The Johns Hopkins Gazette: November 4, 2002
November 4, 2002
VOL. 32, NO. 10


ThrillerFest Will Bring Classic Creepy Films to the Homewood Campus

By Amy Cowles
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

The first-ever ThrillerFest at Johns Hopkins will bring some classic creepy films to the Homewood campus throughout November and December, with four free screenings in the Donovan Room, 110 Gilman Hall. Each begins at 8 p.m. Organized by junior Andrew Moskowitz, the series will treat the Homewood community and the general public to some relatively obscure films that, he says, are representative of the thriller genre.

"I am showing films that, I suspect, most of the public has not heard of, let alone seen," Moskowitz says. "These movies are dying for some mainstream attention."

The idea for the film festival was born last summer when Moskowitz, a Writing Seminars major minoring in film studies, had an internship with the University of Maryland Video Press, the Baltimore production company behind the Oscar-winning documentary King Gimp. As an aspiring filmmaker and a longtime film fan, Moskowitz spent his down time watching movie after movie.

"I began to realize that the thriller has to be the hardest to do," he says. "A thriller has to be so tight with no fat in the story. There can't be a plot hole in a good thriller. The writer has to know how it's going to end before it starts."

Though Moskowitz isn't sure what his future holds in the film industry, he is actively involved in the present: As a Woodrow Wilson fellow, he's working on a documentary about the university. And on the last night of the festival, he will be showing Breathing Room, a 10-minute comedy/thriller he produced with his friends. The film recently took third place in the local Creative Alliance Movie Makers Slamm, or Camm Slamm.

The ThrillerFest schedule is as follows:

Thursday, Nov. 7.
George Sluizer's 1988 Spoorloos (The Vanishing). The plot centers on a man whose girlfriend disappears at a rest stop and his attempts, year later, to discover what happened to her. The film was remade by the director as an American film in 1993, but Moskowitz says the French version is "far superior" to its stateside successor. "Whereas [The Vanishing] had a typical Hollywood ending, Spoorloos takes a turn for the dreadful," Moskowitz says.

Thursday, Nov. 14.
Michael Powell's 1960 Peeping Tom about a man who murders women only to film their dying faces. Reviled upon its initial release, Peeping Tom has since become considered one of the greatest films of all time, Moskowitz says. "Forget Scream--Peeping Tom is the first thriller to be aware of the fact that it's only a movie."

Thursday, Nov. 21.
Todd Hayne's 1995 Safe. Considered by some the best film of the 1990s, Safe tells the story of a young housewife (played by Julianne Moore) who suddenly becomes allergic to everything around her. "Gently shot, Safe sneaks up on you and gets under your skin," Moskowitz says.

Thursday, Dec. 5.
Robin Hardy's 1973 The Wicker Man. The story of a Christian policeman who travels to a pagan island, the film is likely to offend just as much as it terrifies, Moskowitz says. Following the film, Moskowitz will show Breathing Room, the comedy/thriller he helped make that recently won third place in the Camm Slamm contest.

Moskowitz will introduce the films, providing background about their creators. For more information, write to