Courses / Undergraduate

Summer 2020

  • Post-Apocalyptic horror

    Film 108-001 | CCN: 12905

    Katherine Guerra

    4 Units

    Session A


    Lecture: T,W,Th      9am-11:30am                   Location: Online – Synchronous Instruction


    Screening: T  12:30pm-3:30pm                        Location: Online – Synchronous Instruction


    One day before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, The New York Times published Wesley Morris’ article, “For Me, Rewatching ‘Contagion’ Was Fun, Until It Wasn’t.” In the following weeks, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and BuzzFeed News, published the stories “Outbreak’ Enters Netflix’s Top 10: Here are 6 Quarantine-Ready Movies to Stream,” “Watching The Thing at the End of the World,” and “The Only Thing I Want To Do Is Binge-Watch Apocalypse Movies.” The 25 and 9-year-old films Outbreak and Contagion suddenly reentered Netflix and iTunes’ most-streamed title lists respectively. Why might we be drawn to pictures of the “end of the world,” to apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic films, at a time in which we face what can feel like a largely unprecedented global event? How can we explore and complicate our relationship to apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic imagery in the context of a contemporary pandemic?  Our course project will be three-pronged. First, we will work together to identify and analyze the visual icons and formal strategies used to communicate the experience/processes/effects of the apocalypse/post-apocalyptic/horror narrative. Secondly, we will work to situate and consider these films within the contexts which produced them. Finally, we will arm ourselves with the language and analytical tools with which to interrogate and name the collective and individual expressions of anxiety bound up in contemporary moments of “apocalypse” spectatorship. We’ll explore media like Mad Max: Fury Road, selections from television shows like The Twilight Zone, horror/sci-fi comedies like Attack the Block, and we’ll also incorporate readings from fiction texts like The Zombie Survival Guide.

    (This course will proceed via remote instruction during Session A)