History of Horror Films [In-Person Only]

Tuesdays (and one Monday) in October, from 6:30–9:30pm
Oct. 3 (Tu.), 10 (Tu.), 16 (Mo.), 24 (Tu.), 31 (Tu.)
Oct. 24 class has been canceled.

Sliding scale, pay-what-you-can tuition from $10–100

Duration: 3h
Instructor: Isabella Price


An in-depth, 5-week exploration of the fascinating and chilling world of horror films. Designed for adult learners, this course traces the evolution of horror cinema, from its origins to modern-day classics. Through a combination of lectures, screenings, discussions, and analysis, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical, cultural, and artistic aspects of horror films. Emphasizing critical thinking and contextualization, this curriculum aims to engage and educate adult learners with a passion for the macabre.

Click for Accessibility Info

Ticketing, concessions, cinemas, restrooms, and our public edit lab are located on Northwest Film Forum’s ground floor, which is wheelchair accessible. All doors in Northwest Film Forum are non-motorized, and may require staff assistance to open. Our upstairs workshop room is not wheelchair accessible. (This workshop takes place in Cinema 1, our main cinema.)

The majority of seats in our main cinema are 21″ wide from armrest to armrest; some seats are 19″ wide. We are working on creating the option of removable armrests!

We have a limited number of assistive listening devices available for programs hosted in our larger theater, Cinema 1. These devices are maintained by the Technical Director, and can be requested at the ticketing and concessions counter. Also available at the front desk is a Sensory Kit you can borrow, which includes a Communication Card, noise-reducing headphones, and fidget toys.

The Forum does NOT have assistive devices for the visually impaired, and is not (yet) a scent-free venue. Our commitment to increasing access for our audiences is ongoing, and we welcome all public input on the subject!

If you have additional specific questions about accessibility at our venue, please contact our Patron Services Manager at maria@nwfilmforum.org. Our phone number (206-329-2629) is voicemail-only, but we check it often.

Made possible due to a grant from Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, in partnership with Sensory Access, our Sensory Access document presents a visual and descriptive walk-through of the NWFF space. View it in advance of attending an in-person event at bit.ly/nwffsocialnarrativepdf, in order to prepare yourself for the experience.

⚠️ Covid-19 Policies ⚠️

NWFF patrons will be required to wear masks that cover both nose and mouth while in the building. Disposable masks are available at the door for those who need them. We are not currently checking vaccination cards. Recent variants of COVID-19 readily infect and spread between individuals regardless of vaccination status.

Read more about NWFF’s policies regarding cleaning, masks, and capacity limitations here.

Course Outline

Module 1: Origins of Horror Films

Introduction to the course and the study of horror films.

  • Early influences and precursors of horror in literature, folklore, and theater.
  • Examining the birth of horror cinema: Georges Méliès, German Expressionism, and other pioneers.
  • Analysis of influential early horror films, such as Nosferatu (1922) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).


  • Nosferatu (1922)
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
  • Haxan (1922)
  • Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Module 2: Golden Age of Universal Monsters

  • Exploring the rise of Universal Studios and their iconic monster films.
  • Studying the classic monsters: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and more.
  • Analyzing the cultural impact and enduring popularity of Universal Monsters.
  • Discussion on the portrayal of societal fears and anxieties during this era.


  • Dracula (1931)
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • The Mummy (1932)
  • The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • The Wolf Man (1941)

Module 3: Hammer Horror and the Rise of International Horror

  • Understanding the rise of Hammer Film Productions and its influence on horror cinema.
  • Analyzing the distinctive style and reinvention of classic monsters by Hammer.
  • Exploring significant Hammer Horror films such as The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958).
  • Examining the cultural context of British horror and its impact on the genre.
  • Introducing the international films of Europe, Asia, and Latin America that have influenced the genre.
  • Discussing the role of international film and the culturally specific anxieties that they represent.


  • The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) – England
  • Onibaba (1964) – Japan
  • Kwaidan (1964) – Japan
  • Dracula (1931) – Mexico
  • Viy (1967) – Russia
  • Lake of the Dead (1958) – Norway
  • Black Sunday (1960) – Italy
  • Il Demonio (1967) – Italy
  • The Housemaid (1960) – Korea

Module 4: The American New Wave

  • Investigating the 1960s and 1970s as a period of innovation and experimentation in horror.
  • Analyzing the works of influential filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Roman Polanski, and George Romero.
  • Discussion on the emergence of sub-genres like psychological horror, slasher films, and zombie movies.
  • Examining groundbreaking films such as Psycho (1960), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and Night of the Living Dead (1968).


  • Psycho (1960)
  • Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Children of the Damned (1963)
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • Carrie (1976)

Module 5: Horror in the Modern Era

  • Tracing the evolution of horror in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
  • Analyzing the impact of globalization on horror cinema.
  • Examining subgenres like found footage, supernatural, and J-horror.
  • Discussing influential contemporary horror filmmakers and films.


  • 28 Days Later
  • Ringu
  • The Orphanage
  • REC
  • The Host
  • Let the Right One In
  • Train to Busan

Module 6: Social Commentary and Contemporary Themes

  • Exploring the social and cultural themes addressed in horror films
  • Analyzing horror as a vehicle for commentary on gender, race, politics, and societal issues.
  • Examining recent films that tackle contemporary concerns, such as “Get Out” (2017) and “Hereditary” (2018).
  • Discussion on the evolving role of horror in reflecting and shaping society.


  • Babadook
  • Get Out
  • Hereditary
  • Goodnight Mommy
  • His House
  • CAM
  • The Invisible Man

Module 7: Criticism, cont.

  • Censorship/Controversy
  • Racism, Homophobia, Sexism, Ableism, et al.

Isabella Price

Isabella Price

Isabella L. Price is a filmmaker, writer, podcaster, host, performer and youtuber from the PNW. She has worked on CUT’s 100 Years of Beauty series, produced a horror film burlesque live show called Nocturnal Emissions, and directed a virtual national run of Mae West’s play SEX in 2020.  Currently, she works with Langston Seattle, as the Film Programs Manager curating their Fade to Black series, focused on Black filmmakers and the Black image in media, and as the Seattle Black Film Festival Programs Manager.

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Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

206 329 2629

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