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Cinematheque Takes a Horrific Turn

September 19, 2022

By Jarrod E. Fasching

Armer Theater
Manzanita Hall's Armer Theater


After two years on hiatus, CSUN’s vanguard Cinematheque series returns from its undead pandemic slumber with All the Things That Frighten You, presenting a selection of horror films spanning the history of the genre. Established by the Department of Cinema and Television Arts (CTVA) to enrich and expand the campus community’s exposure to notable classic and contemporary international film, CSUN’s Cinematheque each semester taps professors to curate programming around an intriguing or topical theme. This semester’s theme and content were selected by television production professor Erik Boccio, a lifelong fan of horror and filmmaker with plenty of his own credits in the genre.

Professor Boccio has been contemplating this series ever since he joined CSUN's faculty and learned about the Cinematheque tradition. “Fear is one of the most basic human emotions,” Boccio says. “While some may avoid the topic, so many people are fascinated by fear—which explains why horror is so popular in films, books, music, graphic novels, artwork, and video games. Horror, just like cinema, is an escape.” Nevertheless, he notes that horror is often overlooked as a genre worthy of study and serious analysis. Boccio is eager to show a slate of films that defy such dismissive attitudes. The only daunting part has been narrowing the field of contenders down to just 13 films that can do justice to the expansive variety of films that comprise this genre. Boccio knew that when thinking of the students, faculty, staff, and community members who would attend these events, he wanted to include “something for everyone with an interest or curiosity in the macabre.” Spanning releases from Tod Browning’s moody 1931 classic Dracula to Ari Aster’s unforgettable 2019 mindbender Midsommar, the series features films exploring mental health, substance abuse, racism, sex, possession, cults, and other topics ripe for examination through a horror lens.

Boccio chose films that horror aficionados and cinephiles will appreciate in a real movie theater, as filmmakers intended, where they have perhaps previously only had opportunity to view them at home. He also hopes to bring new fans to films and filmmakers with a lower profile among general audiences. Boccio intends to deliver “an awakening experience, giving in to your deepest fears…while also leaving room for some big laughs as well.”

Join like-minded film fans every Wednesday at 7 p.m. all semester long at CSUN’s Armer Theater—located in the east wing on the ground-level of Manzanita Hall—for free screenings of films curated to thrill and chill. See below for a complete list of this fall's films and watch the Cinematheque site for additional events.