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GWST 2700: G EN D ER AND S EXUA LITY IN TH E H O RRO R F ILM

Summer Interterm 2014


Sunday, June 8: 10am-6pm
Monday-Friday, June 9-June 13: 6-10pm
Option: Sunday, June 15 Meet on Fathers Day to relieve some hours during the week

*Please note that course material contains adult themes, strong language, and explicit scenes of
violence. Please consider carefully whether this is the right course for you. Prior familiarity with
the horror genre, or desire to seriously consider the horror genre as an art form and social
document is a must!

Instructor: Dr. Charlotte Quinney


Contact: Charlotte.Quinney@du.edu
Office Hours: Office hours may be scheduled by appointment. Please email me to schedule a
meeting on campus or a virtual meeting via Skype or Google Chat.

I will respond to emails within 24 hours. Any concerns, issues, or questions should be brought to my
attention immediately.

PREREQUISITES:
There are no prerequisites for this course, though I would recommend that you have completed
WRIT 1122 and WRIT 1133, and/or have taken a previous course in film studies, media theory,
literary studies, art history, or similar.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
The horror genre has often been shunned as a lowbrow form, displaying misogynistic violence
for a stereotypically male viewer. The genre has been castigated and censored for its perverse
potential to incite sexual violence against women, and for its monstrous portrayal of gay and
transgender identities. Despite this stigma, horror films have persisted as a popular art form and
social document, reflecting cultural and political fears and anxieties. Tobe Hoopers 1974
screamfest, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has been adopted into the Museum of Modern Arts
permanent collection, and Alfred Hitchcocks Psycho persists on the British Film Institutes Top
50 Greatest Films of All Time. This course will survey horrors ongoing fascination with gender
and sexuality, from Mary Shelleys 1818 anxieties about motherhood, to contemporary feminist
horror films. We will look at representations of femininity, masculinity, family structures,
gendered bodies, and challenges to normative sexuality, as well as assessing gendered viewing
practices and identification with horror films. We will also look at the challenges and potentials
faced by female and gay horror film directors. From the perspective of female horror fandom, I
hope to articulate that the horror film provides a space in which to explore liminal identities, as
well as to present strong and heroic female characters, especially in the figure of the Final Girl.
Students will learn how to closely analyze a film text, as well as how to articulate the importance
of horrors subversive potential as social and political commentary.

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES:


After completing the course, students will be able to:
Understand the horror genre as an art form and social document, particularly as it
engages with cultural fears and anxieties
Articulate a working knowledge of key terms and texts in feminist film theory
Understand the politics of representation in visual culture and film
Understand the concerns of, and problems faced by, female and gay filmmakers
Analyze a filmic text
Communicate articulately and respectfully in face-to-face and technologically mediated
contexts

COURSE TEXTS AND MATERIALS:


Our required course text is Barry Keith Grant, ed, The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror
Film. (Available on Amazon.com for $28.45 with free shipping). You may also consider purchasing
or borrowing a copy of J. Halberstams book, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of
Monsters.

Additional course materials will be available on Blackboard.

Please use DU Libraries, Inter-Library Loan, JSTOR and Project Muse databases, and the online
eJournal Jump Cut for additional sources and research.

DU Libraries: http://library.du.edu
Inter-Library Loan: http://library.du.edu/services/ill/
JSTOR access: http://bianca.penlib.du.edu/record=b5886334~S2
Project Muse access: http://bianca.penlib.du.edu/record=b2590987~S2
Jump Cut: http://www.ejumpcut.org/home.html

It is recommended that you purchase a one-month Netflix subscription ($7.99, unlimited DVDs) in
order to watch recommended films, and the film(s) that you choose to use for your critical analysis
essay. (Note: Netflix Streaming has a free one-month trial, but it does not have a full range of horror
titles)
COURSE REQUIREMENTS:
Attendance and Participation Policy: Students are expected to be present and on time. Student
attendance at all class periods is mandatory. Thoughtful dialogue and collaboration is essential in
fully developing our understanding of course texts and themes, therefore active participation is
expected in face-to-face and online class activities.

If an emergency prevents attendance, contact me via email (Charlotte.Quinney@du.edu) as soon


as possible. I will provide you with a make-up assignment, and you will be expected to
demonstrate that you have completed course readings and viewings for that day by writing a
reflection on our Blackboard discussion forums. Due to the accelerated nature of the interterm
schedule, you cannot pass the course with 2 absences.

Assignment Policy: All assignments must be completed to achieve a passing grade in the course.
Assignments must be fully completed by noon on Friday June 27 (the only exception to this
policy is the approval of an Incomplete grade).

For each day an assignment is late, I will deduct 10% (one whole grade).

A grade of Incomplete (temporary grade allowing students an extension on assignments) will


be considered only under special circumstances as determined by the instructor and DU policy
(http://www.du.edu/registrar/records/incompletegrade.html).

The application form for an incomplete can be found here:


http://www.du.edu/registrar/media/documents/incomplete_application.pdf

ASSIGNMENTS:
Always refer to the course syllabus for reading assignments and due dates. Detailed guidelines
for assignments will be provided in electronic form on Blackboard under the Assignment
Guidelines tab. Please read the assignment guidelines carefully and refer to the guidelines
frequently as you write. All assignments must meet the basic requirements as described in the
guidelines. Students will be asked to revise any assignment that does not meet the guidelines.

1. Participation - 25%
Due to the accelerated format of this course, student presence and participation is essential. Students
are expected to engage in meaningful discussion, sharing ideas and thought-provoking questions.
Participation can take place in several forums, either in class, during instructor office hours, and/or
on our course discussion boards. Students will also be assessed on their ability to engage in
respectful dialogue, and to effectively communicate in a face-to-face and/or technologically
mediated environment. You need to be present and on time to participate fully in the course!

2. Agenda for Subversive Filmmaking 5%


In class you will work in small groups to develop a manifesto, or a set of guidelines, for
underrepresented filmmakers. Questions to consider include: How might filmmakers address the
issue of gender norms and hierarchies? How might filmmakers empower minority characters? What
stylistic and visual techniques might filmmakers use to draw attention to controversial questions and
topics? How might popular or lowbrow culture be reconsidered as a socially responsive (and
responsible) art form? Where might underrepresented filmmakers find funding, or a place to exhibit
their work? How might subversive filmmakers respond to censors and censorship?

3. Film Analyses - 30%


Students are required to write 2 3-4 page close textual analysis papers. The first should be in
response to one of our required film texts (in-class screenings), the second should analyze our of our
recommended film texts. Students should analyze the film text at the level of narrative, plot, and
cinematic technique, show an awareness of genre and cinematic conventions, and should
demonstrate the ability to use the vocabulary of film studies (ex. mise-en-scne, diegesis, camera
shots and angles). The analysis should not summarize the film, but should show how narrative,
visual, and audio elements work to construct a particular perspective about femininity, masculinity,
sexual orientation, sexual or familial relationships, power dynamics, gendered bodies, or a similar
theme. No outside sources are necessary for this assignment.

- Analysis of required film text due Saturday 6/14 at midnight via email
- Analysis of recommended film text due Tuesday 6/17 at midnight via email

4. Critical Research Essay - 40%


Following the class, students will work on a 6-8 page critical research essay which explores one of
our course topics in depth. Selecting from our required or recommended viewing and reading,
students will craft an argument about one aspect of gender, sexuality, and the body in relation to the
horror film. Students should use at least 3 academic sources in their essay. This essay is due via
email by noon on Friday June 27. Students may consider representations of femininity, masculinity,
LGBTQ identity, mothers, fathers, violence, spectatorship and viewing practices, lines of
identification, illness/politics of blood, the Final Girl, feminist filmmaking, the role of
camp/kitsch/humor, the problem of rape, psychoanalytic theory, woman warriors, or any other
suitable topic of your choice. Please speak with me in person or via email about the scope and
nature of your topic before you get started.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:
Colorado Womens College fully endorses the University of Denvers Honor Code and the
procedures put forth by the Office of Student Conduct. Academic dishonestyincluding
plagiarism, cheating, and falsification of data and researchis in violation of the code and will
result in a failing grade for the assignment or for the course. In severe cases, a report will be
submitted to the Office of Student Conduct, who will investigate the case. This may result in a
hearing, probation, and additional academic assignments. As student members of a community
committed to academic integrity and honesty, it is your responsibility to become familiar with
the DU Honor Code and its procedures:
https://www.du.edu/studentlife/studentconduct/media/documents/honor_code_2013-2014.pdf

Plagiarism or cheating includes:- Not quoting or citing material taken from print or online
sources; working with another student on an independent assignment resulting in 2 identical
papers; paying for an essay from an essay mill or online site; relying on a family member, friend,
or another student to write your paper. Plagiarism is typically easy to identify, particularly when
student essays do not conform in style and tone to other writing for the course, or when students
include advanced terminology and theoretical ideas that are beyond the typical level of
comprehension. Tools such as SafeAssign are also used at DU to identify cases of plagiarism.
Your thoughts and ideas matter. If you are struggling with any aspect of an assignment,
please notify your professor and ask for help. Scheduling a face-to-face meeting can often
help resolve any issues or anxieties. Plagiarism or cheating will be more damaging to your
academic career than submitting a late assignment.

TECHNOLOGY USE IN THE CLASSROOM:


In order to create and maintain an optimal learning environment in the classroom, students
should use technology appropriately. Work done on laptops, cell phones, and other devices that
is not relevant to the class can hinder the process of communication and shared discussion of
ideas that require full engagement by all participants. I ask that you do not use any technology in
the classroom unless absolutely necessary. No devices should be used during movie screenings.

ADA ACCOMMODATIONS:
Students who require accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act must contact the
instructor to discuss their needs. Failure to notify the instructor immediately may hinder the
colleges ability to accommodate accordingly. Students with learning disabilities should also
contact the University Disability Services Program at http://www.du.edu/studentlife/disability/ .
University Disability Services houses the Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) and the Disability
Services Program (DSP).

OBSERVATION OF RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS:


Students wishing to observe a religious holiday not celebrated on the academic calendar may do
so provided advanced written notice is given to the instructor before or during the first day of the
course. With advanced written notice, the absence will be considered an excused absence. For
additional information, contact DUs Office for Religious and Spiritual Life
(http://www.du.edu/studentlife/religiouslife/).

COURSE SCHEDULE:
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE FIRST CLASS: Students are required to have completed the reading
for Sunday June 8. Students should come to class prepared to discuss the readings, as well as the
syllabus, the assignments, or the Blackboard course site.

(DD) The Dread of Difference


(BB) Readings available on our Blackboard course site

Sessions Class Topics, Reading Assignments, and Due Dates

Sun. 6/8 Draculas Daughters, Frankensteins Bride

Required Reading
Nol Carroll, Why Horror? (BB)
Linda Williams, When the Woman Looks (DD)
Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (BB)

In-Class Screening
The Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935)
The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983)
Recommended Reading and Viewing
David J. Hogan, Dark Romance: Sexuality in the Horror Film
Elizabeth Young, Here Comes the Bride: Wedding Gender and Race in Bride of
Frankenstein (DD)
Bonnie Zimmerman, Daughters of Darkness: The Lesbian Vampire on Film
(DD)
Vera Dika, From Dracula With Love (DD)
Nina Auerbach, Our Vampires, Ourselves
Jeffrey Brown, Kinky Vampires and Action Heroines
Patricia White, Female Spectator, Lesbian Spectator
Dolf Zillmann and James Weaver, Gender-Socialization Theory of Reactions to
Horror

Draculas Daughter (Lambert Hillyer, 1936/ Universal)


The Brides of Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1960/ Hammer)
Bram Stokers Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola, 1992)
Interview With the Vampire
Bride of Chucky (Ronny Yu, 1998)
Bride of Reanimator (Brian Yuzna, 1990)
The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963)

Mon. 6/9 Oedipus and the Queen


Required Reading
Harry M. Benschoff, Pods, Pederasts, and Perverts: (Re)Criminalizing the Monster
Queer in Cold War Culture (BB)

In-Class Screening
Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

Recommended Reading and Viewing


Harry M. Benshoff, Monsters in the Closet: Homosexuality and the Horror Film
Harry M. Benschoff, "Way Too Gay to be Ignored: Queer Horror in the 21st
Century"
Linda Williams, Learning to Scream
Sean Abley, Out in the Dark: Interviews With Gay Horror Filmmakers, Actors, and
Authors

American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000)


Martin (George Romero, 1978)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddys Revenge (Jack Sholder, 1985)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (Kim Henkel, 1994)
Films of David DeCocteau (May contain explicit sexual content)
E. T. A. Hoffmann, The Sandman (Short story)

Tues. 6/10 Skin Shows


Required Reading
J. Jack Halberstam, Skinflick: Posthuman Gender in Jonathan Demmes The
Silence of the Lambs (BB)

In-Class Screening
The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991)

Recommended Reading and Viewing


Cary Wolfe and Jonathan Elmer, Subject to Sacrifice: Ideology, Psychoanalysis,
and the Discourse of Species in Jonathan Demme's Silence of the Lambs
(JSTOR)
Susan Stryker, My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of
Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage
Linda Badley, Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic
Clive Barker, The Hellbound Heart (Novella inspired Hellraiser franchise)

Haute Tension/High Tension (Alexandre Aja, 2003) (Watch with subtitles!!)


The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, 1975)

Wed. 6/11 Monstrous Mothers, Pubescent Daughters


Required Reading
Barbara Creed, Horror and The Monstrous-Feminine: An Imaginary Abjection
(DD)
Julia Kristeva, excerpt from The Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (BB)
Shelley Stamp Lindsey, Horror, Femininity, and Carries Monstrous Puberty
(DD)

In-Class Screening and Viewing


Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)
Contemporary art by Elif Varol Ergen and Jessica Harrison

Recommended Reading and Viewing


Aviva Briefel, Monster Pains: Masochism, Menstruation, and Identification in
the Horror Film (JSTOR)
Walter Evans, Monster Movies: A Sexual Theory
Lucy Fisher, Birth Traumas: Parturition and Horror in Rosemarys Baby (DD)
Linda Williams, Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess
Pete Boss, Vile Bodies and Bad Medicine
Stephen Scobie, Whats the Story, Mother?: The Mourning of the Alien
(JSTOR)
J. Jack Halberstam, Seed of Chucky: Transbiology and the Horror Flick
Sue Short, Misfit Sisters: Screen Horror as Female Rites of Passage

Rosemarys Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)


The Brood (David Cronenberg, 1979)
Friday the 13th (Sean Cunningham, 1980)
The People Under the Stairs (Wes Craven, 1991)
Ginger Snaps (John Fawcett, 2000)
Teeth (Mitchell Lichtenstein, 2007)
Mama (Andrs Muschietti, 2013)
Silent Hill (Christophe Gans, 2006)
Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)

Thurs. 6/12 Survivalism


Required Reading
Deborah Jermyn, Rereading the Bitches From Hell: A Feminist Appropriation of
the Female Psychopath

In-Class Screening
The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2006)

Recommended Reading and Viewing


Rikke Schubart, Super Bitches and Action Babes: The Female Hero in Popular
Cinema, 1970-2006

Black Rock (Katie Aselton, 2012)


Incident On and Off a Mountain Road (Don Coscarelli, 2005/Masters of Horror)
Hard Candy (David Slade, 2005)
The Last House on the Left (Dennis Illiadis, 2009) (Remake of Craven, 1972)
I Spit On Your Grave (Meir Zachi, 1972) (Warning: explicit sexual violence)

Fri. 6/13 The Final Girl


Required Reading
Carol Clover, Her Body, Himself (DD)
J. Jack Halberstam, Bodies That Splatter: Queers and Chainsaws (BB)

In-Class Screening
Scream (Wes Craven, 1996)

Recommended Reading and Viewing


Kyle Christensen, The Final Girl versus Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm
Street: Proposing a Stronger Model of Feminism in Slasher Horror Cinema
(JSTOR)

Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)


A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Tobe Hooper, 1986)
I Know What You Did Last Summer (Jim Gillespie, 1997)
Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
Jennifers Body (Karyn Kusama, 2009)
Saw II (Darren Lynn Bousman, 2005)
Resident Evil (Paul Anderson, 2002)
Hostel: Part II (Eli Roth, 2007)
Sat. 6/14 Film Analysis 1 Due by midnight (Analysis of required film text) (via email)

Tues. 6/17 Film Analysis 2 Due by midnight (Analysis of recommended film text) (via
email)

Fri. 6/27 Critical Research Essay Due by noon (via email)

Note on email submissions: You must also copy and paste your work into the body of the email.
I am aware of a student hack intentionally corrupting files to delay submission of an
assignment. To prevent this, you must attach your document as a .doc or .docx file AND copy
and paste your work into the email itself. If I cannot open your document, and you did not also
copy and paste your work into the body of the email, it will be classed as late and you will lose
one full grade for each day I cannot open and read your assignment.