UBC professor launches frightful film app
UBC professor Ernest Mathijs has developed a frightful film app. (Handout)
Reyhana Heatherington, CTV British Columbia
Published Sunday, October 27, 2013 2:57PM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 27, 2013 3:30PM PDT
This Halloween, a UBC professor has an electronic answer to fulfill your deepest horror film desires.
Ernest Mathijs, a film professor at the University of British Columbia and head of UBC’s Centre for Cinema Studies, developed an app as a companion to the book he co-authored with UK-based film scholar Xavier Mendik.
The $5 app, called 100 Cult Films: BFI Guides, offers an interactive exploration of the best cult movies from blockbusters like Lord of the Rings, to smaller indie films. The app also features an interview with director Eli Roth and an introduction by Joe Dante.
Mathijs’ research specialties include movie audiences, the reception of alternative cinema and cult film, and he said horror films can feed into people’s fascination with misbehaving and the macabre.
"They offer you a safe transgression, a satisfaction of your own curiosity that's part of your quest for personal identity," he said in a release. "‘Who am I? What would I be capable of? What could I imagine doing if I needed to?’"
Cult movie plotlines can also serve as warnings for audiences, according to Mathijs.
“A lot of cult films are considered amoral, and some are downright offensive and repulsive,” he said. “So they also remind you that you as a viewer have your own limits and boundaries and that you should impose them when necessary.”
Mathijs’ latest book on the Canadian cult horror Ginger Snaps will be released on Halloween. The professor said the movie’s focus on a feminist critique makes it particularly unique.
“You have two smart, clever sisters in high school who are on the periphery of popular society – that’s always a constant in cult films–and one of them becomes infected and turns into a werewolf,” he said. “But they turn that power against the forces that have marginalized them.”
Mathijs’ list of top scary cult films include The House on Sorority Row, Paranormal Activity, Cat People and The Exorcist.