Monsters in Film

By Asa Simon Mittman, Professor, Art and Art History Department

I’m an art historian and I study monsters. When I picked my area of research, I wanted to work on something exciting, and what’s better than man-eating, fire-breathing, shape-shifting, giant, magical, horrifying, terrifying monsters?  For several years I’ve wanted to teach a course on monster movies.  The hard part of putting the class together is choosing the movies, not because there are too few but because there are far, far too many good ones.

This Winter Intersession, I’ll finally get to offer the course as ARTH 400:  Monsters in Film. In this course, we’ll watch a great range of films, stretching as far back as Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922) the first (and seriously creepy) film adaptation of Dracula. We will see some of the classics from the golden age of Hollywood like Frankenstein (Whale, 1931) and Red Scare films of the 50s, like THEM! (Douglas, 1954). These can be emotional and exciting, but are rarely actually horrifying for current audiences. For that, we will turn to Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968 and 1990) and Alien (Scott, 1979).

The whole course will be online, so you can take it wherever you are, as long as you have a good Internet connection. All the films will be downloadable, and I’ll record brief intro lectures for each one.  Students will watch monster movies and write film reviews.

Take the course, watch a ton of great films, write some interesting pieces, and, occasionally, feel your skin crawl.

Words with Wildcats!

This week’s inquiry: “What is your favorite fall activity in Chico?”

Charissa Pilling, Freshman, Nursing Major

“My favorite part about fall is the weather change and playing in the rain!”


Cindy Dizard, Administrative AssistantCollege of Agriculture

“Fall is a beautiful time of year and the temperature is perfect. I like doing outdoor activities, particularly hiking and biking.”


Katelyn Curtis, Junior, Social Work Major

“When it starts raining, my friends and I head over to One Mile to play a good game of mud football.”


Rick Ford, Professor – Mathematics and Statistics Department

“Year round I enjoy going to Lake Almanor or going boating on the river, but I’d say fall is the perfect time for golf because it’s not too hot outside and the course is in great shape.”


Danielle Alder, Junior, Nutritional Science Major

“I like walking around downtown with my friends and stopping for coffee at the Naked Lounge.”


Matt Sakai, Sophomore, Exercise Physiology Major

“Honestly… I like crunching the leaves that are on the ground in Bidwell Park.”


This is the second edition of our reoccurring feature, Words with Wildcats.

Hidden Gems: The Janet Turner Print Museum

In the heart of Chico resides one of the great artistic treasures in Northern California – The Janet Turner Print Museum. In its larger and more accessible space in Meriam Library, the museum serves more people than ever. On any given day you might see a class full of 7–year–olds creating a print, a university student studying an original Picasso for an art history project, or an community member taking a few moments to sit, reflect, and enjoy the benefit of being surrounded by the works of fine print artists. We are here to serve the entire community, and we are always free of charge.

Janet Turner

A little history: The museum was created in the 1980s when prolific and talented artist and art instructor Janet Turner donated her teaching collection of more than 2,000 fine art prints representative of all techniques, 40 countries, and several centuries of printmaking. Since then, the collection has grown to more than 3,500 prints, including renowned artists such as Renoir, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Chagall.

The Turner mounts six curated shows annually and hosts a juried exhibition of prints by contemporary national and international artists every other year. Each academic year, The Turner Prize for Excellence in the Arts is awarded, honoring a person or organization whose work helps grow the arts in the North State. The 2011–2012 recipient of the Turner Prize for Excellence in the Arts is James Snidle, who is an artist, gallery owner, and art collector. In spring, a juried Student Print Exhibition featuring cutting edge printmaking by student artists gives viewers a sense of what is happening in the art world right now.

Visit The Turner and enjoy thought-provoking exhibits of prints from around the world.

Jun-Ichiro Sekino, Boy and Rooster, Woodcut Print, 1957

Current Exhibition: Revisiting Japan

October 7 – October 29, 2011

The Osher Life Long Learning Institute and Dr. Yoshio Kusaba look at prints from Ukiyo-e to contemporary Japanese prints. Free. Curator’s talk and reception: Thurs., Oct. 13 at 5 p.m.

Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (During Scheduled Exhibitions)

For more information, call 530-898-4476.

Photos from the Janet Turner Print website.

Chico Experience Week at the Museum of Anthropology!

Adrienne Scott, Curator, Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology

Each year, Chico Experience Week introduces new students and their hopeful parents to Chico State and its namesake town in a fun way, coaxes alumni and alumnae back to revel in fond memories of collegiate life, and, of course, reminds current students and faculty how awesome and diverse our university and town can be.

This October, the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology will be more than a five-minute respite from the activities outdoors. We’re hosting a series of events related to the traditional Mexican holiday Day of the Dead throughout the month of October. This collaborative effort with the on-campus and local Hispanic communities is meant to encourage visibility and understanding about an important facet of Chico’s diverse population.

The Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is an oft-misunderstood holiday mistaken for “Mexican Halloween.” Day of the Dead takes place on November 2nd this year. While there can be face painting and spooky decorations involved, this holiday is one of remembrance; families gather to celebrate and remember the lives of their loved ones who have passed away.

We’re kicking off our celebration in the Museum of Anthropology lobby on Wednesday, October 12.  At 11 a.m., the public is invited to join us in the interactive construction of a traditional Day of the Dead altar. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about the process by asking questions about the symbolic images, objects, and colors being incorporated into the altar. After the altar is completed, we will be designing calacas (skull masks), making paper marigolds, and painting faces!  Traditional Aztec dancers will bless the altar as well.

That’s not the only Day of the Dead event we are hosting during Chico Experience Week, either! Families with children (and children at heart) are invited to visit on Saturday, October 15 from noon-4:00 p.m. to learn more about the altar, create masks and marigolds, and sample Day of the Dead treats like hot chocolate and sweet bread.

Speaking of the Chico Experience Week…

The Chico Experience Week brings Chico State students, alumni, parents, and friends together for 10 days of fun, education, and reconnection with friends, the campus, and the wonderful City of Chico. Whether you already live in Chico or haven’t been back in a while, you are sure to enjoy The Chico Experience!

Sponsored by the Chico State Alumni Association, The Chico Experience Week will tie together the campus and local organizations and businesses to create a menu of activities for a wide range of audiences. More than 90 events will be held throughout the week. Campus events include Greek Week, Alumni Glen Ribbon Cutting, Chico Chapter Fall Mixer,  AS Fall Academic Fair, athletics events, and Family Weekend. Off campus, enjoy Chico Velo’s Fallflower Ride, the Downtown Chico Business Association’s Window Decorating contest and Harvest Sidewalk Sale, Sierra Oro Farm Trail’s Passport Weekend, Butte Humane Society’s Furry Scurry Fun Walk & Festival, and numerous Artoberfest events.

Click here to learn more about The Chico Experience Week!

-Sue Anderson, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations/Chico Experience Week Coordinator