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How to get in the spooky spirit for Halloween, according to CWRU professors

From classic films to heartwarming family shows, eerie poems and captivating theater productions, Halloween has long been a source of inspiration for various forms of media. 

Halloween-themed content has evolved over the years, appealing to different generations along the way. In the 1960s, the season was a time for classic frights, with The Addams Family series, The Munsters, and Psycho being released. The ’70s marked the beginning of horror classics, including Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Carrie, The Shining, and Ghostbusters. And those who were raised in the ’90s likely remember Disney’s family-friendly approach to the holiday, with fan-favorites such as Halloweentown, Casper the Friendly Ghost and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

As people around the country celebrate the spooky season this year—as the Case Western Reserve University community does with events such as the HalloQueen Drag show, an annual pumpkin drop on campus, and haunted tours of Amasa Stone ChapelThe Daily tapped into the knowledge of three College of Arts and Sciences professors to give their recommendations of what media to consume to get into the Halloween spirit. 

Photo of Walt Hunter
Walt Hunter

Walt Hunter

Chair of the Department of English

“I suggest reading La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats, whose birthday is ON Halloween—SPOOOKY!!”

Photo of Shanna McGee
Shanna McGee

Shanna McGee

Professor in the Department of Theater

“As far as theater productions go, Cleveland Play House is presenting Frankenstein and Great Lakes Theater is presenting a campy Dracula called Dracula: The Bloody Truth.”

Robert Spadoni

Robert Spadoni

Associate professor in the Department of English

“A great horror film that’s lesser known is French, Les yeux sans visage (“Eyes Without a Face”), directed by Georges Franju, from 1960. This is the same year as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, which is largely credited with inaugurating the modern horror film as we know it. 

Some believe this gives short shrift to Franju’s disturbing, poetic masterpiece. From the same year is a low budget British film—with strange parallels in its unusual narrative structure to PsychoThe City of the Dead, sometimes called Horror Hotel, directed by John Llewellyn Moxey. It is extremely atmospheric.

Here’s my idea for a theme for a triple-feature Halloween party blowout: “It’s 1960!” Save Franju for last, when you’ll be tired, and your defenses will be lowered, and he will chop your brain into mincemeat.”