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We Asked the Faculty: What’s Your Favorite Halloween Film?

Herman Berliner, Dean of the Frank G. Zarb School of BusinessRocky Horror Picture Show would be my favorite Halloween film, not because the subject is Halloween related but rather that the characters are fun and perfect for Halloween.  Plus there are times that all the Rocky Horror personalities remind me of a faculty meeting that has gone very wrong.

Bret Bennington, Chairperson, Department of Geology, Environment, and Sustainability, My favorite Halloween film isn’t a film, rather it is the “Treehouse of Horror” specials that The Simpsons cartoon features every year at Halloween.  Many of the TOH episodes parody classic horror movies, such as The Shinin (Bart: “You mean The Shining?!” Groundskeeper Willie: “Shhh!!! boy, you want us to get sued?!”)

Julie Byrne, Hofstra’s Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies: I taught Demonology last spring and assigned  the novel The Exorcist.  But I have never seen the movie—and I am still scared to see it.  The Demonology students were astonished.  They watch horror movies with real enjoyment of the feeling of fear!  The Witch, The Shining—they were full of suggestions.  So I really am going to try to steel myself and watch the Exorcist movie for this Halloween.  The old one—not the new series.  Yet.

Rodney Hill, Assistant Professor of Film: My favorite Halloween movie is also one of my favorite movies, period: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.  It isn’t “scary” in rodney-hillthe cliché way of some horror movies (it doesn’t jump out and say, “Boo!”), but rather it offers a slow burn, building up a level of intensity and dread that is almost unbearable. What I love most about it, though, is that it is a strange, mysterious, complex work of film art.

tom-klinkowsteinTom Klinkowstein, Professor of Fine Arts, Design, Art History: The Day the Earth Stood Still [1951] – the original, not the remake. Not really scary, but profound and the best looking robot ever (very Bahausian), who also speaks in ancient Greek. The saucer is also perfectly modernist. … And I used some of the interior details of the saucer as inspiration for my studio design in Soho.

sabrina-sobel-headshot-070814-portrait-1Sabrina Sobel, Professor of Chemistry, My favorite movie is D.O.A. from 1950, a noir film about a man who has been poisoned and has to figure out who poisoned him before he dies. My husband introduced me to lots of great vintage films when we were first married. It involves chemistry and intrigue, and a desperate search to solve a murder mystery by the victim himself.

mary-anne-trasciatti-headshot-050609-portraitMary Anne Trasciatti, Associate Professor of Rhetoric, I am a big time wimp and scare very easily. Not surprising, my favorite Halloween film is a comedy: Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. It’s hilarious! Lou Costello was a comic genius and the dialogue sparkles with wit. Plus, it’s a real treat to see the Wolfman, Frankenstein, and Dracula onscreen together!

Paula UruburuPaula Uruburu, professor of English: While Psycho, Jaws, and John Carpenter’s Halloween are tied for the top of my list as the films that scared me the most — and still do — my Halloween pick is more vintage. Arsenic and Old Lace is by turns loopy,  creepy, and funny. Not only that, it takes place on Halloween night in Brooklyn, has Peter Lorre as Dr. Einstein, and features one of Cary Grant’s wackiest performances. A classic.



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