It’s a busy Thursday afternoon at Anythink York Street. The library, which is housed on the Mapleton Public Schools’ Skyview Campus in Thornton, Colo., is filled with students of all ages who’ve just finished the school day. Many of them talk or hop online. A few are starting the evening’s homework. But over the course of an hour, seven students drop into a meeting room where the conversations revolve around one topic – horror. The Teen Horror Club at Anythink York Street was started in December 2014 by a group of students passionate about a genre filled with screams and blood. But it’s not just about gore. The group does everything from plan events to create their own films. They explore the subject at levels beyond the surface, discussing makeup techniques, cinematography and the core elements of the genre. At one point during the discussion, teenagers debate the difference between horror versus comedy versus lunacy while discussing Edgar Allen Poe and Shaun of the Dead.
“I created Horror Club to give a space for kids who are treated unfairly because they’re not into things that most people are into, to have a community just to be a part of,” says 16-year-old founder Blake Dominguez.
Frustrated by extracurricular activities that didn’t feel accepting, Blake and his friends started meeting at Anythink York Street to explore horror. In their first year, the group has grown and taken on a number of endeavors, including creating their own short horror film with the help of Anythink staff, “Attack of the Library Werewolf,” using the genre’s stylized elements.
“We learned how to use the boom stick and the cameras and certain lighting angles to make it a little more scary,” recalls Blake.
“Attack of the Library Werewolf” was as fun as it was informative. For members of the Teen Horror Club, it was an opportunity to get hands-on in the filmmaking process and explore skills that might help them land jobs in the industry one day. Club member Lizzie Zander, 16, discusses the possibility of exploring professional film makeup artistry.
“I want to do what people do for things like ‘Face Off,’” she says. “It’s actual human artistic design. I love the camera angles and all of the makeup they do – it’s amazing.”
After 10 months of meeting, the club certainly hasn’t run out of things to talk about or create. Next up on their plate? Making a haunted house, a participatory experience that might just turn a few of their classmates’ heads. That curiosity is a good thing for the club, however. When asked about the reaction she gets when she tells people she’s in a horror club, Lizzie says, “They either go, ‘What?’ or ‘Where do I sign up?’”
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