Nicholson School students and alumni have a legacy of crafting imaginative and heart-pumping films as well as video games.
One of the most well-known horror movies to come from UCF is “The Blair Witch Project,” which put UCF’s film program on the map by breaking multiple records – such as becoming Orlando’s first produced feature to ever be screened at Sundance. Several UCF films have been showcased at Sundance since then!
Students and alumni of the film program continue to produce successful films – including many in the horror genre.
This past summer, feature film production graduate students completed principal photography on two horror thrillers. Sarah Tice and Mark Felbinger will release those films in mid-2022.
Here are a few hair-raising UCF-affiliated movies and short films to watch now:
- “Interior,” is a feature-length horror film written, produced and directed by UCF Film lecturer Zachary Beckler. It won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Horror Feature at the renowned Shriefest Film Festival in LA, plus many other awards.
- “Kitchen Witch,” is an eight-minute short directed by student Fransiscus Fendrian, which showcases what it looks like to be a witch – not just a witch, but a kitchen witch – in today’s times. The short can be viewed on Youtube, as part of the UCF Film BFA Exhibition Day 1, starting at 28:04 until 36:16.
- “The Songs of Lazarus,” is a nine-minute short directed by student Anthony Greenstone, which is a haunting tale about a widowed Christian woman who participates in an experiment at her home in which the participant must listen to a set of binaural beats that will allow them to experience the afterlife. The short can be viewed on Youtube, as part of the UCF Film BFA Exhibition Day 1, starting at 1:24:18 until 1:32:56.
- “Trick or Treat,” is a seven-minute feature directed by student Rachael Pisarski. The story begins with two bickering siblings set out to receive the best candy while trick-or-treating, but when faced with an embarrassing costume incident and a group of bullies, they must put aside their quarrel to stick up for one another to save the day – and their candy. The short can be found here, as part of the UCF Film BFA Exhibition Day 1, starting at 1:35:37 until 1:42:39.
Alongside films, many students that are part of UCF’s undergraduate game design program and the interactive entertainment graduate program through the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) have created various games – with quite a few having heart-thumping qualities.
Students work on projects and create various games or mini games throughout the semesters. FIEA master’s students also often work toward their capstone.
Capstone is the creation of a full game over multiple semesters, where students will go through the entire development cycle. Many students decide to publish their capstone games through various avenues, such as Steam or Xbox, earning their first published title.
Here is a short list of some NSCM student-crafted spooky games:
- “Kore,” is a stealth game focusing on navigating its dark world while avoiding the hostile souls living there. The FIEA student-produced capstone game was created by team Penguin Void Production. Play as Persephone finding her way through a dangerous Underworld as she sneaks past Lost Souls and the prying eyes of her mother. The free game, released in January 2021, has now reached more than 20k downloads on Steam.
- “Malediction,” a capstone game where the player’s objectives are to solve puzzles and navigate through a cursed city. Created by team Desert Beagle Studios, this free game was released in 2019 and features a mythical, spooky feel. “Malediction,” won second place in the “Best Gameplay” category at the 2020 Intel University Games Showcase.
- “Hallowed,” is a capstone game, created by team Project Polish Productions, which tells the story of a woman who will do anything to bring her perished loved one back to the world of the living. Players can control Halia and her spirit Oco simultaneously on a single controller in this side-scrolling puzzle platformer. “Hollowed” won the “Best Visual Quality” award and the second-place award for “Best Gameplay” at the 2018 Intel University Games Showcase.
- “Flicker of Hope,” is a suspense thriller where players are a small candle in the ruins of a dark cathedral littered with victims. This free horror game will keep players on the edge of their seats.
- “The Clairvoyant AR,” was created by Weird Sisters Interactive, an all-women team, at a San Diego Game Jam. The game allows players access to the spirit plane – an auditory realm full of the pleas of ghosts unable to cross over. “The Clairvoyant AR,” requires Bose AR hardware: Bose Frames, Bose QC 35 II or N700 headphones to play.
Enjoy your watching and gaming!
Published October 1, 2021. Written by Iulia Popescu.
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