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Forget Macbeth and Hamlet, we want Psycho and The Shining!

But now works by writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Grassic Gibbon and Shakespeare are being cast aside by pupils studying Higher English in favour of horror films such as The Shining and Psycho

It was once a course that required teenagers to bury their heads in some testing classic literature.

But now works by writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Grassic Gibbon and Shakespeare are being cast aside by pupils studying Higher English in favour of horror films such as The Shining and Psycho.

A growing number of pupils now choose to write essays on a ‘media text’, with classic horror thrillers a popular choice.

The trend was highlighted in a report by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), which said an ‘increased’ number of pupils had submitted an essay on a film rather than a book.

As well as horror films, pupils submitted essays on other movies including The Prestige, based on the 1995 Christopher Priest novel of the same name.

The SQA’s 2017-18 Higher English course report stated: ‘Fewer candidates chose to write their essays on poetry, as most chose this genre for the Scottish texts section.

‘For those who did choose poetry, the works of Sylvia Plath, Seamus Heaney, Philip Larkin, Robert Browning and Walt Whitman were popular choices.’

The report added: ‘A small number of candidates had difficulty in choosing an appropriate critical essay question and struggled to match the text they knew to the question chosen.’

At National 5, the level below Scotland’s Higher qualification, films also proved more popular than TV dramas.

Among the movies studied were the Batman action thriller The Dark Knight, the 1960 classic Psycho and Romeo and Juliet, which is at least based on Shakespeare’s text.

The trend was highlighted in a report by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), which said an ¿increased¿ number of pupils had submitted an essay on a film rather than a book

The trend was highlighted in a report by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), which said an ¿increased¿ number of pupils had submitted an essay on a film rather than a book

The trend was highlighted in a report by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), which said an ‘increased’ number of pupils had submitted an essay on a film rather than a book

The course report for Advanced Higher also noted a trend towards ‘dystopian’ works.

It read: ‘Dystopian fiction remains as popular as ever and some markers noted a significant rise in the choice of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, perhaps reflecting the popularity of the recent Netflix adaptation of the novel.

‘Some candidates produced good work on contemporary Scottish texts, including His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet.’

Edinburgh film-maker and critic Mark Cousins said: ‘I’m glad to see that these films are being used in English. Each has a distinctive poetics, and plays with time, tension or even psychoanalysis.

‘These are gothic works of art which allow students to engage with deep questions about fear and identification. The gothic mode is a particular part of Scottish culture.

‘It’s great that it’s being approached through film.’

The report revealed that 86.6 per cent of pupils who took Higher English achieved a grade of D or above.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk