Date(s) - Wed. Oct. 26, 2011 - Wed. Nov. 16, 2011
7:00 pm GMT - 10:00 pm GMT

Blue Sunshine



Wednesdays, October 26th  & November 2nd, 9th, and 16th

 “…the “otherness” of children… is that which is repressed within ourselves, its expression therefore hated in others…” (Robin Wood, 1985: 200).

“Insatiability for blood is almost too perfect a metaphor for the amorphous tyrants children can be” (John Calhoun, 2009: 27).

This course interrogates the figure of the child that, as Robin Wood (1985) reminds us, has “figured prominently in horror film as the monster or its medium (202).” This figure—embodied as “innocent” baby, child, or teenager somehow gone wrong—operates as much more than simply an inspirer of terror in this context; it exposes collective anxieties about ourselves: our beliefs, our environment, our desires, and our futures. Rather than following a chronological path, the trajectory of “Creepy Kids” follows the stages of age and development of our contemporary understandings of “normal” infancy, childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, and will explore the cultural significance of the child in horror films through readings, lectures, screenings and (most importantly) discussion. While Calhoun (2009) tells us that “there’s nothing like a little monster to inspire terror among grown-ups,” creepy kids will investigate the complexities of that dread (27). Issues related to gender, race, class, sexuality and (of course) age are crucial here, and we’ll discuss the interconnectedness of all of them—and more—each week we meet.


1. Creepy Kids: the Birth of the Terrible
Lecture/Discussion: Age, the “figure of the child,” maternity, mom, family…and horror
Screening: It’s Alive! (1974)

2. Creepy Kids: (Not so) Malevolent Little Creatures
Discussion/Lecture: “Little children,” “community,” race, class…and horror
Screening: Village of the Damned (1960)

3. Creepy Kids: The Evil Innocent(s)
Lecture/Discussion: Family bonds/parenting, “innocence” and “purity”…and horror
Screening: The Children

4. Creepy Kids: Never Trust Anyone Under 20
Discussion/Lecture: Adolescence, rurality, contemporary moral panics…and horror
Screening: Eden Lake

Bussing, Sabine. Aliens in the Home: the Child in Horror Fiction. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1987.
Calhoun, John. “Childhood’s End: Let the Right One In and Other Deaths of Innocence.” Cineaste. Winter 2009. 27-31.
Crane, Jonathan Lake. Terror and the Everyday Life: Singular Moments in the History of the Horror Film. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1994.
Pinedo, Isabel Cristina. “Postmodern Elements of the Contemporary Horror Film.” Journal of Film and Video. Volume 48, Numbers ½ (Spring-Summer 1996): 17-31.
Sobchack, Vivian. “Bringing it all Back Home: Family Economy and Generic Exchange.” The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film. Barry Keith Grant, ed. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996: 143-163.
Williams, Tony. Hearths of Darkness: The Family in the American Horror Film. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996.
Williams, Tony. “Trying to Survive on the Darker Side: 1980s Family Horror.” The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film. Barry Keith Grant, ed. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996:164-180.
Wood, Robin. “An Introduction to the American Horror Film.” Movies and Methods. Volume 2. Bill Nichols, ed. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985: 195-220.

Instructor: Candis Steenbergen
Candis cut her horror teeth at an early age, sneaking scary books off her dad’s bookshelf and reading by flashlight late into the night. She graduated to slasher films, B-movies and creature-features shortly thereafter. She received her PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Concordia in 2009, and has been a lecturer at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute of Women’s Studies since 2002, teaching classes on feminism and popular culture, girls and girlhoods, deviant bodies, postfeminism and marxist analysis. She also teaches courses revolving around issues of representation, power and the media in the Humanities department at John Abbott College.