Foreign fear film series creeps onto campus

By Megan Pendagast

Something wicked comes this way, brought to Rider by the Film and Media Studies program. This fall’s horror film focus is getting a global twist, courtesy of students and faculty. Foreign Fear, featuring three international horror movies, kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m., with the outdoor screening of Guillermo Del Toro’s 2006 film Pan’s Labyrinth in the residence quad.

According to Dr. Cynthia Lucia, associate professor of English and director of the film and media studies program, the idea for this film series came about during last spring’s Film and Media Symposium.

“Students requested more access to foreign films, raising the question: what can we do for greater exposure to foreign films?” Lucia said.

This question was answered in the form of a proposal for an international film series to acquaint Rider students with movies that they may not otherwise see.

However, this idea may have never gotten off the ground if not for the interest and actions of various faculty members and students.

“[Foreign Fear] is sponsored by the film and media studies  program with Provost Donald Steven’s crucial support,” Lucia said. “Without Dr. Steven’s financial and academic support, this wouldn’t be possible.”

Steven shared Lucia’s enthusiasm for the project.

“I’m very pleased to partner with Dr. Lucia to bring foreign films to campus,” he said. “These wonderful movies are both entertaining and exceptional works of art; works which our multiplex culture tends to ignore. This special film series aims to fill that gap.”

Communication professor Dr. Shawn Kildea was also heavily involved in the process, according to Lucia.

Rider students, however, were responsible for selecting the genre, and junior marketing major Megan Manata designed posters in order to promote Foreign Fear and spread the word around campus.

The Film and Media Studies program is recruiting interested film students as volunteers to go into residence halls to promote discussion, raise awareness and add to the level of appreciation for the upcoming movies. There is a training session Thursday and anyone interested in participating can contact Lucia at

Film student and 2012 graduate Carrie Drake thinks that this diversification is a step in the right direction for the film studies program, as different countries use different techniques, offering a stark contrast.

“Foreign directors often take a vastly different approach to the horror genre, focusing on psychological and theoretical terror instead of the gore American films thrive on,” Drake said.

Pan’s Labyrinth is only the beginning of this series, which will run throughout the fall semester. However, this film will be the only one screened outdoors.

The next film, Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In from 2008, will be screened in the Sweigart Auditorium on Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. The third and final film in the series is Alexandre Aja’s 2003 movie High Tension, which will be shown on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m., in the Student Recreation Center seminar room.

“The exposure to films like High Tension and Pan’s Labyrinth could be eye-opening for students,” Drake said.

Lucia said the series will continue in the spring, though perhaps with a genre shift depending on what the students want.

Contact Megan Pendagast at


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