FT 08-J Survival Horror: I am Legend to Resident Evil
Lon A. Porter, Jr., Department of Chemistry
You and a small group of friends are suddenly isolated and confronted by horrific circumstances beyond your control or understanding. Unprepared, low on supplies, and on the verge of mental/physical breakdown, you must somehow fight and escape to safety. In this seemingly hopeless situation, where the fallibility of human nature is amplified, only decisive action and resourcefulness will allow you to fend off the seemingly endless enemies that hunt you. This is survival horror, an immensely popular subgenre of fiction, which critiques the human condition and illusion of safety provided by modern society. Although it is a largely contemporary style of storytelling, survival horror is rooted in classical horror and science fiction. Beyond numerous novels and short stories, survival horror elements are prevalent in film and games (both electronic and board games).
Students will explore several examples of survival horror in the form of short stories, novels, films, and games in order to identify the defining characteristics of the subgenre, while revealing and deconstructing the social commentary and themes central to each work. Course assignments and activities are aimed to help students develop critical reading, writing, discussion, and oral presentation skills that are essential to success at Wabash College. For example, students will form small peer reading and writing groups. In addition, the class will host a survival horror film festival in October, where small student groups will introduce each film and moderate an audience discussion at its conclusion. The class will collaborate to create a survival horror wiki (i.e. Wikipedia). As a final assignment, students will work to craft original short stories that will be compiled into a publication for distribution on campus. Other activities may include a behind the scenes tour of Indianapolis haunted house attractions and a Halloween community service project.
Among the survival horror work we will explore are: (Texts) Richard Matheson’s, I am Legend, Stephen King’s, The Mist, Scott Smith’s The Ruins, and Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale; (Films) Pitch Black (2000), Alien (1979), Evil Dead 2 (1987), John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982); (Games) the Resident Evil series, BioShock, Last Night on Earth, Zombies.w