Postmodern Horror Snapchat Story


One of your objectives in DIG 215 is to “create original multimodal work that communicates informed theoretical and speculative perspectives on some aspect of death and technology.” This project takes advantage of Snapchat’s Story feature to do exactly that. A Snapchat Story is a sequence of still images or short videos viewed as one video. If you haven’t used Snapchat Stories before, think of each photo or video as a single cut making up the longer film, i.e. the story. You can use Snapchat’s various filters, lenses, doodles, and so on with each photo or video in your story.

The inspiration for this project comes from the media scholar Jill Walker Rettberg, who argues that Snapchat Stories can be powerful tools to share knowledge and analysis. She calls them “Snapchat Research Stories.” For example, in one Snapchat Story, Rettberg explores how Snapchat uses facial biometrics. In another Snapchat Story, Rettberg provides some historical context for how we share images on social media. Notice how in each video Rettberg uses filters, lenses, captions, and cuts. She’s playful, but she also delivers an insightful message, informed by research. It’s like a moving image thinkpiece.


Your Postmodern Horror Snapchat Story should offer a short analysis of some contemporary horror narrative. It could be a videogame, a movie, a television show, anime, manga, a web comic, a novel, a podcast, or some other media. Whatever narrative you choose, the work must somehow feature contemporary technology. Maybe technology mediates the horror. Or it could be that technology produces the horror. Maybe technology is the horror. Either way, technology should play a role in the work you analyze. Put another way, we’re not merely interested in postmodern horror. We’re interested in postmodern horror that intersects with our contemporary lives.

Whatever artifact you choose, remember that you’re offering an analysis not a review. A review tells someone why they should or shouldn’t buy something. An analysis tells us why something matters.

Review Analysis
Subjective response Subjective response informed by history and theory
“This is interesting” “This is important because…”
Provides information Provides perspective

As a model for your analysis, think about the way Karen Brissette writes about horror films on her blog “The Last Final Girl” in A Head Full of Ghosts. In chapter 14 Karen skillfully dissects The Exorcist and the in-novel series The Possession. She combines film theory, gender studies, and her own insights, all with verve and attitude.


For your Postmodern Horror Snapchat Story to count as Satisfactory, it must meet the following criteria:

  1. The story is between 3-4 minutes long.
  2. The story is about a postmodern horror narrative that somehow intersects thematically with digital culture (and not one we have discussed at length in class).
  3. The story offers a non-obvious argument about the narrative.
  4. The story’s argument is coherent.
  5. The story’s argument uses evidence.
  6. The story integrates one outside scholarly source beyond what we’ve read for class. Find a creative way to “cite” this source as well.
  7. The story uses Snapchat’s lenses, filters, and other features.
  8. The story includes primary source images or video of the narrative it’s about.
  9. The story is posted to Snapchat by class time by the end of the day on Friday, February 1, and shared with the class.
  10. The story is saved to your Memories and Camera Roll, uploaded to YouTube as a private link, and shared with me.

For your Postmodern Horror Snapchat Story to count as Sophisticated, it must meet this criteria (in addition to the Satisfactory criteria above):

  1. The story integrates at least two scholarly sources beyond what we’ve read for class. Both sources must also be “cited.”
  2. The story’s argument reaches higher levels of originality and synthesis.
  3. The story uses more effective rhetoric and style to advance its argument.


A list of viewable student Snapchat projects is now available.


I have two contradictory words of advice for you:

  1. Plan ahead. Don’t let the playful aesthetic of Snapchat fool you. The most compelling stories are highly produced. They may look spontaneous, but they are often storyboarded, scripted, and rehearsed. Figure out what you want to say before your record. Gather all your materials beforehand. Don’t make it up as you go along.
  2. Mess around. Explore the creative possibilities Snapchat offers. Be weird. Open yourself to happy accidents. You can’t really edit Stories, which means perfection is an impossible goal. That’s actually kind of liberating.

Further Reading