Horror film – choose between Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931) 86 min., Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931) 70 min. , Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) 109 min.

Film Genres: Horror Films Professor: Julian Cornell Media Studies 342W Spring 2019 Mid-Term Paper Assignment For your mid-term paper assignment, select a “classic” horror film either one listed on the syllabus or one of your own choosing. A “Classic” Horror film is any produced and released before 1968, which was the year when the genre experienced a resurgence and became similar to the ones we see today. While I would prefer that you analyze an American film, you make choose a film from another country. Once you have decided upon your film, please email the instructor for approval of your topic. Once the topic has been approved by the instructor, please analyze the film according to either of the following questions:

1. Given the unique effects and themes of the horror genre, film critics, fans and scholars have often interpreted the films by employing a psychological perspective. Considering a horror film in this manner involves exploring the psychology of the main characters, their needs, wants and desires and, perhaps most importantly, their pathologies. Explore the psychological elements of your chosen film. What dark desires are expressed by the characters and what are their pathologies? How do they deviate from the ‘norms’ of behavior? What psychological issues are embodied by the monster? How does the film — the monster, the characters and the story — effect the audience (apart from scaring us) in terms of an individual’s fears?

2. In analyzing the films we have seen to this point, we have situated them within the boundaries of American history and culture. Thus, while horror films are frequently dismissed as mindless entertainment with little interesting in the way of content or meaning, we have seen how closer inspection reveals horror movies to have a great deal to say about American society. Consider the cultural messages of a horror film that a mere summary of the plot might not reveal. What are the social and political dimensions of the film? What threat does the monster pose, or symbolize? What does the film suggest about its time period and how does it reflect society’s pressing fears when it was released? How and why did it resonate with audiences at the time of its release? Please support your opinions with specific examples from the film. You may compare and contrast two movies (but no more than two) if you would like, as long as you present a rationale for doing so. Please do not do any additional research, except where considering the production history of the film if you feel it is relevant to your analysis. In addition, one must refer to at least one assigned reading, and utilize it to support your views. Internet sources are not acceptable for usage unless they are from academic journals or institutions. If you submit a rough draft of your midterm paper it should be four-five pages in length, double-spaced and submitted by Friday, March 1st, in class. If you do not wish to submit a rough draft, receive feedback from the instructor and have the option to revise your essay, it is due in class on Friday, March 8th. Late papers will be accepted, but the student will not have the opportunity to revise their essay and will have their grades lowered by a fraction for each week that it is late. Written work that is plagiarized will result in immediate failure! There will be no exceptions! All essays must be uploaded through the TurnItIn.com link on the course Blackboard site. Failure to do so will result in a delay in returning your essay.

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