Surrey University Stag


Module code: MFC3038

Module Overview

This module will study several contemporary films, such as Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017) and Us (2020), connecting them to the history of the debates around the concept of film genre. The principal genre focus will be mainstream horror films with a secondary focus on the subgenre of the slasher film. Freudian, Lacanian, socio-historical and ecocritical scholarship on genre will be discussed. Classic genre films explored will include Friedrich Murnau’s Nosferatu (1919), Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), and Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), while more recent films will include Mary Hannon’s American Psycho (2000), Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook (2013) and Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe (2019).

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

HUGHES Helen (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: P303

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 20

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 70

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 50

Captured Content: 8

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content will depend on the genre studied. The below indicates the module as currently taught:

  • Defining horror and its subgenres

  • Psychoanalytic approaches to horror 

  • Social historical approaches to horror

  • Horror films discussed include: Vampyr (1932); Psycho (1960); The Shining (1980); Ringu (1998); Paranormal Activity (2009)

  • Defining Science Fiction

  • Science fiction and the space age

  • Science fiction and philosophy

  • Science fiction films discussed include: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Solaris (1972), The Matrix (1999), Interstellar (2014)

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework PRESENTATION 50
Coursework ESSAY 50

Alternative Assessment

Recorded presentation or oral exam (20%)

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to discover, explore and interrogate a film genre and to express this knowledge verbally and in writing.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Presentation – during teaching weeks

  • Essay (3000 words) – exam period

Formative assessment and feedback

  • Verbal feedback to interpretation of films in weekly sessions

  • Short formative writing assessment, written and verbal feedback provided

  • Essay outline (feedback provided)

Module aims

  • Advance students¿ historical, formal and industrial understanding of genre
  • Develop higher skills in critical cultural and textual analysis
  • Enable students to explore one genre in depth

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Characterise the nature and development of a genre KCPT
002 Situate a specific genre in the relevant historical, geographical, cultural, social, theoretical and industrial contexts KCPT
003 Critique and question the concept of generic classification of film KCPT
004 Write critically and analytically about a specific genre within the above contexts KCPT
005 Present verbally complex ideas about a specific genre within the above context KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Provide students with the necessary knowledge and analytical skills to be able to understand and analyse film within a generic classification

  • Encourage students to critique and question genre classification

  • Help student develop and refine their written and oral skills of film analysis, theorisation and critique

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lecturer presentations using illustrative materials

  • Seminar discussion

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MFC3038

Other information

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the International Engagement Office email:

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2022/3 academic year.