Skip to Main Content
Chico State

Monsters in Film

By Asa Simon Mittman, Professor, Art and Art History Department

I’m an art historian and I study monsters. When I picked my area of research, I wanted to work on something exciting, and what’s better than man-eating, fire-breathing, shape-shifting, giant, magical, horrifying, terrifying monsters?  For several years I’ve wanted to teach a course on monster movies.  The hard part of putting the class together is choosing the movies, not because there are too few but because there are far, far too many good ones.

This Winter Intersession, I’ll finally get to offer the course as ARTH 400:  Monsters in Film. In this course, we’ll watch a great range of films, stretching as far back as Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922) the first (and seriously creepy) film adaptation of Dracula. We will see some of the classics from the golden age of Hollywood like Frankenstein (Whale, 1931) and Red Scare films of the 50s, like THEM! (Douglas, 1954). These can be emotional and exciting, but are rarely actually horrifying for current audiences. For that, we will turn to Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968 and 1990) and Alien (Scott, 1979).

The whole course will be online, so you can take it wherever you are, as long as you have a good Internet connection. All the films will be downloadable, and I’ll record brief intro lectures for each one.  Students will watch monster movies and write film reviews.

Take the course, watch a ton of great films, write some interesting pieces, and, occasionally, feel your skin crawl.