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I’m going to come clean and admit that I’m one of those freaks you always hear about who actually had a great high school experience. Yes, it’s true. And it’s not because I was some uber-popular Queen Bee like Heather Chandler or Ferris Bueller, nor did I partake in an epic romance a la Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court or Samantha, Jake and his red ferarri (Me? Yeah You!). What I did have was a great group of friends who, among other things, were very indulgent of my manic movie obsession and allowed me to comandeer nights that we weren’t at house parties or school dances to programme mini film festivals in my parents’ basement.

It was in performing this simple act of wanting to put together a really special double bill for my friends that I learned to stretch my moviewatching boundaries to include films I would never have sought out on my own, whether it was a classic like Grand Hotel or a cheesy straight-to-video production like Heavy Metal Summer . I’d haunt our giant local ( very well-stocked) Jumbo Video and wander up and down the aisles grabbing titles that spoke to me and figuring out how to pair them up in an interesting way.

That’s not to say that I didn’t watch all of the standard teen fare that was available to me at the time, I loved the John Hughes movies, Heathers and Clueless as much as the next almost adult, but it was during my high school years that I really came into my own when it came to film appreciation – I think mostly because I actually had the time to devote to really sitting down and sampling a bit of every genre. I still look back at movies that I discovered during those years with great affection. That mini movie education shaped me into the person who’s now sitting in front of her computer writing this letter to you today.

This guy never showed up on my 16th birthday - yet I somehow still managed to have a great high school experience.

This guy never showed up on my 16th birthday – yet I somehow still managed to have a great high school experience.

So what does all of this have to do with this month’s theme, you ask? Well, I think it goes without saying that whether they were happy, traumatic or somewhere in between, the teen years are a very profound period of every person’s life. There are tons of films that document the experience from various viewpoints and since every person on the planet has been a teenager at some point in their lives, one could say that movies that document coming-of-age, high school-related trauma or just the general horrors of being of the precipice of adulthood are actually the most universal.

This is something we’re going to explore in July as we revisit some of the most beloved teen films and deconstruct what it is about these movies that stay with us even as we leave the high school years behind. We’ll look at the psychology that’s common to most teen-oriented films as well as how teen films have changed through the decades. Plus, TFS Publisher Trista DeVries will investigate how nostalgia colours our attachment to certain films.

We’ll also turn our focus towards a genre that seems to go hand-in-hand with teenager-dom: horror. Do today’s horror films treat their target demographic more delicately than they did in the ’80s? Resident horror expert Will Brownridge will tell you his thoughts on the matter.

On top of all that, we’ve got a whole 31 days of other goodies for you to sink your teeth into, covering everything from the best Canadian teen films to the new trend of Young Adult fiction taking the big screen by storm to what Gremlins and teenagers have in common (I know you’ll be constantly refreshing our home page waiting for that one!) – in short, we’re willingly delving into the deep, dark recesses of our teenage memories to bring you the best possible content for a month when you’re probably pretty annoyed not to be starting your two month summer vacation.

So sit back, grab an umbrella drink of your choosing (legally!) and travel back with us to a simpler, yet way more complicated time in all of our lives. It’ll be worth it, I promise.

Kristal Cooper