Sunday, March 8, 2009

Outline for Essay on the Horror Genre

Essay Proposal – A study of the Horror Genre in an attempt to identify its underlying principles and form a framework for identifying horror films.

This proposed essay will examine the history and origins of the horror genre in an attempt to establish a framework for identifying a film as a piece of horror. To do so I will examine the various reasons and theories used in identifying films as pieces of horror and differentiating them from their counterparts within other genres. I will examine how visual aspects of the genre, in an attempt to measure their significance in terming a film as horror – an event based study. I will then proceed to looking at their underlying structure in an attempt to distance them from other genres – a structurally based approach. Furthermore I will examine the underlying premise's and control ideas behind horror scripts and provide an event-based study of the genre. Finally I will try to approach the subject from a psychoanalysis point of view – in order to understand the subject from the audiences point of view – rather than looking at the text exclusively. In so doing I will have established a framework for identifying horror films and also establishing why some are more successful than others in their attempts. Hence I will to an extent identify the underlying paradigms and principles that underpin the horror genre – which are so useful in our appreciation and study of this genre and may provide further insights in the construction of films that are more successful in this genre.


McKee, Robert. 1999, Story : substance, structure, style, and the principles of screenwriting. London : Methuen.

Aronson, L. 2000, Scriptwriting Updated: New and Conventional Ways of Writing for the Screen. Australian Film Television & Radio School ; [St. Leonards, N.S.W.] ; Allen & Unwin.

Dick, Bernard F. 2005, Anatomy of film, 5th edition. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins.

Wearver, I. Et al., 1952. Horror films – History and Criticism. New Jersey.

Stephen, P. 2004. Horror films – History and Criticism, New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press.

Moine, Raphaëlle. 2008, Cinema genre, Malden, MA ; Oxford : Blackwell Pub.

Cohen, II. 2004, Film theory and criticism : introductory readings, 6th edition. New York : Oxford University Press.

Wells, Paul. 2000, The horror genre : from Beelzebub to Blair Witch. London : Wallflower.

Mast, Gerald. 1992, Film theory and criticism : introductory readings. New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Grant, Barry K. 1977, Film genre : theory and criticism. Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press.

Movies to Cite

The Black Cat (1934)

House of Frankenstein (1944)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Psycho (1960)

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Nightmare Castle (1966)

The Kremlin Letter (1970)

Exorcist (1973)

Friday the 13th (1980)

Halloween (1978)

Blair Witch Project (1999)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Blood Feast (1963)

Alien (1979)

Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Possible Websites (open to change – this will be added to probably in the course of writing.)

1 comment:

  1. A very clear and incisive account of your approach to the topic. Particularly interesting is to look at the genre from the audiences' POV. To look at this effectively you could survey people's response to particular films or find audience studies material that has already done this.