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Get the skinny behind what’s scary

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By Bonnie Gordon

Why are we so fascinated with monsters, ghosts and vampires?  Folk tales are as stuffed with scary beings as modern movies, TV series and novels.

Dr. Mickey Marsee will explore this question in the UNM-LA summer class, “The Monster Within: Monsters and Vampires in Fiction and Movies.” The three-credit class will meet from noon-2 p.m. Mondays starting June 7 for eight weeks. It will also be offered in the fall. Students may audit the course or take it for credit.

In conjunction with the class, a free scary film will be shown from 6-8 p.m. each Thursday in the UNM-LA Lecture Hall inside the Student Center.  

There is no need to be enrolled in the class to attend the movie. The first film is “Nosferatu (1922, not rated) on June 10.

Scary stories balance people’s fear of what is out there in the night with the attraction of the “bad boy” figure who breaks all the rules, Marsee said.

“We’ll explore what part of the monstrous is ingrained in our own humanity,” Marsee said. “Where are the lines between the human and the monstrous?”

The monster is an outsider in the world, and since people often feel like outsiders themselves, monsters can evoke empathy as well as fear, Marsee said.

Changes in science and technology have been generating monsters since Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein.”

Creatures from outer space, clones and robots function as the monsters in science fiction. The class will explore these modern demons as well as classic literary monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula.

“Modern monsters have their roots in the classics,” Marsee said. “We will use a concept that fascinates students to dig into the classic monster texts.”

Check the UNM-LA Web site at www.la.unm.edu for listings of the weekly movie.

The public may also call 661-4691 for information about the movie of the week and for information on the summer schedule and registration information.

Call 662-0332 for help with registration.