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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Monsters and Religion in Contemporary Film and Fiction

This module will explore the many ways that current film and fiction embody the various figures of the monster and how they reflect societal beliefs and attitudes, particularly those concerning religion.


Beginning with an overview of the monster and its place in religion, the course will move through to the present day and see how the current cultural fascination with monsters indicates our own need to explore aspects of faith and identity.

The course will begin by looking at ‘traditional' monster texts such as Dracula and Frankenstein and examine what they reveal about contemporary religion and society. Moving on, the module will look at films such as I am Legend and Interview with the Vampire to consider how the monster has moved from ‘outsider' to a more sympathetic figure. We will also consider the resurgence of monsters in popular culture in the late 80s/early 90s and the inclusion of humour as a narrative trope. 

The main focus of the module will be texts from the last 10 years, examining how political and social events, particularly the events of 9/11, have had a significant impact on how religion and monsters are used and understood. We will use popular television shows True Blood, Being Human, films such as Underworld, and literature including The Strain and Twilight, to explore how and why the line between good and evil has become steadily more blurred in these more recent texts.


Date: Monday evenings, starting 28 January 2013
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Duration: 12 meetings


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