Dead Things & The Art of Fear

a Discovery Core Experience

BCORE 104 (Arts & Humanities)

About This Course

Through analysis of horror stories and films, this class allows students to investigate the reasons we are drawn to the unknown and the frightening. Selected readings and films will range in period from the Gothic Horror to present day Horror. In addition to historical investigations of the time period and circumstances in which the works were written, performed, or filmed, student groups will create new works of horror that speaks the their own fears.

Why You Should Take this Class

Whether you’re an avid Horror fan, or brand new to the genre, the class is for you. If you don’t have an understand of the river of blood (aka, the development of horror as a genre), the class will cover that–from Graveyard Poets of the 1700s to The Walking Dead of the 2020s. But, more importantly, allows you to creatively play with the genre itself. For their final projects, student groups have created Monster Survival Guides, Radio Ghost Stories, and even written and filmed short Horror films. The class gives you the foundations of Horror and also gives you freedom to contribute your best screams to the mix.

What’s the Best Horror Film Out There?

Great question. There are so many different kinds of Horror that I’d have to give you a list. If we’re talking Comedy Horror, then Shawn of the Dead. There’s a lot of fantastic horror coming from Japan–often featuring ghosts with a grudge, but my favorite import is the Swedish Let the Right One In. Pan’s Labyrinth is a standout in the dark fantasy horror subgenre; and Alien in the sci-fi horror. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with classics like The Exorcist, Psycho, and Night of the Living Dead!

Fun Fact

Did you know that the classic vampire film Nosferatu (1922) was a direct adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula–except they didn’t get the rights to adapt it (they changed all the names in a weak attempt to not get sued). All copies of the film were ordered destoyed. But luckily a few copies had been shipped to America where the film premiered several years later.

Professor Gavin Doyle (he/him/his)


  • JD, Law, Loyola Law School-Los Angeles
  • MFA, Theatre Performance, University of Louisville
  • Certificate in African-American Theatre, Theatre Performance, University of Louisville
  • BA, Biology, Roanoke College
  • BA, Theatre, Roanoke College


All stories end in the mystery of what comes next. Horror fans are those brave enough to address the unknown.

Professor Doyle