Posted in Listening Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Scared Stiff! – Fear and Horror Film Expressions

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This is a lesson plan for higher level students (high B2+) in which students learn expressions related to fear and horror movies. It is a good companion activity my Chucky’s Participle Clauses lesson, I plan to teach the two activities in one 90 minute class. You will need the audio file and handouts below:

Scared Stiff Teacher notes

Scared Stiff Student Handout

Listening Audio File

Scared Stiff

Listening Comprehension

First check students understand “scared stiff” then tell them they are going to listen to a man talking about horror films. Dictate them these 5 questions, students write them down. Play the audio twice all the way through.

  1. What’s his opinion of gory films? He doesn’t find them frightening
  2. What types of gory scenes make him uncomfortable? Gory scenes involving eyes
  3. What types of horror films scare him the most? Psychological horror
  4. What sometimes happens while they are watching a horror film? The phone rings or the cat makes a noise, scaring them.
  5. What’s his girlfriend scared of? Spiders and anything that looks like a spider

Being a bit of a scaredy-cat I’m not really into horror films. But every now and then I like to sit down and watch one with my girlfriend. I’m not very squeamish so I don’t really find gory films very frightening but anything to do with eyes gives me the heebie-jeebies, so I find any scenes where people get the eyes cut or poked out really unsettling.

The films that really send shivers down my spine are psychological horror films, for me they’re far scarier than gory films. Maybe ones where some people are exploring a spooky house and there’s some creepy music playing, they really put me on edge because you don’t know when something is going to jump out and scare you half to death. Sometimes the scariest thing is when we’re watching a horror film and the house phone suddenly rings, or the cat makes a sound and we jump out of our skins with fright.

My girlfriend is slightly different to me. She’s petrified of spiders and anything that looks like a spider but they don’t really bother me. Once we watched a film about giant alien bugs and we had to switch it off because she was shaking like a leaf!

Students listen again and write down as many expressions as they can.

Language focus

Students look at the expressions in the box, find them in the text and try to deduce meaning from context.

1.       Scaredy-cat – a person who is easily frightened/scared of a lot of things

2.       Squeamish – a person who can’t deal with the sight of blood/gore

3.       Gory – a film with lots of blood and guts

4.       Gives me the heebie-jeebies – makes me feel uncomfortable/scared/disgusted

5.       Unsettling – makes you feel uncomfortable

6.       Sends shivers down my spine – a physical response to being scared

7.       Spooky – haunted, supernatural

8.       Creepy – discomforting, films can be creepy but people can too, a creepy guy etc.

9.       Put me on edge – makes me nervous

10.   Scare you half to death – scare a lot

11.   Jump out of your skin – gives you a big fright

12.   Petrified of – very scared of

13.   Shake like a leaf – physically trembling with fear

Memory gap-fill

Students turn the hand out over and try to remember the positions of all the expressions to complete the text. If they get stuck they can turn the paper over and look for one expression.

Analysis

Students look at the expressions and analyse them with the following questions to increase chance of retention.

  1. Is the meaning obvious from the words?
  2. Which ones exist in your own language?
  3. Which one is your favourite?
  4. Which one will be the easiest/most difficult to remember? Why?

Discussion

Students discuss the following questions with their partner using the expressions and the language in the box below. Students should be encouraged to use the “showing interest” expressions to actively listen to their partner.

Showing interest Personalising
Uh-huh.

That’s interesting/weird.

Oh, I see.

Right.

Totally/absolutely.

I see what you mean.

I’m exactly the same.

Uh-uh, not me.

No way!

You’re joking

For me personally,

Speaking personally,

From my point of view,

When it comes to (scary movies), I think…

Speaking of (scary movies), in my opinion…

I find (gory movies) really (terrifying)

 

(psychological horror movies) are much/far scarier than (gory movies)

  1. Are you a scaredy-cat?
  2. Are you squeamish? Do gory movies give you the heebie-jeebies?
  3. What type of movies put you on edge?
  4. What are you petrified of?
  5. Can you think of a scene in a film that made you jump out of your skin?
  6. What type of scenes/monsters send shivers down your spine?
  7. Which films left you shaking like a leaf?
  8. What scares you more, a spooky place or creepy music?
  9. What situations are unsettling in real life?
  10. Has a friend or family member ever made you jump out of your skin or scared you half to death?

Follow up

Students right a CAE style review of the scariest film they’ve ever seen, explaining why it was so scary and who they would recommend it to.

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Author:

Barcelona based English Teacher, blogger and sometime actor and director.

10 thoughts on “Scared Stiff! – Fear and Horror Film Expressions

  1. Hello Robbio Dobbio.
    Thanks a lot for sharing. I really like the look of this. I think I will use this with teenagers and young adults and use it as part of a class about what scares us and get them to do some research into why we like to be scared.
    I spotted a couple of typos – “Once we watchED a film…” and “What type of gory scenes make him uncomfortable?” – add an ‘s’ to type or make?…
    Bye and thanks again,
    Helen

  2. Very interesting article Robbio, I really like the look of this. I think I will use this with teenagers and young adults and use it as part of a class about what scares us and get them to do some research into why we like to be scared.
    Thanks for share. Lilly

      1. Really really great lesson!!! but the link still isn’t working (( any chance we could use it again? Thank you!

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