Scary lessons at UTSA

The zombie craze has “infected” many UTSA students. In the fall, UTSA offers a course called Horror Text and Theory-where students explore many popularized horror films and books available-exclusively to English seniors and honors students. What’s on the syllabus, you might ask? Only one of the biggest zombie shows that’s on cable! That’s right-“The Walking Dead” is one of the topics for discussion.

Many of the students in the Horror Text and Theory course say that the class has opened their minds to the world of horror film culture. English major Mandy Newell says, “I wanted to stop being a wuss and try to watch these movies, so I signed up for the class.” On watching horror movies, she says, “It’s always more fun to watch them at night.”

While some students feel that a zombie apocalypse is the least of the world’s problems, English major Taryn Frisceec, who recently went through a zombie-shooting course at San Antonio’s Tactical Safety Institute, says that if the horrific event were to happen, she would be ready. “If I had a rifle and there was a zombie apocalypse happening, there’s a 17 out of 20 chance that I will shoot you in the head.

“I always really enjoyed watching horror films and the idea of being scared. I thought this class would be a really fun exploration of looking at horror stories,” Frisceec says.

UTSA assistant professor Dr. Kinitra Brooks, who calls herself a “die-hard fan of horror fiction,” says, “I didn’t expect the class to be full. I didn’t think there were weirdos like me who liked that kind of stuff.”

Brooks, who also went through the zombie shooting course, has been studying horror for quite some time. On the subject of the evolution of the zombie in horror films, she feels that our perception of zombies has definitely changed. “In the beginning, it was about the voodoo zombie, and now it has changed to the slow-or in some cases, fast-walking zombie.”

She believes that the popularity of zombies in film has created a new image of horror and plays on our fears in modern society. “Now with the term ‘being infected,’ zombies these days are caused by some type of ooze or radiation,” Brooks says. “I have no idea why zombies got popular, but now it’s everywhere.”