Students screen movies in star-lit theater

Sept. 2 was a beautiful and sunny day, remaining hot even as the sun went down and a large screen was raised on the lawn behind the Allen, Brewster and Ely dorms. The College Union Board (CUB) couldn’t have asked for a better night to put on an outdoor double feature.

The evening began with the disturbing horror flick, “The Strangers,” followed by the comedy, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Wendy Lambour, CUB event coordinator, offered an explanation for the seemingly odd pairing.

“We figured we’d draw two different crowds,” Lambour said.

She was excited as the screen was set up, and with good reason: This was the first time in roughly five years CUB has screened movies outdoors.

Lambour said she expected roughly 200 people to attend.

“I had come up with an outdoor movie last semester, ‘Juno,’ but it got rained out and ended up being inside the T/W Lounge,” she said. “I want to provide exciting things for people to do here on campus.”

As dusk fell, the lawn was cluttered with groups of students sitting on the cool grass or blankets they brought. This year, it appeared that the good weather would hold.

“The Strangers” got a few screams and startled jumps out of the audience, which at a glance appeared to amount to approximately 100 people, including a few viewers from the windows of a Centennial Hall stairwell.

As the movie progressed and the sun set, the beams of a nearby streetlight cast long, splintered shadows across the lawn, creating a creepy, yet appropriate atmosphere given the movie’s genre.

A later screening, according to Brian Daly, a CUB event coordinator, would have produced an elevated fear factor for the horror flick. Kaitlyn Kayser, sophomore special education major, agreed, saying the movie would have been scarier if shown later, but then she would “pee her pants in bed,” as a result.

When it came time to transition from one movie to the next, a few groups left, but as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” began, more people trickled onto the lawn.

CUB wasted no time getting the second film up and running, and by 11:20 p.m., the movies were finished and students were packing their blankets.

Most of those who came for the horror ended up staying for the pick-me-up comedy at the end of the night.

“I liked the horror-comedy mix. It ended the night on a good note,” Michael Herrera, freshman education/math major, said.

However, he felt “having the films outside subtracted from the experience because of bugs and light pollution.”

Others, however were pleasantly surprised.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” Julie Anne Garretson, sophomore psychology major, said.

Even though the number of attendees didn’t appear to be near CUB’s expectations, the event was still a crowd-pleaser for those who went.