An Introduction to the European Horror Film

Course Dates: 10/01/23 - 07/02/23
Time: 19:45 - 21:30
Location: Online
Explore European horror cinema from its origins in German Expressionism to contemporary cinemas, such as the 'new wave of French horror'. We will consider the ways in which European horror cinema both shares and 'reconfigures' the iconography of classical horror, and its tendency to stress surrealist, dreamlike qualities, all of which has encouraged a distinct set of styles and thematic concerns.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00

This course has now finished

Course Code: HF230

Finished Tue, eve, 10 Jan - 07 Feb '23

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online film studies course looks at developments in European horror cinema from the 1920s to the present day. It will look at the rise of the European horror film as an aspect of German Expressionist cinema (e.g., The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Robert Wiene, 1919; Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horrors, F. W. Murnau, 1922), its association with surrealism (e.g., Vampyr, Carl Dreyer, 1932; Eyes Without a Face, Georges Franju, 1960), and the work of key directors including Mario Bava (Black Sunday/Mask of the Demon, 1960, Black Sabbath, 1963, Blood and Black Lace, 1964), Dario Argento (Deep Red, 1975, Suspiria, 1977, Tenebrae, 1982), Luci Fulchi (City of the Living Dead, 1980, The Beyond, 1981, The House by the Cemetery, 1981), and Jess Franco (The Awful Dr. Orlof, 1962). We will also be thinking about the erotic as a theme in European horror cinema (e.g., Daughters of Darkess, Harry Kümel, 1971; Fascination, Jean Rollin, 1979), and recent developments, such as the 'new wave of French horror' and 'new French extremity' cinema (e.g., Them, David Moreau and Xavier Palud, 2006), along with high profile films such as The Orphanage (J. A. Bayona, 2006) and Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006).

Central to the course will be a consideration of European horror cinema as a distinct, differentiated horror experience to that of American and British traditions of the genre. We will consider a range of films and directorial styles, key themes and critical accounts of European horror cinema.

The tutor will provide notes for the course and advise on further reading and viewing.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• Expressionism and European horror cinema
• Surrealism and European horror cinema
• The 'fantastique' and European horror cinema
• European horror cinema, genre, and associated genres (e.g., the Italian 'giallo' film)
• Key films and directors in European horror cinema
• Critical accounts of European horror cinema.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Identify and evaluate key movements associated in European horror cinema
• Describe the function of genre in European horror cinema
• Identify and evaluate key films and directors in European horror cinema
• Evaluate a range of critical accounts of European horror cinema.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is suitable for all levels and you do not require any particular skills - just an enthusiasm for film and discussing film. The course will provide an introduction to the subject but will also be useful for those wishing to build on existing knowledge in the subject area.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Screenings of extracts from films, talks by the tutor, reading materials, small and large group discussions. It might also be a good idea to see what you can find out about the subject in advance of the class (see the films mentioned above) but this is not essential.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will require a pen and paper (or laptop/device) but the tutor will provide all other materials such as handouts. The tutor will show extracts from films and you do not have to obtain them.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other Film Studies courses on our website at, Culture and Writing/Film Studies.

Jon Wisbey

Jon Wisbey teaches film at City Lit and Morley College. He was for many years a committee member and vice-chair of Chelmsford Film Club, screening contemporary and classic world cinema releases. He has an MA in Film Studies from the University of East Anglia. His teaching focuses on classical and post-classical Hollywood, European cinema, British cinema, film noir and horror cinema.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.