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Queen Mary Summer School

British Horror and Fantasy Cinema from Dracula to Harry Potter

Credit: Stefan Rhone via Flickr,


Academic Lead: Dr Matt Jacobsen

British cinema is often celebrated for its social realism, yet has made significant and influential contributions to the worlds of horror, fantasy and science fiction. From the Gothic tradition of Dracula to nightmarish visions of London in 28 Days Later and the spectacular popular fantasies of Doctor Who and Harry Potter, this course investigates this alternative history or ‘repressed underside’ of British cinema and the ways in which these films have responded to their social and cultural production contexts.

Introducing you to a range of critical approaches to film and literature and making full use of our unique London setting, we will engage with debates on the cultural appeal and social significance of horror and fantasy, and the nature of audiences and film spectatorship. Key topics for discussion will be the depiction of London and the East End as both a landscape of fear and wonder; the representation of women, gender and sexuality in horror and fantasy; the psychoanalytic interpretation of horror and the ways through which these films engage with the history of Britain and its capital. With an emphasis on cinema, we will also compare the writing of British authors with film adaptations of their work.

2023 British Horror and Fantasy Cinema Syllabus [PDF 78KB]

Course content is subject to change.

Course aims

This course aims to:

  • provide you with knowledge of the development of British horror and fantasy cinema from the 1950s to the present
  • provide you with an understanding of the impact of social and economic contexts in Britain in the 20th century and their representation in cinema
  • give you an introduction to a wide range of critical approaches in the study of cinema and compare their effectiveness and relevance
  • provide a context in which to explore the relationship between history and film production, and an introduction to detailed analysis of films as primary sources within their social, cultural and industrial contexts
  • engender an aesthetic understanding and appreciation of British horror and fantasy cinema as well as familiarise you with the indigenous cultural and social significance of dominant visual motifs and narrative themes
  • enhance your analytical skills and your ability to write film commentaries and criticism with clarity and authority.

Teaching and learning

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, film screenings and field trips. 

Learning outcomes

You will gain:

  • an understanding of the different cultural and socio-historical contexts of British horror films
  • a range of knowledge about British horror films and film-makers, and familiarity with debates on horror and fantasy film in film studies and film history
  • an awareness of the visual and narrative properties of a range of British horror and fantasy films
  • knowledge and application of a range of methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of film.

You will be able to:

  • demonstrate an ability to analyse visual sources appropriately and accurately using a range of methods
  • demonstrate your own ability to comment on films and engage analytically with film criticism from an informed vantage point and with an appropriate critical vocabulary
  • distinguish between (and apply) a range of different theoretical approaches
  • demonstrate an understanding of how film can be used as an historical source
  • demonstrate an awareness of the complex relationships between history, culture and society
  • undertake independent research, seeking out relevant sources and research materials
  • write with clarity and authority
  • develop effective oral communication skills in class discussions.


The Queen Mary Summer School costs: £2,100 per session, which includes tuition and social programme. 

We offer a 10% discount to:

  • Students and staff from partner institutions
  • Alumni
  • Current Queen Mary students 


The cost of accommodation is £1029 per session. For further information, please visit our accommodation page.

Additional costs and course excursions

There may be additional costs for field trips, such as entry to exhibitions, which will be in the region of £30.
All reading material will be provided online, so it is not necessary to purchase any books.

Please note there is no deposit payment required for the Queen Mary Summer School.

Entry requirements

To join our Summer School, you should have completed a minimum of two semesters’ study at your home institution.

We welcome Summer School students from around the world. We accept a range of qualifications:

  • if your home institution uses the four-point Grade Point Average (GPA) scale, we usually require a 3.0 GPA
  • if your home institution uses the letter scale, you will need to have a B+

We welcome international qualifications and we consider every application individually on its academic merit. 

English language requirements

All of our courses are taught and assessed in English. If English isn’t your first language, you must meet one of the following English Language requirements in order to join

  • If you hold a degree from a majority English speaking country plus Canada you may use this degree to satisfy the English language requirements for entry, provided the degree was completed no more than 5 years before the start date of the course to which you are applying.
  • IELTS, 7 overall or higher
  • TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 100 (L22; S25; R24; W27)
  • China UEE (University Entrance Exam) -  110
  • CET 4 – 550 or CET 6 – 490
  • PTE Academic 68
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English 185 70- grade C (old marking system)
  • Applicants with an alternative qualification should check it is equivalent to the above or contact us at

How to apply

Applications are now open!

Have a question? Get in touch - one of the team will be happy to help!

Applications close 29 May 2023.


Teaching dates
Session 1: 3 July - 21 July 2023
Course hours
150 hours (of which 45 will be contact hours)
1,500 word essay (70%) Film analysis test (30%)

Apply now

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