Fear on Film: The History of Horror Movies
  I: Administrative Information   II: Course Details   III: Topical Outline(s)  Printable Version

Land Acknowledgement

Sheridan College resides on land that has been, and still is, the traditional territory of several Indigenous nations, including the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. We recognize this territory is covered by the Dish with One Spoon treaty and the Two Row Wampum treaty, which emphasize the importance of joint stewardship, peace, and respectful relationships.

As an institution of higher learning Sheridan embraces the critical role that education must play in facilitating real transformational change. We continue our collective efforts to recognize Canada's colonial history and to take steps to meaningful Truth and Reconciliation.

Section I: Administrative Information
  Total hours: 14.0
Credit Value: 0.0
Credit Value Notes: N/A
Effective: Winter 2022
Prerequisites: N/A
Corequisites: N/A
Equivalents: N/A
Pre/Co/Equiv Notes: N/A

Program(s): N/A
Program Coordinator(s): N/A
Course Leader or Contact: N/A
Version: 20220110_00
Status: Approved (APPR)

Section I Notes: Access to course materials and assignments will be available on Sheridan's Learning and Teaching Environment (SLATE). Students will need reliable access to a computer and the internet.

Section II: Course Details

Detailed Description
From the pioneering days of the motion picture to the light, shadow and moral ambiguity of the German expressionist movement; from the global impact of the early Universal monster pictures of the 1930s to the allegorical science fiction horrors of the 1950s; from the landmark, boundary-pushing works of the 1970s to the 1980s slasher movie boom and beyond. Fear on Film will encourage learners to examine changing trends in genre storytelling and technology and how societal unrest is very often consciously or unconsciously reflected in the movies themselves. We will profile many of horror and dark fantasy cinema's most important and influential figures and discuss how their work has helped shape the ways in which we watch movies. Learners will emerge from Fear on Film with a strong foundational knowledge of film history as studied through the lens of the horror genre.

Course Critical Performance and Learning Outcomes

  Critical Performance:
By the end of this course, learners will explore and evaluate horror cinema from cultural, historical, and socio-political perspectives.
Learning Outcomes:

To achieve the critical performance, students will have demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Identify key creators in horror and dark fantasy cinema and their influence and legacies.
  2. Analyze specific sub-genres and archetypes of horror and note how they differ from culture to culture and change throughout history.
  3. Watch assigned features and short films and engage in group discussions and debates.
  4. Examine the development of the motion picture and how horror and dark fantasy storytelling evolved alongside it.

Evaluation Plan
Students demonstrate their learning in the following ways:

 Evaluation Plan: ONLINE
 Final Written Assignment25.0%

Evaluation Notes and Academic Missed Work Procedure:
TEST AND ASSIGNMENT PROTOCOL The following protocol applies to every course offered by Continuing and Professional Studies. 1. Students are responsible for staying abreast of test dates and times, as well as due dates and any special instructions for submitting assignments and projects as supplied to the class by the instructor. 2. Students must write all tests at the specified date and time. Missed tests, in-class/online activities, assignments and presentations are awarded a mark of zero. The penalty for late submission of written assignments is a loss of 10% per day for up to five business days (excluding Sundays and statutory holidays), after which, a grade of zero is assigned. Business days include any day that the college is open for business, whether the student has scheduled classes that day or not. An extension or make-up opportunity may be approved by the instructor at his or her discretion.

Provincial Context
The course meets the following Ministry of Colleges and Universities requirements:


Essential Employability Skills
Essential Employability Skills emphasized in the course:

  • Communication Skills - Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken, visual form that fulfills the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving - Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.
  • Interpersonal Skills - Show respect for the diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.
  • Interpersonal Skills - Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.
  • Personal Skills - Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.
  • Personal Skills - Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition
PLAR Contact (if course is PLAR-eligible) - Office of the Registrar

  • Not Eligible for PLAR

Section III: Topical Outline
Some details of this outline may change as a result of circumstances such as weather cancellations, College and student activities, and class timetabling.
Instruction Mode: Online
Professor: Multiple Professors
RequiredOtherThere will be no assigned textbook, however links to clips, films, select articles, essays, and PDFs of published articles and interviews will be provided.

Applicable student group(s): Continuing Education Students
Course Details:

Week 1: Introducing Horror

Examining the early days of cinema

The “first wave” of horror films

Why do we watch horror films?

(Discussion 10%)


Week 2: Sub-Genres, Movements and Cultural Development


Surrealism and the Freudian ID

Early American Horror of the 1930s

Production code and its effect on horror films

Exploitation films

(Discussion 10%)


Week 3: The 1950s and Small Screen Horror

Horror post WWII

The advent of television and its effect on cinema production and distribution

European cinema

Gothic horror filmz

(Discussion 10%)


Week 4: Horror in the Swingin’ Sixties

Work of Hitchcock

Italian and European genre film boom

“Gore” films

(Discussion 10%)


Week 5: The American New Wave

Birth of the new rating system

Horror on the small screen

American influence on European and Asian horror films

(Discussion 10%)


Week 6: The 1980s: Slashers, Stephen King and MTV

The 1980s and the influence of MTV

Stephen King in cinema

Conservative politics in the American horror film

Franchise horror films

Horror’s decline and rebirth

(Discussion 10%)

(Final Written Assignment 25%)


Week 7: Horror Now...and What’s to Come

Impact of the internet

Zombie cinema and television

Femininity and diversity

(Discussion 10%)


Sheridan Policies

It is recommended that students read the following policies in relation to course outlines:

  • Academic Integrity
  • Copyright
  • Intellectual Property
  • Respectful Behaviour
  • Accessible Learning
All Sheridan policies can be viewed on the Sheridan policy website.

Appropriate use of generative Artificial Intelligence tools: In alignment with Sheridan's Academic Integrity Policy, students should consult with their professors and/or refer to evaluation instructions regarding the appropriate use, or prohibition, of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for coursework. Turnitin AI detection software may be used by faculty members to screen assignment submissions or exams for unauthorized use of artificial intelligence.

Course Outline Changes: The information contained in this Course Outline including but not limited to faculty and program information and course description is subject to change without notice. Nothing in this Course Outline should be viewed as a representation, offer and/or warranty. Students are responsible for reading the Important Notice and Disclaimer which applies to Programs and Courses.

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