Frightmare Theater seeks to attract viewers
Campus Films has recently been trying to start a few programs out side of their normally scheduled campus films, most recently the Frightmare Theater: a midnight showing every Friday of a different B-rated sci-fi horror film.
However, these efforts have been met with a virtual deadwall from the campus. So far, Frightmare Theater has brought in only a handful of students, mostly friends of the Campus Films club member who puts them on, freshman Zack McDowell.
The two main problems that McDowell is faced with putting on these alternative shows are the timing and the budget.
“As far as timing goes I’m always going to be limited in some ways because we are showing the main movies on those prime spots on the weekends, but I still feel like if we can show interesting things, that won’t be so much of a problem,” McDowell said.
However, this can be a problem because Campus Films is limited to buying movies from two restricted sources that puts movies on the public domain, so finding an old, interesting movie while sifting though all the ones that are lost in the sands of time can be a bit of a challenge.
These also cost the club money because they have to purchase these movies from the companies. This would not normally be a problem, but Frightmare Theater is a free event.
“So definitely limited in the budget aspect of what I can show, but that’s part of the fun of it. I have to say that for figuring out what I’m going to show for the end of the year for this, it’s kind of fun because there are a lot of terrible public domain movies and there are some really cool interesting ones, and it’s kind of fun to figure out what those are,” McDowell said.
The only thing left for events to gain a viewership is for people to take interest in these old movies. This may be harder than it sounds, because while old movies will always have an originality appeal, they are not marketed to the young audiences of today.
“They [old movies] are an integral part of history in the arts, they really shape performance and they shape storytelling, but at the same time they aren’t as flashy and the actors aren’t as recognizable, or have a plot your not entirely sure about,” freshman Claire Martin said. “If you are debating what to do on a Friday night, it might be tempting to go to a movie where you know the lead actor or you have heard about the movie several times or you know the critics love.”
That being said, B-rated sci-fi horror, or any old film for that matter, are a far cry from being boring. “I think the thing that’s entertaining about the so bad it’s good B movie kind of thing is that the movie is very aware that it’s a movie, and when you watch it, you can see the strings, and when people act you can see that they are acting, making things very apparent that it’s a movie, so I think the humor comes from that,” McDowell said.
While it is true that the only frightening part of these B-rated movies are the horrific special effects and acting, there is another aspect of it.
“I also think that showing these kinds of movies at midnight kind of goes back to that tradition of late night creature feature shows on television and the whole tradition of midnight movies in theaters like Rocky Horror at the Blue Mouse, and I think it would be cool to start a tradition like that on campus,” McDowell said.
While the Frightmare Theater got off to a rocky start, it is far from dying out.
“I honestly think it’s a brilliant idea because they can’t be that expensive to show, and those old movies, they just beg to be watched with popcorn and friends. I hope that there is some kind of renaissance of that, and hopefully I will be able to attend in the future,” Martin said.
If you and your friends want to expand your horizons this weekend, you can join McDowell in Rausch at 12 a.m. where he will be showing Eegah, which tells the terrifying tale of a prehistoric caveman who survived to the present day and is terrorizing Palm Springs.