Wildcats trick or treat themselves to a set of spook-tacular movies at the WRD movie festival


Travis Fannon

Students gather for the WRD Halloween movie festival on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, at the Worsham Cinema in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Travis Fannon | Kentucky Kernel

Courtney Suber, Reporter

Halloween is just around the corner, and with it comes the Writing, Rhetoric & Digital Studies (WRD) Halloween movie festival.

The event, planned by WRD Associate Professor Thomas Marksbury, also has support from the College of Arts and Sciences and the WRD department itself. The festival shows three movies in the Worsham Cinema, located on the second floor of the Gatton Student Center.

The movies include “It Follows” on Oct. 10, “The Thing” on Oct. 17 and “Trick ‘R Treat” on Oct. 31. Marksbury handpicked the movies, and he said that each film was selected for very specific reasons.

“‘It Follows’ is more complicated than it looks, and I want to talk about it as a quintessential coming of age film.” Marksbury said. “‘Trick ‘R Treat’ just seemed like the perfect way to celebrate Halloween on the 31st itself. Please come to all these shows in costume!”

Marksbury said “The Thing” is his favorite in the collection.

“It’s about free floating paranoia and an environment where you cannot trust even the things and people which seem most familiar and beloved to you — the last gasp of what we thought was the end of Cold War paranoia, which makes now the perfect opportunity to revisit it.” he said.

WRD Department Chair Jeff Rice said the movie festival is available to all students and staff and maintains the goal of entertaining watchers as well as educating viewers of WRD.

“One of our goals is, of course, entertainment; we are showing horror films, and it’s Halloween, it’s good timing … but another thing is that we teach and are a part of film,” he said. “WRD is one of those places where you can also learn about film and learn about film as a form of communication as a form of writing and horror is a very successful genre to do this with.”

Rice and Marksbury said that through this festival, WRD not only hopes to get students interested in the major but to also show that their specific interests can be catered to.

“A student finds that they’re interested in this? Well, there are classes in WRD where you can learn a little bit about the genre of writing for horror and everything that it includes,” Rice said.

UK’s WRD department was originally part of the English department, and for the last nine years, it has pushed for a new curriculum that differentiates it from English. The department works to enable a deeper dive into aspects of writing and rhetoric which was not present in English.

“About nine years ago or so, we split from the English department and became our own department mainly based on the fact that we do not teach literature, we do not teach drama; but we are writing and rhetoric scholars who teach print and digital communication skills,” Rice said.

The WRD movie festival shows all of their films at 7 p.m., and a tentative schedule is available online through the WRD website.