The TEENAGE WEREWOLVES HORROR FILM FIEND CLUB is a Rondo Award-nominated academic horror community with the educational objective of fostering a love of dark cinema. Based in both Michigan and Long Island, NY, the TWHFFC was started by two educators, Tyler M. Blakslee and Becki Reiner, in the hopes of empowering young people to haunt the hallways of erudition with all things horror.
In the spring of 2017, the humble beginnings of the TEENAGE WEREWOLVES HORROR FILM FIEND CLUB were spawned within the rigorous curriculum of an inquiry-based, International Baccalaureate classroom in the heart of Michigan. From introducing students, grades 7-12, to the language of film and an appreciation of the history behind the genre to helping them develop new, critical perspectives essential for 21st-century viewers, the TWHFFC is committed to a student-centered approach to horror; we are an institution where new eyes meet old blood, where horror education is our unholy vocation, and where our mission of SAVING HORROR ONE KID AT A TIME is of the utmost import. It is with great delight that we’ve ensured that the cinematically uninitiated fervently shake hands with Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE; delve deeply into the silent dread of Murnau’s NOSFERATU; probe the patriarchal misogyny afoot in films like TWINS OF EVIL and DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS; submit to the sensory fever-dream of Argento; and collectively unearth social truths in the new masterpieces of Jordan Peele, as our goal has always been to keep horror from being “lost” on a younger audience. It has also been of integral import that we turn our bloody beacon on all that is happening in the exciting world of independent horror, celebrating all the remarkable individuals out there that work tirelessly work to bring our beloved genre back form the proverbial dead, making horror live and breathe like it never has before. The interest of students (not to mention our desire to engage the world in a more multi-faceted dialogue in an even larger platform), however, forced the TWHFFC to move beyond mere classroom walls and instruction governed by a bell-schedule.
Like some gestating alien horror, however, the Club began to exponentially increase, expanding to include a much larger population of students throughout the school building…the city…unfurling its tentacles to include thousands of like-minded individuals, regardless of age. Our unholy epiphany was this: That the TWHHFC was the club that we’d needed when we were kids…a place for the weirdos, organized by the weirdos, which not only aligned with the analytical classroom curriculum, but allowed students of all backgrounds, creeds, and cultures to simply be themselves. It is a sentiment that seems to be shared by so many adults within the horror community, if not more so, as many of us knew the horror of isolation that often came with issues of Fangoria, Famous Monsters, and Creepy stuffed into one’s backpack; clipping theatrical release advertisements for our favorite fright films from the newspaper; and Trapper-Keeper doodles of Freddy Krueger and the Frankenstein monster.
What began as an extracurricular, after-school opportunity to introduce interested high school students to all that the genre has to offer, with the express purpose of encouraging young people to explore and critically discuss horror, then, continues to evolve and each day we add more officially Official Fiends to our multitudes. We still have a foot anchored in some high school classrooms, but have also turned our eyes toward public events, such as our SCREAM-O-SCOPE CINEMA! screening series initiative, in order to bring our blend of engagingly eerie education to a wider audience. In addition, the TWHFFC whole-heartedly subscribes to a model of “collaboration over competition,” and can be frequently found colluding with other artists, organizations, and companies to strengthen the community as a whole.
The TEENAGE WEREWOLVES HORROR FILM FIEND CLUB is a positive, diverse, and inclusive community of which we hope you’ll take part, assisting us in memorializing the macabre, saluting the ex-sanguinary, and exalting the eerie. It is our belief that, at its most potent, horror education is a Frankensteinian amalgamation of academic expression, equal representation, community celebration (and yes, even lycanthropic transformation)…and we hope you’ll JOIN US.