Topic: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

I am curious as to whether or not anyone beside myself thinks that our beloved genre deserves to be studied in the English classroom. Should we read Poe, Lovecraft, King, and Barker in a public school setting? Are there some author's whose works should not be taught?
Let me know as I am trying to get the first Gunslinger novel brought into my classroom and I am meeting with some resistance. I beleive that horror is as viable an art form as Shakespeare (and I do love my Hamlet, ladies and gentlemen). What are your thoughts as parents or students?

Last edited by gothiczen (2009-07-15 12:14:16)

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

This is a great question, I would love to see it happen, At least for kids 14+ Clive Barker's Novels should be put in classrooms, people need to read and understand the depths of hell as of the books that they taught us from,  A Tale of Two Cities for example.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

I read Poe in high school.  Lovecraft may be a bit of a stretch due to his really-out-there stories.  King, Barker, Lumley- probably not.  Those 3, hard to explain, just don't seem right in an English class.  What do they bring that other authors do not, minus the horror.  Don't get me wrong, I love all of them and I think I have read all their books (might be missing a few of Barkers).  As per your example, the Gunslinger is basically a western with giant crabs chopping off fingers.  Then there is the argument of Azimov, Heinlein, Feist, Crichton, Arthur C. Clarke.  There are many, many great books out there.  The problem is trying to decide which one would best enhance the knowledge of the students' grasp of the English language and the narrative form.

(Dang, I sound like a stupid professor.)

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

myersfan72 wrote:

This is a great question, I would love to see it happen, At least for kids 14+ Clive Barker's Novels should be put in classrooms, people need to read and understand the depths of hell as of the books that they taught us from,  A Tale of Two Cities for example.

Interesting school you went to, eh?  big_smile

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

I suppose you could say that, I was more set on football and girls back then.. lol

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

We were assigned  "Something Wicked this way Comes"...in grade 10 or 11...I think that qualifies, and is a very well-written book...I think horror Lit gets specifically ignored because its horror and people simply won't take it seriously...a shame really...

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

I remember reading that book in High School, it really was a work of art.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

I actually do use Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. It ties in nicely with Macbeth.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

I think it does but like everyone said with selected authors some really should not be in the classroom. For example I absolutely LOVE Richard Laymon but def. not appropriate for teenagers, just on the basis on some of the stuff I have seen, then again... guys, boobs, blood n guts, they might like that lol

Lovecraft and Poe should be discussed in more rooms but I don't think it will ever come to fruition.

I remember back in school I loved horror novels and I started writing stories based around that genre, but the looks the teachers and students gave! They really in my opinion do not see the added layer of depth that this genre has to offer. It's a nice thought, probably will never happen but we can hope.

I believe there are so many horror novelists out there in young form just waiting to be discovered, if only they would not be so blase about the horror industry in schools. Great thread Gothic! smile

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

we read Poe, Frankenstein & Dracula sometime in school - don't remember when - a lot has happened since the invention of the wheel LOL

I do remember reading I Am Legend in Senior HS English, but I had an exceptionally cool teacher

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

Thanks BTK, you reminded me to commend Gothic on a very interesting post.

Good job, G.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

I am an out loud and proud Horror lover in my classroom. It is funny, but some parents have complained about Poe.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

gothiczen wrote:

I am an out loud and proud Horror lover in my classroom. It is funny, but some parents have complained about Poe.

Not funny at all.  Fahrenheit 451 got banned in a lot of school back in the 70s(?) in a moment of total insanity.  Complaining about the 'Anita Blake' books in the schoolroom I'd get (3 way sex including a furry midget?!?!?!!).  Poe?  I bet if you asked the parents they would say that they never even read Poe. 

You know what is rather interesting?  Horror fans seem to be very avid readers.  And not just horror, but all types of books, including non-fiction.  I wonder what the connection is.  The level of imagination, the ability to think about things outside the norm?

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

My first high school English reading assignment was The Lottery, and I loved it!  I thought it was such a twisted story, and fit in nicely with my tastes.

My kid was exposed to some Poe in middle school, and he liked it.  He kept coming home to tell me "oh, now I get it!" in regards to stuff I talk about.  That was pretty cool.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

At the university i go to there is a horror literature class.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

I feel so far ahead of the curve. I read The Lottery for my sixth grade English class, read a bunch of Bradbury and King short stories in my 7th and 8th grade english classes, and Poe throughout junior high and high school.

I also had this awesome class called Lit and Film, we read more King for that class. And in my Sc-Fi lit class, we read some Lovecraft.

My schools fucking owned.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

I had a SciFi/Horror class when I was in high school, a normal one and an advanced one....in the normal one we watched both versions of The Thing and then studied the Universal monster ones.....then in the advanced we watched Hellraiser, Signs and Texas Chain Saw Massacre.....of course we watched other movies and read books but those were all scifi related like Dune and Brave New World

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

Oh man, Brave New World and Dune are fucking awesome.

In fact, did you know that The Matrix drew their cue from a very tiny passage in Dune? there is a passage that talked about a point in the Dune universe's history when intelligent machines had taken over and enslaved mankind and there was a subsequent war when the humans freed themselves.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

Well, to go back to the original post, no way would I call the Gunslinger horror. It's fantasy all the way and epic at that wink
But yeah horror should be brought into the classroom, and not in a Class of 1999 way.
Anything has gotta be better than Pygmalion sad How the hell our english teacher expected us to be inspired by that I don't know. It was a hell of a step down for me from Herbert, King, Tolkein, Heilnlein and Asimov.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

Ugh... fucking Tolkein.....what a hack...

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

Aaah the voice of someone who read the hobbit and enjoyed it but got lost with LOTR lol:lol::lol:

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

The Hobbit was awesome. LoTR such pretentious and insulting.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

Whatever Tolkien might be to others, he has a special place in my heart. It was his novels, his detailed words that opened my world into writing. He propelled me into writing what I love and showed me that little bit of creativity I never knew I had. smile

Definitely a special place in my heart. http://i971.photobucket.com/albums/ae191/neisied1/heart.jpg

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

I wouldn't have a problem with him if he hadn't curbed the stories so that it wouldn't upset little kids. He pulls too many punches in LoTR. He glazes over the bad things that happens with this whole "Don't worry, everything will be okay" attitude. Aside from that, and his "merry ol' England" shtick, he's an enjoyable author. But those things really chaff my ass.

Re: Does Horror Belong in the English Classroom

When I was in High School we read alot of Poe and we read the Monkeys Paw. Thats about all of the horror we read.