Whatever you do, don’t tell Jared Ely, the president and founder of Drexel’s Horror Movie Discussion Group, that you hate horror movies.
“More often than not, students claim to hate horror — seriously, about nine out of 10 people will say it when asked. They say ‘It’s not for me’ or ‘It just scares me too much to watch!’ but really they love it,” said Ely, a junior materials science and engineering major. “If you tell them about a part of a movie they claim scared them, they’ll tell you how scary it was but they’ll say it with a smile.”
Ely, like the other 30 or so members of the newly formed student organization, wants those students to appreciate the horror and scare tactics in the movies. And above all, he wants to find a movie they would have a better experience watching.
“There is most likely a horror for everyone. The movies aren’t all jump-scares and gore; there are comedies, dramas and action horrors that can appeal to just about any movie lover’s palate,” he said.
The club’s members can pick and choose which movie screenings to attend based on information the club sends to describe the upcoming movie (without any spoilers, of course). The screenings are usually held on campus, but sometimes at a local movie theatre or a member’s house. There’s no set schedule, but the group tries to meet at least once every two weeks to discuss and listen to a professor talk about a film.
“The professors are free to discuss any aspect of the movie they feel most passionately about, from the special effects to the time period of the movie,” Ely said. “Some students really just want to watch a movie, and that’s fine. But we want to provide a true education of all that is horror.”
The films are usually ones that were suggested, either by a student or a professor. The movies, like the discussion topics and expert speakers, vary.
“One week we could be watching an old 1920s silent horror, and the next we could be watching a modern thriller,” Ely said.
Themes are often incorporated as well.
“We’re trying to hold a classics month this June where we watch a bunch of old monster flicks like ‘Dracula,’ ‘Frankenstein,’ and maybe ‘Creature From the Black Lagoon.’ We’ve got loads of ideas in that respect; personally, I can’t wait until we have a Bruce Campbell month,” he said.
Since its official creation in November 2013, the group has watched “Psycho,” “Let the Right One In,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Dracula,” “Dead Alive” and the 2004 version of “Dawn of the Dead.”
The group grew out of a pastime of Ely and his friends, who began watching horror films at each other’s houses several years ago. One tradition has remained as their group has grown into a full-fledged student organization.
“Yes, we do bring snacks. A movie’s not a movie without snacks,” Ely said.
For Ely, a horror movie isn’t just a horror movie — and if you’ve seen one, you definitely have not seen them all.
“Everyone should really give horror a chance. For those who want to be scared, we’ll find the movie to keep you up all night. For those who don’t ... well, you just haven’t figured out that you want to be scared by yet,” he said.