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Fall 2012

Humanities Courses:

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HUM191 - Thriller Films
Credits: 3

Catalog Description: Presents an in-depth examination of one of the most popular and elusive of film genres -the suspense thriller- by tracing its history from the early film-noir offerings to the relevant cautionary thrillers of today. Analyzes the structural terrains that comprise the genre and the various theories regarding our fascination with them. Prerequisite: completion of Genesee Community College's reading requirement.

Lecture: 3 hrs.

Course Student Learning Outcomes (CSLOs):
Upon successful completion of this course as documented through writing, objective testing, case studies, laboratory practice, and/or classroom discussion, the student will be able to:

1.Demonstrate knowledge of conventions that distinguish the thriller from other film genres, including but not limited to issues of plot, character development, dialogue, and cinematography;
2.Identify at least six sub-genres of thriller, explaining how they work and what they mean;
3.Explain the ways that thriller films create and resolve suspense, appeal to the desires and fears of the audience, and force us to examine our own morality;
4.Delineate at least five key films and directors within the genre, and how they have influenced or re-defined the definition of a thriller film.*

* This course objective has been identified as a student learning outcome that must be formally assessed as part of the Comprehensive Assessment Plan of the college. All faculty teaching this course must collect the required data and submit the required analysis and documentation at the conclusion of the semester to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.




Content Outline:
I. Perceptions and Definitions
II. The Thriller of Murderous Passion
a. Double Indemnity (1944)
b. Body Heat (1981)
III. The Political Thriller
a. Blow Out (1981)
b. Enemy of the State (1998)
IV. The Thriller of Acquired Identity
a. The Bourne Identity (2002)
b. The Amateur (1981)
V. The Psychotraumatic Thriller:
a. Spellbound (1945)
VI. The Thriller of Moral Confrontation:
a. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
b. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
VII. The Innocent-on-the-Run Thriller:
a. North by Northwest (1959)
b. No Way Out (1987)
VIII. The Thriller of Time:
a. D.O.A. (1950)
IX. The Thriller of Place:
a. Deliverance (1972)
X. The Kidnapping Thriller:
a. Taken (2008)
XI. The Thriller of Cultural Anxiety
a. Dreamscape (1984)




Effective Term: Spring 2011