- Ivan Castaneda, Horror: The Pleasures of Sexuality and Violence in Film and Literature (Great River, 2018)
Description: An interdisciplinary study and analysis of the horror genre in literature, film, and contemporary visual culture. The course begins with the examination of what exactly is horror, given the multiple manifestations of the genre. We will follow with a deep evaluation of the roots of horror in the most primordial traditions of human culture and their development in world mythology, folklore, and literature. Next, we will consider the structure of horror including narrative structure, characters, and motivation, including the ethical and moral problematics in horror. We will spend time also examining the aesthetics of horror: the sensual affects and effects of horror and their psychological and cultural provocations and implications. Next, we will closely examine the imbrications of sexuality and violence in horror, their meaning, and function in terms of human nature and culture. The important issue of fantasy and the unconscious will also be examined: How does horror give us a kind of strange pleasure through a “safe” medium? We will conclude the course with the analysis of the complex issue of horror and religion: the two are always already at work whether we admit it or not. The issue of religion and horror leads us to the final analysis of the course: the technological horror and the role of horror in contemporary society. Does horror give us a venue to discuss, internally and externally, the fears of the future world where the technological and the political are co-partners in the redefinition of humanity?