LiU’s autumn catalogue offers courses in horror!
The enormous interest in thrillers and detective stories is now even present in LiU's course catalogue. This autumn, LiU will offer evening courses in horror stories.
“This will be the first time we offer freestanding courses in the subject, although previously we have offered the same course as part of a full-time course in the history of modern literature. By offering evening courses, we hope to attract more students to the subject, says teacher Rickard Karlsson.
Horror is prevalent and reflected in many ways: in film, literature and games. Rickard Karlsson cites as an example; John Ajvide Lindqvist's book Let the Right One In, which also became a film, shown in both Sweden and the United States.
The horror genre originates from a Gothic novel during the late 18th century.
“The Gothic genre contained much more than just horror and during the 19th century it was expanded, evident by the Frankenstein and Dracula stories. It is from this genre that our horror books, thrillers and even fantasy books have evolved, says Rickard Karlsson.
The 19th century provided horror courtesy of vampires and werewolves whereas during our modern time, it’s serial killers we fear. The book and the movie Silence of the Lambs, from the 1990s, was the starting point for this trend.
The film ignited great interest for serial killers. Unlike vampires, and zombies, serial killers are human beings of flesh and blood, and a product of our society. They have been shaped by their social context and conditions, thus making the serial killer trend also a criticism of civilization.
Another book and film of the same genre is American Psycho, also from early 20th century and with a substantial societal critique about a superficial, capitalist and commercial society.
Parallel to serial killers, zombies have even become a popular feature of the modern horror genre.
“Maybe zombie movies are more about the fear of the destruction of civilization, our fear of terrorism and climate change for example. Some philosophers argue this”, says Rickard Karlsson.
Even vampires are back in vogue, however now they are represented in a lighter form and usually not amid the horror genre.
“Vampires have actually been present all along. But what is new is that they are now more human-like. The book and the movie Twilight and the TV series True Blood is an example of a new spin on the vampire gestalt. A general tendency is that now we take a horror gestalt and modify it, sometimes via comedy or parody.
Why are people attracted to horror, exposing themselves to fear?
“One psychoanalytic theory is based on the fact that we want a way of dealing with taboos such as violence and incest, to keep them at a comfortable distance.”
Rickard Karlsson doesn’t have a favourite when it comes to horror novels, he thinks there are many that are really, really good. But if he is forced to choose then it is Bram Stoker's 19th century novel Dracula.
“It is an underrated book, extremely well written, exciting and evocative.”
Among female horror writers he singles out the American Anne Rice.
“She has penetrated a larger audience and written a series of novels, the first book entitled Interview with a Vampire, which also became films.
The autumn course called Horror Literature is given by the Department of Culture and Communication, IKK. It is part-time and is equivalent to 7.5 points.
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Last updated: 2013-05-07