Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Course for Spring

In the spring, I will be teaching a course tentatively titled Vampire, Zombies, and Apocalypses: Our Hunger for Destruction. It's for our general studies, sophomore level class in popular lit, and we'll be looking at why works on mass death and destruction are so population.

That said, this is a bleg, or at least a call for suggestions. What movies, books, graphic novels, or short stories do you think I should include in this class? These should be fiction and they should fall into the category of popular culture, though they don't necessarily have to be American or current.

Here's what I have on my list so far:

Bram Stoker, Dracula

Max Brooks, World War Z

Octavia Butler, Fledgling

P.D. James, Children of Men (I might show the movie instead)

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven

M. R. Carey, The Girl With All the Gifts

N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season

Movies: At least one of the Mad Max movies; Blood of Heroes; Let The Right One In

This is a starter list -- obviously I can't include everything here. But I want a YUUUGE list, from which I will then select six or eight books and stories, and a couple of movies.

So help me out! What am I missing? What should I include? I'm especially interested in non-American works, if anyone can hook me up with some of those!


Bardiac said...

Is there a way to include a bit of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer? (I'm not a big TV person, but friends rave about it)

And thus, we've exhausted my knowledge of anything after the Glorious Revolution.

delagar said...

I'm thinking about Buffy! It's not all that apocalyptic, though, so it may not fit.

Bardiac said...

Good point!

Anonymous said...

Well, no zombies or vampires to suggest, but as a child of the Cold War, I've always been partial to film and literature of the nuclear apocalypse. For a book, you might be interested in "A Canticle for Leibowitz."

Film offers a lot of excellent choices. How about a double-feature (serious vs. comic) of "Fail Safe" and "Dr. Strangelove"? (the latter being one of my all-time favorite films).

Also prescient during this election cycle is "Seven Days in May." It remains a nail-biter and a great discussion of the constitutional issues of governance vs. security.

And more zombie-like (with a nuclear-era twist), how about the original "Godzilla" for campy fun at the end of term?


Tree of Knowledge said...

I teach a Monsters themed class of the same level/type. I can send you my syllabus if you want, but I'll put my text list here. Not all of it will work for you because the focus isn't apocalyptic, but some will.

And you could show the Dracula episode of Buffy if you're doing Stoker, or season 7 has some apocalypse-type stuff (and I'm thinking maybe some of season 4? or it might be 5).

Le Guin, “The Wife’s Tale”
Link, “The Cinderella Game”
Carter, “The Company of Wolves”
Marie de France, The Lais of Bisclavret
Werewolf sections from The Epic of Gilgamesh; Ovid, Metamorphoses; and Petronius, Satyricon

Shelley, Frankenstein: 1818 Text
Frankenstein MD webseries (2014)

Vampire folklore from essays in Dundes, Vampire: A Casebook
Polidori, “The Vampyre”
Le Fanu, Carmilla
Stoker, Dracula
Buffy episodes: "Buffy vs. Dracula" (5.1) & "Innocence" (2.14)

Blade Runner: Theatrical Release (1982)
Firefly episode: "Bushwhacked” (3)
Serenity (2005)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Beowulf, trans. Heaney

Students chose a vampire film from a list for group presentations:
Nosferatu (1922)
Dracula (1931)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Near Dark (1987)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
Let the Right One In (2008)
Daybreakers (2009)
Byzantium (2012)
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
I’m going to add A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) next time I teach it.

delagar said...

Reed: Thank you! I had totally forgotten some of those, and I'd never heard of "Seven Days in May."

Tree! What a wonderful list! Especially the films and the Le Guin tale -- I'd forgotten that one too.

Y'all are great.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome. (And even if "Seven Days in May" doesn't fit your course theme, it's a really neat political thriller, and remains creepily relevant 50+ years after it was made. Great script, fabulous cast.)

Also FYI, I've read that the original, uncut, Japanese version of "Godzilla" (without the scenes added later with Raymond Burr) is much superior (and less campy) than the American, shorter, with-Raymond-Burr, version.

And one more film (how could I forget?): "The Day the Earth Stood Still." (original 1951 version; word on the street is to avoid the 2008 remake at all costs). Alien, robot, threat of worldwide annihilation, good-enough 1950s special effects; what's not to love?