American Classic Horror

You asked for it, you got it–a horror unit. Being too smart to realize that I swapped elements of the curriculum to make this a science-fiction meets current events and tech class, you called me out.

Let’s examine this genre together.

Critical themes:

1. The literary elements of horror: foreshadowing, plot, protagonist, antagonist…it’s important to be able to identify what makes these things great and effective.  What are the best themes? How do we get characters we believe and empathize with? What makes you cringe and check in your own closet after you’ve seen a good film?

2. The power of suggestion: Horror films have deteriorated into gore. Is that necessary or is that a byproduct of the way we watch TV today–everything is sensationalized and many argue we have become desensitized as a culture.  Can the horror greats produce true fear and suspense without that degree of gore?

3. What are the classics in this genre? If you were the greatest critic, what criteria would you pick to judge the best of the best? Be able to justify your picks.

4. Is reality more frightening than the genre of horror? Watch the news–are the murders, crimes, true elements of evil at times worse than King, Kubrick, Hitchcock, and Twilight Zone? Let’s evaluate the direction we’ve taken as a society, and address the horrors of reality.

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