Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween on SpeechTechie! (Horror Film Fest)

It's Halloween week(s) here, and time for some resources to use around one of the kids' favorite times of year!

Every Fall, the 5th grades at my school did a study of the horror genre. Not Stephen King or Saw or anything, more like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, etc. Kids also would write a horror piece at the conclusion of the unit. Some years in, it occurred to me that it would be a great opportunity to target genre conventions and story structure, so the teachers and I planned a "Horror Film Fest." I scoured the 'net looking for short films that fit the genre but that didn't end up with someone in a bloody heap or anything graphic! We ended up holding "screenings" where a group of kids would come and view their assigned clip, and we'd analyze it using a story grammar (Marker) organizer and list horror elements that were in the clip ,using a concept map as an idea bank. The following week, the students would "present" the clip to the class with a descriptive teaser, using character-setting-kickoff and no spoilers and then explain why the clip fits in the horror genre. It was always a lot of fun, even though we'd always get a few "that wasn't scarrrrry..." annoying comments (quickly squashed).

I'm sure by now there are more clips out there, but here are some that we used:

Devil's Tramping Ground (I'd use The Banshee and Maco Lights)
Blood Syrup
The Big Bed
Hay Fever
Thriller (just the opening scene)

Enjoy, hopefully these might make a fun and motivating story structure lesson for you (oh, I mean scarrrrry!!!)


  1. Thanks Deb! It was always fun to execute. That seems like the wrong verb in this context mwahaha!