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Alumni Graduate Students

Eliot Bessette


Dissertation Title: “Thinking Through Fear in Film and Haunts”


Bessette film and media website photo alternate


Eliot Bessette received his Ph.D. in 2020. His dissertation, “Thinking Through Fear in Film and Haunts,” advances a new form of philosophically productive close readings of the emotion of fear, as elicited by horror cinema and immersive theatrical haunted house attractions, or “haunts.” His research has appeared or is forthcoming in JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media StudiesNew Review of Film and Television Studies, and ReFocus: The Films of William Castle (Edinburgh University Press). He has also written reviews and analyses of haunts for a popular audience at He received an MA in Cinema and Media Studies from UCLA and an AB in Cinema and Media Studies and English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago.