Horror is an underappreciated movie genre, said movie writer and director Ernie Rockelman, of Galloway Township. Scary movies tell us a lot about a culture's concerns and politics.

"Godzilla in the 1950s reflected fear of nuclear testing and nuclear war," Rockelman said. "There were also films about alien invasions. We weren't afraid of aliens, but of Russia."

Today's interest in zombies and post-apocalyptic themes may come from an underlying fear of the end of the world, evidenced by the Y2K panic and the anxiety over the ancient Mayan calendar supposedly ending in 2012, he said.

Rockelman has made horror films with friend and co-worker Kent Green, of Collingswood, with whom he studied filmmaking at Rowan University some years ago. Their award-winning short "Ghost Light" and a 90-minute feature "Haunted, Inc." will be shown during "Ghosts of Hammonton," the town's Third Thursday event Oct. 17.

"Haunted, Inc.," which they call comedy/horror, was the duo's first attempt at a feature film. It's about two roommates looking for a way to pay the rent, who answer an unusual ad in the local paper. The film was made about six years ago on an $800 budget, spent mostly on feeding volunteer actors, Green said.

The leads are brothers Jason and Justin Plum, of the family that owns the Custard Hut in Somers Point. They helped get permission to film some of the story inside Santori's Produce and Deli Market in Somers Point, Green said.

Green, 38, is a senior audio visual technician for Stockton Production Services, where he makes everything from training films to commercials for the college. Rockelman, 33, is married with two young children, teaches film studies at Absegami High School and works at SPS part-time.

Hammonton Artist of Year

Self-taught artist and member of the Hammonton Arts Center Board of Directors Carmelia DeFiccio-Ziegler is the Hammonton Artist of the Year for 2013, chosen from community nominations by The Hammonton Art District Steering Committee.

DeFiccio-Ziegler has served two terms as president of the Hammonton Arts Center, and serves on the Hammonton Cultural & Arts Committee and the Downtown Collaborative Merchants' Committee.

There will be a free reception in her honor from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 17 at 219 Bellevue Ave. Light refreshments will be provided by culinary students from the Atlantic Cape College Culinary School.