Screams can be heard in Raef Hall on Tuesdays. Arm rests are clenched, toes are curled, and most importantly, notes are taken.
This is Film Genres: Horror & Thriller, perhaps the most popular film class on campus. Pamela Downs, Professor of this class for “ten or eleven years,” delights in watching and discussing classic horror films such as “The Exorcism,” and so do the sixty-five students enrolled.
Bring your snacks (make sure to clean up your mess) and sit down for the scariest, most gruesome three hours on campus.
The range of films is extensive, from the classic “Nosferatu” to the more modern “Shaun of the Dead.” But beyond being scared, what is there to learn from a class such as this?
“We can extrapolate the other genres of film from studying this one…We look at the primitive stages of drama, and then the classic stage, and then when it becomes revisionist, and then when it becomes parodied. By examining horror movies in this way, we can figure out how the Western genre came about and has changed, or Film Noir, or whatever genre we may want to look at”, said Downs. “I also think the horror genre, because it has maintained its’ popularity from silent movies on to today, I think it’s a form that has resonance with human beings. It forms a release for our fears of what goes bump in the night. And in some ways you come out of this class perhaps less afraid of some of the cultural bugaboos.”
Ms. Downs’ classes have become a favorite of student John Meyers, a Theater major. “This is my fourth class taught by her. She’s a great teacher and so far it’s the best class I have”, he said, soon after finishing the movie of the day, “Rosemary’s Baby.”
For the final assignment, you can choose between writing a paper, or making a five-minute horror film of your own, which will be premiered on the last day of class. If you’re looking for a fright, this is the class for you.
[stextbox id=”black”]She’s a great teacher and so far it’s the best class I have”
-John Meyers, Theatre Major
“By examining horror movies in this way, we can figure out how the Western genre came about”
-Pamela Downs, Professor[/stextbox]