The third annual Gothic Festival concluded after successfully hosting a week of horror-inspired events leading up to Halloween.
The festival was created by the Gothic Committee, a team of Mercer faculty who share a passion for gothic literature. The executive directors of the committee are Dr. Clara Mengolini, Dr. Jacqueline Pinkowitz, Dr. Thomas Bullington, Dr. Craig Coleman and Dr. Marc Jolley.
The faculty, who conduct research over and are experts on the genre, planned a week of gothic-themed movies and games, as well as an art contest that encouraged students to submit their creative works to the panel.
The festival gathers a community of faculty and students with shared interests in gothic literature. According to Mengolini, adjustments and new ideas are contributed each year, and this year’s social events were made to be more student focused.
“Students learn, some for the first time, what the difference is between horror, gothic, fantastic, and science fiction. We want to celebrate this fascinating world found in so many aspects of life,” Mengolini said.
The opening night began with a collaborative student and faculty roundtable with two student presenters. Later events included a black and white film screening, an interactive Dungeons and Dragons game night, and a closing art exhibition and costume party.
Executive director Dr. Jacqueline Pinkowitz led the film screening of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.” She enjoyed watching the students engage with the film.
“It’s fun to bring everybody in here together and then hear their vocal reaction. As the movie goes they start screaming, they start yelling, or start laughing,” she said.
Isaiah Lyseight ’27 said the week was an interesting experience. He learned more about Gothic culture and its dated history by attending the events. His award winning submission of the short film “Campus Conjure,” was encouraged by his professor, Dr. Pinkowitz, who told him the contest was open to all forms of art works.
Lyseight said he had always liked creating and editing videos. When he was given the opportunity to submit to the festival, he and his friends began brainstorming. With the use of an old camcorder, the group delivered a “documentary-style horror film” that was inspired by projects such as Chronicle and Project X.
Lyseight appreciated the hard work Pinkowitz put into leading the festival planning.
“She did a great job organizing the festival and I am glad I got to be a part of it,” Lyseight said.
The passionate involvement of students, event attendance, and various genres of art submissions made the week a success. The committee looks forward to continuing the festival tradition in fall 2024.