Requirements & Policy

Required Texts:

1) How to Read a Film: Movies, Media, and Beyond (4th edition) by James Monaco;

2) Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture by Kendall R. Phillips;

3) Additional required and supplemental reading will be available via e-reserve and/or download in PDF format from the course site.

Also Required: Subscription to Netflix (4 rentals at a time preferred).

Course Policy
According to the Baruch College ATTENDANCE policy (Undergraduate Bulletin, p. 41),  “All students are required to attend every session of their courses.  If a freshman or sophomore is absent in excess of twice the number of class sessions per week, the instructor must give the student a WU grade, which counts as an F.  The instructor may give a junior or senior a WU grade (the equivalent of an F) for excessive absences.  The WU grade may be given by the instructor at any time.”

Absences should only be for illnesses and family emergencies. Please come to class on time. Late arrivals are disruptive and distracting – don’t bother coming to class if you are going to be more than 20 minutes late.

I expect everyone to have completed ALL of the assigned READING and viewing by the start of each class session, and to be prepared to discuss it in class. For a schedule of readings, consult the course calendar (below).  This class is relatively reading-heavy (about 20-30pp a night) particularly early in the semester, so make sure that you can handle your responsibilities. We can only have interesting, engaging, and productive class sessions if everyone does the required reading. Most of our reading is quite demanding and can be very difficult at times. If you don’t understand something you’ve read, it is not necessarily your fault.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what you’ve read. Your classmates will probably thank you for it. There are no trivial or stupid questions.

VIEWING: Make sure that you watch all of the required films – even if you’ve seen them before.  A second or third viewing will likely lead you to new insights. Most, if not all, of the required and recommended films are available on DVD from Netflix or for streaming or download via Netflix,, Hulu, or one of several other streaming services online. (Visit to locate movies legally available online for streaming or download.) Baruch’s library also has a large selection of films that can be checked out for use inside the library. Every Tuesday at 6pm, I will screen one required film in either the honors lounge, the screening room at MHC, or in room 323 in the Annex building. While the films we will watch at the screeings are required, the screenings themselves are optional. If you don’t attend a screening, I will expect you to have seen the screened film prior to the next class session.

The Baruch College brochure on Academic Honesty defines PLAGIARISM as follows:

Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writing as your own:

  • Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes.
  • Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging them.
  • Using information that is not considered common knowledge without acknowledging the source.
  • Failure to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.

Plagiarism on any assignment will result in an F for the course, not just the assignment. In addition, I am required by College policy to submit a report of suspected academic dishonesty (plagiarism) to the Dean of Students office.  This report becomes part of your permanent file.

Familiarize yourself with methods of avoiding unintentional plagiarism when quoting or paraphrasing another’s work.  We will discuss these in class. You should also take the Newman Library’s interactive tutorial on writing and avoiding plagiarism at

Requirements and Grades
Your grade will be based on a midterm paper, a final project, an in-class group presentation, several short response papers and lower-stakes assignments, and class participation. In addition, you will be required to post regular reflections on movies and readings to a course blog:  You will likewise need to comment on the posts of your fellow classmates. We will work out a posting rotation in class.  Your writing on our blog should adhere to the conventions of standard written English (we will discuss this in class) but will not be graded on surface concerns like spelling and grammar – I am more concerned with the thoughtfulness of your posts than with surface issues.

Download the posting schedule here.

PRESENTATIONS: Each presentation should be between 20-30 minutes in length and will serve as an introduction to that session’s readings and films. The presentations should engage the issues raised by the reading and will, depending on the particular topic, offer more detailed readings of individual scenes, shots or entire films.  When appropriate, the group will be responsible for exploring connections between the films discussed in the reading and comparable or related contemporary films. The most successful presentations will be well planned and thoroughly researched, and will include handouts, slides, or other visual aids. The group presenting will be responsible leading the discussion on the day of the presentation.

Make sure that you know the people with whom you will be presenting and be sure to work closely with them. Your grade for the presentation will be a group grade — that is, all of the group members will receive the same grade. The grade they receive will depend on the quality of the presentation as a whole. Each member’s presence and participation is crucial to the entire group. If you don’t know who’s in your group or when and on what you are presenting, be sure to ask me.  Remember also that presentations are required and cannot be made up.  If you are absent on the day of your presentation, you will unnecessarily burden your groupmates and will seriously hurt your grade the course.

Both the MIDTERM and the FINAL PROJECT are required and cannot be made up.  If you are absent on the day of the exam or do not hand the final project in on time, you will not pass the course.

Your final grade will be calculated according to the following percentages:

Midterm paper (5-7pp): 20%
Final project (video + 7-10pp paper): 30%
Group Presentation: 20%
Other assignments (short papers, in-class writing): 15%
Participation (in class & on online, incl. blog posts): 15%