Date(s) - Wed. Apr. 4, 2012 - Wed. Apr. 25, 2012
12:00 am GMT

Blue Sunshine

Karen Herland


The Monster in horror films carries the representational burden of its location’s social and cultural . The
broadly drawn, corrupt and irredeemable Monster becomes the screen upon which socio-cultural fears are projected. To make such a figure sexual, attractive, vulnerable or relatable is to pervert the role of the Monster, rendering it more dangerous, less easily contained. (Think about vampires such as Lestat, Angel and Spike— No, I’m not putting a Twilight reference here).

These same principles operate in the construction of stereotypes. For instance, the figure of the prostitute has long been depicted (and understood) to be unfeminine, irredeemable and polluting – a source of corruption and contagion. Thus, she becomes a monster — both in terms of fears about women’s sexuality and assumptions about ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ gendered behaviour. This course will parallel the extreme treatment of, and presentation of, the Monster in films with the representation of prostitutes and sex workers. This juxtaposition makes the underlying cultural constructions and fears at play in both contexts both more complicated, and compelling. Ultimately, the construction of the Other – both in how it serves to articulate the unacceptable, and how it is deployed to govern appropriate behaviour, will be discussed.

Week 1 – Wednesday, April 4th – Film: A FOOL THERE WAS
Week 1 Readings PDF

Jeffery Jerome Cohen, “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)”

Week 2 – Wednesday, April 11th – Film: FROM HELL
Week 2 Readings PDF
Elyssa Warkentin, “Jack the Ripper Strikes Again – The ‘Ipswich Ripper’ and the Vice Girls he Killed”
Week 3 – Wednesday, April 18th – Film: KLUTE
Week 3 Readings PDF
Christine Gledhill, “Feminism and Klute
Week 4 – Wednesday, April 25th – Film: MONSTER
Week 4 Readings PDF
Kyra Pearson, “The Trouble with Aileen Wuornos, Feminism’s ‘First Serial Killer”