Monsters and Their Stories: Four Classic Films

October 9, 16, 23, 30

What is a monster? What kinds of monster stories do we tell? Why are monster stories so enduringly popular? In this Halloween edition of Thursday Forum, English Professor Emeritus Terry Heller will explore these questions by focusing on four classic monster films: James Whale's "Frankenstein" (1931), Don Siegel's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956), Tod Browning's "Dracula" (1931), and Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's "King Kong" (1933).

Nearly everyone has seen at least part of each film, and some moments in them are famously embedded in our culture. Introducing one film each week, Heller will discuss some of the ways in which each of these modern fairy tales speaks to cultural problems, such as issues of personal identity and the socio-political anxieties of the period. The presentations will include viewing and discussing illustrative scenes. Participants are encouraged, but not required, to see the films in their entirety.

 


Terry Heller
Howard Hall Professor Emeritus of English