Newswise — Although most student research covers more traditional topics such as cancer research, robotics and multiculturalism, out of the 1,174 graduates this fall, at least three of them have interests decidedly appropriate for this time of year.

Lori Bilecki, graduating with a Master in Natural Resources Management, spent some of her time deep down in limestone caves studying Manitoba bats.

"I wasn't really scared," she says, "because I was just helping band the bats as part of a research program to protect their habitat. There are many caves in the Interlake and Grand Rapids area which are full of bats."

"They're not such bad creatures," she adds.

On the other hand, a more frightening image of bats was studied by English grad student Chris Bodgen in his research on Bram Stoker's Dracula.

While the portrayal of Dracula and other vampires on the big screen gave filmgoers many a scare, the movies of Alfred Hitchcock generated their fair share of frights as well.

"Hitchcock used melodrama to really stir the emotions of audiences," explains Susan Kurbis, graduating with a Master's in English. She studied and compared the work of Hitchcock with Douglas Sirk, who gave us films such as Imitation of Life and Magnificent Obsession. "Sirk produced true melodramas which were often tearjerkers, while Hitchcock had an ability to create suspense that played on people's fears and anxieties in movies such as Vertigo and The Birds."

"But my personal favourite was Marnie," she notes.

Register for reporter access to contact details