from German Expressionism to Hammer to Slasher to Torture Porn to Post-Horror; the critical approaches to the genre, from Philosophy to Psychoanalysis to Phenomenology; and the diverse forms of horror across the world, including Japan and Ireland. Most importantly, we will read the genre: what does the monster in the horror film tell us about the tensions around race, gender, sexuality, religion, and art in the world we live in? Horror is more than a moment of terrifying, gory, affect in a darkened theatre, to be forgotten once the lights come up: rather, it exposes the repressed fears, desires, and deceits that lurk within our cultural nightmares. Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Having completed this module, students will:
(a) Understand the historical, formal, and stylistic evolution of the horror film
(b) Have a critical awareness of the key theoretical concepts, cultural debates and analytical issues relevant to the horror genre
(c) Be able to produce informed critical analyses of specific horror film texts, paying particular attention to the core module themes and frameworks.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning








Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Weekly online lectures; critical writing; online discussion forum. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Final Essay Week 12 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Short writing assignments throughout the trimester: responses to lecture topics; worksheets; scene analysis; Brightspace discussion forum Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Mr Eoin O'Gaora Tutor