Greenlit: 5 Senior Horror Films, One Epic Halloween Premiere 

By Lucy Karp 

Director Freya Golden on set with DP Cait Foster, Boom Noah Silber and actor Dalton Joseph.

Brown cowboy boots clack on the floor as a blond teen with smudged eyeliner, a bright red crop top and bell bottom jeans slugs into journalism class. She wears black headphones blasting “Disorder” by Joy Division, blocking her hearing of her teacher and all other classmates. She sits leaned back in her chair, her cowboy boots crossed and resting on the desk upon her wrinkled notebook. Her bag is slung open on the floor, slowly emptying out crumpled paper and used pencils shoved carelessly into the single strapped black pouch. Although she acts nonchalant, one thing consumes her mind, college applications and her upcoming film “Dear Admissions.”

Freya Golden, 12th grade film major at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA), is currently in pre-production for her student film “Dear Admissions” as part of the horror film unit to be debuted at FSSA’s Annual Halloween Show Assembly on Monday, October 31st.

The film follows a teenage boy, Christopher, in a nightmare college interview scenario where he is told he was not accepted into his dream school. The character “Admissions” represents the robotic nature of submitting college applications over a computer. Christopher answers Admissions questions based on what she wants to hear, not what truly applies to him. 

Admissions repeats the phrase “what makes you unique” over and over until Cristopher eventually snaps, and stabs himself with pencils. 

The crew makes the scenes look very realistic.

The story, written and directed by Freya Golden, is based on her own personal fears of being rejected from universities. 

Drills in heads, crazy grandmas, Mexican folktales, and girls falling in love with serial killers are some of the stories you can expect at Sinatra’s Halloween show.

Along with Freya Golden, directors Jack Nasi, Jasmine Garcia, Catherine Ortega, and Caroline Urdina have spent the past month drafting ideas, writing screenplays, and shooting their horror films with a crew of four to five other students. Although the entire senior film class wrote original horror screenplays, these five students were green-lit for production, with four of the five making their directoral debuts. In what takes professional indie filmmakers three to five months to prepare for and shoot, these students completed them in less than half that time. 

“Be ready to be scared and a little grossed out,” Jack Nasi, director of “Contamination,” says. 

Director Jack Nasi on set with talent shooting a family breakfast scene.

Jack, the creative mind behind the twisted story of a man who is coerced by conspiracy news media sites that force him to develop paranoid beliefs about family values and safety, is a senior film major and first time green-lit director. The film includes gory scenes of slashed arms and even a drilling to the brain. Jack hopes that from his film, audiences learn to broaden their media source horizons from what and who they listen to.

“I wanted to bring real life to horror,” Jack says, inspired by the news, a constant fear of his and others alike. 

To some, horror may seem like a lower art form or not as “real” as other films and genres. Jack urges audiences to broaden their taste in movies to things like horror.

Looking through the lens. FSSA filmmakers carefully stage the shot.

After a spine-chilling “Contamination,” students will get ready for a laugh with director Catherine Ortega’s “Trip or Treat.” The not-so-scary comedy horror film follows a young girl that falls in love with a serial killer who enters her home. Catherine’s story was inspired by Gen-Z comedy videos on the popular social media app TikTok. Jahna Taylor, a senior drama major stars in this film and perfects her comedic timing and embodiment of her character “V” as she evokes laughs and even gasps during an epic jump scare.

The haunting Mexican folktale “La llorona” takes on a twist by student director Jasmine Garcia. The film follows a grieving mother trying to avoid her actual feelings when it comes to the passing of her children when she realizes that she is not alone in her home.

Growing up, Jasmine was surrounded by Mexican folktales and was particularly drawn to the story of La llorona.

“I wanted to write something that was part of my culture, but also bring a new perspective,” Jasmine explained. “I hope audiences realize that there are consequences to your actions.” The film was a success thanks to the enormous help of Jasmine’s crew effort.

“I just have so many people to thank,” she said.

The effort is clear from the ominous candle lit lighting, to the dedication of student actor Luca Bagliani submerging himself in a bathtub to get the perfect underwater shot. 

This year’s Annual Halloween Show and school-wide assembly will feature the five student films as well as performances by the FSSA step team and dance majors. The performance is open to all students and will be held on Monday, October 31 in the Tony Bennett concert hall starting at 1:30pm.