Since University Hallowe’en has been one of my favourite times of the year. To me, it is a great chance to get together with friends and have fun without having to navigate the maze of social rituals that seem inherent to the way our society celebrates some of the other special occasions. Even better, this year brought with it not one but two NYQ Hallowe’en celebrations!
The first event was held at the Meeting House earlier in October: a spooky bring and share supper followed by the puritan horror film The VVitch.
As it was Hallowe’en, a horror film seemed appropriate, but there was only one problem: most of us (myself included) don’t like jump scares! Fortunately, I found a website listing horror films with few jump scare, if any. From there we developed a shortlist, and a poll of the NYQs selected The VVitch as our Hallowe’en film. Here’s what IMDb says about it:
“A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.”
It received a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating of 91%, with critics scoring it an average of 7.8/10. They said:
“As thought-provoking as it is visually compelling, The Witch delivers a deeply unsettling exercise in slow-building horror that suggests great things for debuting writer-director Robert Eggers.”
I… can’t say that the NYQs were in agreement. After making it through the film’s 92 minutes there was stunned silence, and then laughter. Jaz (who had been The VVitch’s main advocate) immediately apologised, and we then set about dissecting everything we didn’t like about the film. In short: it had some really cool ideas, I personally really liked the idea of the ending, and someone had clearly put a lot of work into researching 17th century beliefs about witchcraft, but it did not come together well. SPOILER ALERT: The characters who openly worship the family’s black goat are, in fact, in league with the devil.
Still, watching a terrible horror film together was a bonding experience, and in a strange way we all had a good night.
For the second part of our Hallowe’en celebrations we attended The Final Girls Present We Are the Weirdos at Broadway cinema. This was 82 minutes of short, horror-themed films from female voices, and therefore the second year the NYQ Hallowe’en festivities had involved feminist cinema.
With the exception of Undress Me (which was just plain weird), we found something to like in most of the films, which covered a huge range of styles and subjects. Dead. Tissue. Love. was a darkly fascinating monologue over short, artistically-shot, thematically relevant footage; Don’t Think of a Pink Elephant was a claymation exploration of intrusive thoughts; Pulse had the audience audibly squirming as the haunting presence became physically manifest; and Shortcut was an unashamedly ridiculous tale of cheating boyfriend getting exactly what he deserved, leaving the audience in hysterics.
After the films there was a quiz in the bar, but I don’t like quizzes and the rest of the group couldn’t find a space, so we decided to cut our losses and head home.
This was the second year I have celebrated Hallowe’en with NYQ, and I had a fantastic time. I hope for many more in the future!