Creating the Mystery-thriller to teach cinema studies and genre analysis.


  • Alexis Pulos Northern Kentucky University


Genre, mystery, film analysis


This syllabus if for an upper division undergraduate course in Electronic Media and Broadcasting (EMB) and is taught face-to-face, one day a week, every semester. The course typically has 24 students enrolled, the majority of which are EMB majors and minors but many students from Cinema Studies also take the course. Because the EMB program is focused on production-based skills, this course serves as one of the only upper division media analysis courses for the program. In this class students will explore the fundamental structures of the mystery as we work to examine the construction, purpose, implication ans transformations of the genre.

Author Biography

Alexis Pulos, Northern Kentucky University

Assistant Professor


Altman, R. (1984). A semantic/syntactic approach to film genre. Cinema Journal, 23(3), 6-18.

Barthes, R. (1970). S/Z. Richard Miller (Trans.). New York, NY: Hill and Wang

Bould, M., Glitre, K. & Tuck, G. (eds.) (2009). Neo-noir. New York, NY: Columbia University Press

Cogdill, O. H. Interview with Jason Pinter The state of the crime novel. (2010). Retrieved from:

Corrigan, T. (2011). Short guide to writing about film (8th ed.). Glenview, IL: Pearson

Derry, C. (2001). The suspense thriller: Films in the shadow of Alfred Hitchcock. Jefferson, NC: McFarland

Doyle, A. C. (1994). The hound of the baskervilles (dover thrift editions). United States: Dover Publications

Ekman, I. & Lankoski, P. (2009). Hair-raising entertainment: Emotions, sounds, and structure in Silent Hill 2 and Fatal Frame (pp181-199). In Perron Bernard (ed). Horror video games: Essays on the fusion of fear and play. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Grant, B. K. (2007). Film genre: From iconography to ideology (short cuts). London, GB: Wallflower Press

Grindon, L. (2012). Cycles and clusters: The shape of film genre history. In Barry Keith Grant (ed) Film genre reader IV. Austin, TX: University of Austin Press.

Hanich, J. (2010). Cinematic emotions in horror films and thrillers: The aesthetics of pleasurable fear. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hinck, A. (2013). Framing the video essay as argument. The Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier, 1(2). Retrieved from

Leitch, T. (2001). Crime Films (Genres in American Cinema). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press

Pramaggiore M. T. and Wallis, T. (2005). Film: A critical introduction (3rd ed.). London, UK: Laurence King Publishing.

Nam, K. & Condon, J. (2010). The DIE is cast: The continuing evolution of intercultural communication’s favorite classroom exercise. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 34, pp. 81-87.

Proctor, J. (2013). Teaching the annotated video essay with Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker. SCMS Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier, 1(2). Retrieved from:

Silver, A. & Ursini, J. (2004). Film noir reader. Pomption Plains, NJ: Limelight

Wood, R. (1977). Ideology, genre, auteur. Film Comment 13(1), pp.46-51.

Wright, J. H. (2012). Genre films and the status quo. In Barry Keith Grant (ed) Film genre reader IV. Austin, TX: University of Austin Press.