Part I. 50 pts. (2 x 25) Please write on TWO  of the following three genres. PLEASE NOTE: Each question is linked to a video clip. You will find the video clips on Canvas in the module labeled “temp” right under the syllabus. a) Action. The video clip from Mission Impossible III [ MI3 ] exemplifies the Action genre in a number of respects. Please unpack the various ways in which the video serves to illustrate or typify the genre. Be concrete and detailed in fleshing out connections – don’t assume obvious familiarity with either the video, the film as a whole, or the elements/aspects of the genre highlighted in lecture and readings. Spell out what applies and why. Demonstrate comprehension of concepts and conventions. Whether or not relevant here, bear in mind that, as a general rule of thumb, such analysis should involve considering not just what lines up as expected but also what (if any) elements or aspects may call for qualification, nuancing, or supplementary material (i.e. not apparent through the clip alone). In the assigned readings, Bordwell and Tasker both mention an interesting similarity between Action films and those of another genre. Briefly – What is the other genre, and what is the basis of comparison? b) The Western. The video clip is from a classic Western Shane (1953), directed by George Stevens. The narrative revolves around an outsider hero (not seen in this clip) who comes to the aid of small group of homesteaders trying to establish a farm in the face of hostility from a powerful cattle rancher competing for land and water. This is obviously a Western film, but why? How does the clip demonstrate elements and aspects of the Western genre? Discuss whatever pertains, perhaps relating to iconography, thematics, narrative underpinnings, etc. In addition to unpacking what the clip demonstrates clearly, please also qualify or nuance where helpful. What might be some key dimensions or variables that you may not be able to address using this clip alone, but which you’ve ascertained from the three Westerns screened in this class (The Dawn Rider; 7 Men from Now; Unforgiven) and assigned reading? c) Film Noir. Out of the Past is a film on every critic’s list of quintessential examples of the genre or cycle. What in this clip illustrates features commonly associated with Film Noir? Focus first on what you can say looking at this clip alone. Point to concrete ingredients or details, using correct terminology and explaining what is at issue. You have viewed this film in its entirety, so please also discuss why you think Out of the Past holds a prominent place as an encapsulation of the genre or cycle. How does it behave like a quintessential Noir? Film noir is clearly different from all the other genres we’ve studied in one clear respect. How so? It also shares qualities or emphases with certain other genres – in terms of what types of conventions factor most significantly in how we identify it as a genre. Please discuss. As above, you may wish to touch on key dimensions or issues concerning the genre that are difficult to address using just this clip or title. Part II. 50 pts. Our study of Horror has tried to illuminate several areas of inquiry: What is a horror film? What sorts of elements or conventions distinguish it? What might we identify as its main types or subgenres? What makes something a horrible monster? How have scholars understood or approached the meaning, significance, or basic underpinnings of Horror? What are some of the lingering problems or point of disagreement? In this context, Drag Me to Hell is both a rich work and a challenging or complex one. What makes it a Horror film? What sub-type does it represent, or if it represents a kind of hybrid of elements, how so? What do you think Robin Wood would likely say about the film? How well does it plug into his conceptual scheme? Does the film highlight the relevance of his approach, or does it show up certain weakness or shaky premises, or both? Likewise, how does the film interface with Noel Carroll’s arguments and emphases regarding the boundaries and nature and mechanics of Horror? Your job here is two-fold. Using concrete details from the film, a successful analysis will shed light on how Drag Me to Hell applies, or perhaps does not easily correspond to, the critical categories, concepts, and arguments we have encountered. At the same time, the exercise asks you to carefully summarize and demonstrate comprehension of the core arguments and approaches we have examined. Even though we have all viewed the film, read the materials, and assimilated lecture materials, please don’t take this for granted. As you undertake the process of summarizing the arguments and approaches and applying/evaluating them in relation to Drag Me to Hell, imagine that you are giving a briefing to a smart and curious friend or relative coming to the topic cold, unfamiliar with the readings and lectures, and maybe having seen the film a while ago, but memory of it is rather foggy. How much should you write? I am always reluctant to specify any particular word count. You should write as much as you feel you need to address the questions effectively, bearing in mind the obvious time constraints. Try to divide up your time in accordance with the percentages of the questions: half the test for the two shorter answers/discussions in part 1, the other half for the broadagner mult-part discussion of Horror.
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