‘Surviving R. Kelly’: Lehman Students Call for Justice

By Brittany Aufiero

The #MeToo movement represented at the Oslo Women’s March in 2018. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In the aftermath of the #MeToo movement survivors of sexual abuse are stepping forward now more than ever to shed light on their experiences and to advocate for justice against their assailants. Recently, singer R. Kelly, 52, was charged on Feb. 21 with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse involving four women, three of whom were underage at the time of the alleged abuse. The details surrounding the artist’s illegal sexual exploits have been met with resounding backlash both online and on campus at Lehman.

“Surviving R. Kelly,” a six-part documentary that aired consecutively from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5, portrayed testimonials from survivors and eyewitnesses about the decades-long history of the R&B music artist’s sexual abuses. Celebrities including TV host Wendy Williams and R&B singers Sparkle and John Legend speak about the disturbing actions of the decorated Grammy winner. The documentary highlights the controlling and violent behavior that Kelly exhibited towards women and cites the ways in which he uses his power and influence to groom his female fans, many of whom were underage girls.

Karina Leigh, a 21-year-old Lehman senior and English Honors major minoring in African studies and philosophy, agrees that Kelly’s behavior is a sign of a larger problem. “We live in a society that sexualizes young black girls, especially when they tend not to look their age because they’re taller or may have more noticeable assets, due to the fact that they developed quicker, which is not their fault.”

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), one in four girls are sexually abused before they turn 18. A 2014 national study conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that an estimated 64.1 percent of multiracial women and 38.2 percent of black non-Hispanic women experienced at least one act of sexual violence in their lifetime. At Lehman, 67.4 percent of students are women, and 83.3 percent of all students identify as Hispanic/Latino or Black/African American altogether.    

R. Kelly photographed at his 2008 trial. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The negative feedback against R. Kelly from social media and the music industry have raised question regarding how his fans should proceed. Can one support the art without supporting the artist by attending concerts or buying his albums or merchandise? Leigh says not in this case.  

“With R. Kelly, I feel like he promotes his sickness through his music. Like his recent song ‘I Admit,’ where he literally confessed everything he’s done in an 18 minute song and still no action has been taken. I’ve never been a fan of his, so I don’t listen regardless, but I do feel that it’s completely unacceptable to still support him or his music.” 

Guevara Torres, a 28-year-old junior and computer science major, agrees with Leigh that Kelly should face consequences for his actions. “I enjoyed his music, but I am no longer a fan. It is not acceptable to attend his events and concerts. Artists can only be separated from the art until the observer decides otherwise.”

“With R. Kelly, I feel like he promotes his sickness through his music.” 

– Karina Leigh, a 21-year-old Lehman senior and English Honors major minoring in African studies and philosophy

On May 10, 2018, Spotify announced that it would stop promoting and recommending music made by the artist.  It stated, “We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions—what we choose to program—to reflect our values.” Apple Music and Pandora followed suit two days later. This year on Jan. 18, Kelly’s label, RCA Records, announced that it would be dropping the artist.  

Hours after being charged on Feb. 21, Kelly surrendered to the Chicago Police Department. He was released three days later after posting the $100,000 bond necessary for his release.

Janet Luna, a 21-year-old Lehman senior and English major minoring in psychology and middle and high school education, expresses satisfaction with the legal repercussions Kelly is now facing. “He like all abusers will never be able to fully pay for the damages they have caused. However, this might serve as closure to some victims, even if it might never make up for their trauma.”

The Highlight of ‘Unbreakable’ Franchise Can’t Save It from Mediocrity

By Michael Omoruan

Host Yvette Nicole-Brown leading a Comic-Con panel with the cast and crew of Glass: Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan and stars Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson, and Anya Taylor-Joy. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Audiences who fell in love with the stars of the first two “Unbreakable” films will likely be nonplussed at how their talents are wasted in “Glass,” the third movie of the trilogy. An example is the role of Kevin Wendell Crumb, played by James McAvoy, who is far and away the best part of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” franchise. 

While “Unbreakable” tells the story of how David Dunn (Bruce Willis), the sole survivor of a train crash, comes to terms with gaining superpowers after meeting Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson). “Split” focuses on the character Crumb, another disturbed individual, who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. Crumb has over 20 programs living in his head that are referred to as “the Horde.” He also happens to be a serial killer. 

The intricate ways that McAvoy contorts his body and performs as each of Crumb’s individual personalities is mesmerizing. He was criminally underrated in “Split” and overlooked during awards season as well. “Glass,” sets 19 years after “Unbreakable.” Only weeks after the events of “Split” in 2016, his roles as Patricia, the motherly personality, and Hedwig, the infantile personality are true crowd pleasers. However, the film overall is still underwhelming.  

Released on Jan. 18, it opens with Crumb still at large abducting and murdering teenage girls. David Dunn is now the owner of a home security store he runs with his son. A chance encounter between the principle characters leads to a brief confrontation until Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) places them in the same mental health facility. When the two arrive, they meet Elijah Price whose alter ego is the eponymous Mr. Glass.

The film starts off well enough with Dunn returning to his security store after vindicating a pedestrian on the sidewalk, a move reminiscent of the character’s vigilantism in “Unbreakable.” But it begins to go downhill shortly after. In the first half, Jackson is devoid of any of the charisma and charm he originally had in his role as Mr. Glass. When he finally does have time to showcase his acting, the film starts to falter. Willis isn’t given much to do which results in anticlimactic scenes between him and Jackson or McAvoy. The scenes do little to advance the plot or develop the characters that many audiences love.

Offsetting these weaknesses, the score for the film by West Dylan Thordson is a highlight, drawing on the themes of “Superman,” “Avengers,” and many other superhero film scores as an inspiration. The lighting for the film was great as well. The purple, green, and yellow lights for Glass, Dunn, and Crumb, respectively are well executed. 

Although the ending is bittersweet, there are fun scenes that fans will enjoy. As expected, Shyamalan has a twist in the film that will take viewers by surprise, so if you’re a fan of his previous films or love the cast, you will find some enjoyment in this.

13 Years Later, ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ Proves the Wait Worth It

By Brittany Aufiero

Kingdom Hearts’ protagonist Sora. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Kingdom Hearts’ protagonist Sora. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Following a 13-year hiatus after the release of “Kingdom Hearts II” in 2005, “Kingdom Hearts III” finally made it into stores worldwide for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gamers on Jan. 29.

The latest installment of the single-player RPG series follows the story of keyblade-wielder Sora, as he journeys to other Disney and Pixar worlds with his companions, Donald and Goofy.  Following the loss of his magic and abilities in the spin-off game “Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance,” Sora must acquire the Power of Waking in order to fully regain his strength and, along with six other guardians of light, prevent the darkness-obsessed Master Xehanort from assembling the χ-blade, a keyblade powerful enough to open the door to Kingdom Hearts.

“Kingdom Hearts III” features stunning visuals, courtesy of Square Enix’s choice to build the game using Unreal Engine 4. Originally intended for Unreal Engine 3, game development stalled in 2014, following Director Tetsuya Nomura’s choice to recreate the game for the most up-to-date technology. Unreal Engine 4 has been successfully used in games of multiple genres, including the third-person shooter “Gears of War 4” and features real-time rendering that yields seamless action sequences in-game.

Fans of the franchise wholeheartedly agree that the game was worth the wait. Recent Lehman graduate Melissa Ruiz, a 26-year-old English Honors student said, “the worlds feel a lot more lived in than in previous installments. I think you can definitely see why it took as long as it did to make and how much time and effort was put into it.”

 Following tradition with previous installments, the game’s soundtrack features Japanese pop icon Utada Hikaru, who beautifully captures the sentimental importance of the long-awaited game. In particular, “Face My Fears” (made in collaboration with dubstep music artist Skrillex, a long-time fan of the series) evokes strong emotions in all of the young fans who grew up with the franchise and serves as the perfect audio track for the game’s cinematic opening.  

Plot-wise, the game holds up just about as well as any other in the “Kingdom Hearts” collection- which is to say, it only makes sense if you squint. Of course, this remains a quality of infinite charm, as the characters are the true heart of this series and always have been.  

Nelson Fernandez, a 29-year-old English major, has followed the games since the release of “Kingdom Hearts I” in 2002. For him, the games were a major influence on his choice to pursue English: “The convoluted storytelling actually kept me intrigued throughout the years. The lore of the series is, in fact, one of the biggest inspirations that got me into writing fiction.”

Ruiz added, “Kingdom Hearts” has a convoluted storyline but this game makes a lot of connections between all of the previous games, so it’s fun to see how everything connects.”

“Kingdom Hearts III” has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide, making it the fastest-selling installment in the franchise. It has been nominated by IGN for “Best Game of E3” 2018, “Best PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Game of E3” 2018, and “Best Action Game of E3” 2018. More nominations are sure to come in as the game continues to make waves in gaming communities everywhere.

‘DNA’ Sandwiches Same Old Sound Between Mild Update

By Allen Mena

“DNA” album cover art. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Backstreet Boys released their ninth and newest album on Jan. 25, 2019.  It’s their first album since 2013. Titled “DNA,” its 13 songs include radio favorites “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “OK.” The songs mainly feature melodic tunes carried out by a variety of musical instruments, such as the flute and saxophone. The tunes are reminiscent of some of the group’s classic songs like “I Want It That Way,” and are simultaneously modern enough to resonate with a younger audience.

The first and last tracks of the album are the strongest pieces because their harmonizing stays true to the band’s roots and also agrees with the fast-paced beats that are commonplace in the music industry today. The stand-out song is “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” because of its fast-paced, modern style. It is comparable to Maroon 5’s recent hit featuring Cardi B, “Girls Like you,” because it has similar beats at a similar pace, along with multiple singers performing at the same time during the chorus and throughout the song.

Sadly, most of the songs in the middle of “DNA” come across as fillers and generally sound the same in their delivery. The least impressive track on the album is “Breathe.” While this song might have been a smash hit in the 90s, the acapella vocals and pace of the song do not align with what is popular today.

However, this album’s initial success adds to the group’s legacy, since it landed #1 album on the Billboard 200. This still pales in comparison to the Backstreet Boys’ most successful album, “Millennium,” which made over ten million dollars in sales and included their greatest hit song, “I Want It That Way.” The Backstreet Boys have won numerous music awards, including their most prestigious, “Album of the Year” in 1999 at the Billboard Music Awards. Given the album’s considerable replay value from radio hits, it easily earns three out of five stars.

Michelle Obama’s Inspiring ‘Becoming’ Maps Her Success

By Brittany Aufiero

Obama was photographed by Miller Mobley. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Obama was photographed by Miller Mobley. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

In her poignant, eloquently crafted autobiographical memoir “Becoming,” Michelle Obama writes about how she found her voice and learned to use it effectively to enact real change.  The book has enjoyed widespread success and sold 1.4 million copies within its first week of publication on Nov. 13, 2018. According to Barnes & Noble, it is the best-selling book in the U.S. for 2018.

“Becoming” is divided into three distinct sections: “Becoming Me,” “Becoming Us,” and “Becoming More.”  Each represents different stages of growth for Obama in becoming successful. All speak to the strength, grace, and intelligence of the former First Lady of the United States.  

She traces the formative experiences of her life back in time. It begins with her upbringing in a working-class family on Chicago’s Southside, follows through her years at Princeton and Harvard Law School, to the day she met her husband, became a mother and began using her platform to advocate for children’s health at a national level. 

Any woman who aspires to balance a successful career and personal life simultaneously will find Obama’s words here truly inspiring. For women of color especially, this book sends a powerful message of hope and perseverance in the face of adverse circumstances. At one point, she recalls a time when she was forced to attend a job interview for a managerial position at a hospital with an infant Sasha in her lap. She is candid regarding the discrimination she has experienced and the ways she has managed to use it to her advantage to further her own goals.  

At its heart, “Becoming” is a reflection on the realities of what is possible with the right amount of determination. Remarkably, it manages to uplift without ever reading as condescending.  Obama emphasizes how a child’s access to education and supportive adults are necessary for his or her success.

Her optimistic appeal for the future is a refreshingly cool glass of water in the scorching desert of today’s troubling political climate. The book ends on a note of hope and satisfaction, “A glimmer of the world as it could be. This was our bid for permanence: a rising generation that understood what was possible—and that even more was possible for them.”

Trump’s Emergency Declaration Upsets Lehman Students

By J. Manuel Rivera Cortes

President Trump views border wall prototypes. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

President Trump views border wall prototypes. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

“Isn’t that unconstitutional?” asked Lehman sophomore and psychology major, Ana Gomez, about President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on Feb. 15.  During his speech that day at the White House Rose Garden, the president alleged that the declaration was necessary to expedite his border wall plan.  Trump also said that national emergencies have been signed many times by past presidents and that “nobody cares.” Whitehouse.gov states that the president plans to utilize military construction money in order to build the wall.

“I think it’s a symbolic form of bullying,” said Lehman junior and English major Jennifer Monique Crespo regarding the border wall. “With all the reports and research, it has been shown that the border wall is not the main entrance that illegal immigrants use to enter the U.S.,” she added.

A report for the Center for Migration Studies found that the number of illegal immigrants who overstay their temporary visas is double that of immigrants apprehended at the border.  The Department of Homeland Security reported that in 2017, 701,901 immigrants remained in the U.S. past their departure date which dwarfed the 303,916 that were apprehended attempting to cross the border illegally.

Trump’s previous effort to fund the wall resulted in a 35-day shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.  He failed to acquire the money he demanded and on Jan. 25 he signed an act to fund and resume halted operations. This included paying the salaries of more than 800,000 federal workers across the country whose wages had been held since Dec. 22.  The online magazine Vox estimated that 380,000 employees were suspended and 420,000 more worked without pay.

“I think it’s a symbolic form of bullying that the president is doing.” 

- Jennifer Monique Crespo, Lehman junior and English major 

The shutdown also impacted students, since all financial aid checks, scholarships, and other federal aid were delayed. This impeded the enrollment of thousands of students, including the 59 percent of Lehman students who receive financial aid, according to Lehman’s Department of Institutional Research.

Lehman junior and computer science major, Guevara Torres said, “I was definitely worried, not so much about coverage [of the shutdown] but on what terms my loans would need to be fulfilled.”

NY’s Tuition-Free Program Has Not Relieved CUNY Students’ Financial Burden

By Perla Tolentino

Lehman College campus. Photos by Perla Tolentino.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced the Excelsior Scholarship two years ago to much fanfare as a program promising tuition liberation to all N.Y. four-year colleges. But while Cuomo’s big offer was said to be alleviating, Lehman and other CUNY students continue to suffer financially. 

The main drawback seems to be the requirements that become prohibitive for a majority of students. Qualified students may receive up to $5,500 per semester, but applicants must meet a long list of requirements in order to receive full aid, as reported by Forbes a month after Cuomo announced the program. These include an income of less than $110,000, full-time enrollment of at least 12 credits per semester and a total of 30 credits per academic year, and no student loans in default, according to N.Y. Higher Education Services Corporation. Applicants who enrolled prior to 2018-19 must have earned 30 credits per year before applying for the program.

According to the New York Post, Governor Cuomo stated that the scholarship was intended to support middle-income families because most full-time lower-income CUNY students already receive enough government assistance to cover their tuition without the scholarship. That might explain the program’s lackluster results, which show that over two-thirds of applicants, or 68 percent according to Times Union, have been turned down. The N.Y. based newspaper also revealed that the 30-credit requirement is the main fail line for applicants. 

Lehman College Office of Financial Aid, located in Shuster Hall room 136.

Only 4,155 students across all of CUNY have been awarded the Excelsior Scholarship, according to Center for an Urban Future. In 2018, Lehman had a total enrollment of 11,230 students. Only 168 of these students received the Excelsior Scholarship, a mere 1.4 percent of the 2018 enrollment year. This is a sliver of the 59 percent of Lehman students who qualified for grants or scholarships and the 21 percent who are utilizing loans or other forms of financial support in order to pay for school, according to the Department of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment at Lehman. 

Because most financial aid only covers fall and spring semesters, the 30-credit requirement sets an especially high bar for working students who also depend on financial aid. Since they cannot afford to pay out of pocket for credits, they must take five classes each semester in addition to maintaining their work schedules, in order to be eligible for the Excelsior. 

Shut out of the tuition-free Excelsior promise, most Lehman students continue to seek other ways to cover their educational costs. “I knew about the Excelsior free-tuition program before and I have struggled a lot with financial aid. Unfortunately, I don’t qualify for either,” said Jesmy Pujols, a 35-year-old Lehman social work major in her third year. “I’ve had problems with my paperwork disappearing and my fall 2018 loan is still not even finalized yet,” she said.

“I knew about the Excelsior free-tuition program before and I have struggled a lot with financial aid. Unfortunately, I don’t qualify for either.” 

- Jesmy Pujols, a 35-year-old Lehman social work major

Steven Roa, a 23-year-old Lehman senior and English major, also reported difficulties with financial aid. “I’ve been struggling with financial aid since I was at LaGuardia Community College, and it was because they delayed my assistance,” he said. “I heard of the Excelsior Scholarship but didn’t look into it because I’m in my senior year.”

Lehman sophomore, Ashley Thomas, concurred. “Although I’m familiar with the Excelsior Scholarship, I have struggled with financial aid. In spring 2018 I had to take out a loan in order to cover my tuition.” The 22-year-old social work major offered this advice: “You have to be assertive and be knowledgeable. Ask questions and know the contact information of every financial aid representative available.” 

Lehman Students Protest Proposed MTA Fare Hike

By Felicha Stevens

The iconic MTA Metrocard. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The MTA could potentially increase the current $2.75 bus and subway fare to $3.00 in March 2019. CUNY students, community members, local riders and transit workers spoke out against the hike at numerous town hall meetings throughout the tristate area. 

At the MTA’s public hearing at Hostos Community College, several CUNY students confronted the agency’s board members about the approved fare hike. 

“I take the bus to school every day for $2.75. I refill my card weekly because it ends extremely fast,” said Crystal Dennis, 18, a freshman biology major who takes the 55 and 20 buses from Mount Vernon, NY. “To tell the truth, $3.00 will end faster, I will have to refill [my card] constantly.”

The last MTA fare hike, implemented in March 2017, priced an unlimited 30-day metro card at $121.00.  The newly proposed fare will increase this price by 4 percent to $126.25. According to data released by Georgetown University Center for Education and Workplace, the fare increase will financially impact college students, 25% of whom nationwide are both full-time students and employees. 

Photo by Felicha Stevens.

“I don’t really have a luxurious income that I can use to afford MTA transportation fares of this kind. I rely on my parents, who are already struggling with their many bills and expenses, such as rent, light, and food. The fare increase will hurt all of us long-term,” said Moussa Payinkay, Lehman senior and biology major.

“I don’t really have a luxurious income that I can use to afford MTA transportation fares of this kind. I rely on my parents, who are already struggling with their many bills and expenses, such as rent, light, and food. The fare increase will hurt all of us long-term,” said Moussa Payinkay, Lehman senior and biology major.

Sasha Murphy, a case manager at a Bronx shelter said, “These fare hikes are not bettering our community. We have people who are struggling every day because rents are going up, our wages are staying stagnant and now the MTA will increase fares even more. How can people meet basic needs while already struggling to sustain themselves?”

Murphy is an advocate of NYC Swipe it Forward, a campaign started by activists, such as Black Youth Project 100, New York Chapter and Police Reform Organizing Project, which challenges New Yorkers to swipe strangers on the subway using their unlimited MetroCards. The campaign not only helps reduce the amount of summons for turnpike jumps but helps people who cannot afford to ride the train.

Many students also object to paying more for deplorable service. Train delays caused by major incidents such as signal problems, medical emergencies and train track issues are getting worse. Data from the Subway Performance Dashboard shows a total of 24 signal problems and 11 track malfunctions in November 2018. 

Kimberlin Ballard, a Lehman junior and political science major who rides the D train to and from work is frustrated with the delays. “Trains are still delayed, everybody is late for their job or school. I just feel like this money is not going to a greater cause.” 

She is even more frustrated that she will have to pay more for a decaying system. “It is money out of my pocket. I don’t get free metro cards instead I pay more money to commute to school. It affects me financially because I also have to pay for my books.”

‘Blunt Talk’ Sparks Conversation on Marijuana Use among CUNY Students

By Thairy Pontier Lantigua

“Blunt Talk” by Department of Wellness Education & Health Promotion Program at Lehman College, Nov. 29, 2018. Photo by Thairy Pontier Lantigua.

“Marijuana doesn’t make me stupid. It makes me more functional and creative. I am passing all my classes with As and it puts me in a good mood,” said Lehman student Jenny Soto, 56, who smokes marijuana and denies it has any negative effects. 

Soto was one of the Lehman students who participated in “Blunt Talk,” an open discussion organized by the Department of Wellness Education and Health Promotion Program as part of a series of talks regarding drug and alcohol use. The purpose of the event held on Nov. 29, 2018, was to help students make better choices about their health and well-being.  

Speakers Erica Diaz, a wellness coach, and Ashmini Hiralall, a college prevention coordinator of the Wellness Education and Health Promotion Program, talked about the origins of cannabis and its history in the United States. During the conference, students were given the opportunity to discuss their opinions about marijuana, ask questions, and learn about the long and short-term effects of its use.  

As the legalization of marijuana increases in the United States, so does the rate of consumption. A survey conducted by Marist College reports that nearly 55 million people, or 22 percent of Americans, have consumed marijuana at least once or twice in the last year. According to the survey, close to 35 million are regular users or people who use marijuana at least once or twice a month.

New York City is among the highest marijuana-consuming areas in the United States. Approximately 77 tons of cannabis are consumed each year, as found in a recent study conducted by Seedo. In May of 2018, police investigations found major racial disparities in marijuana arrests in the city. This prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to “end unnecessary arrests.” In a recent New York Times article, “Cuomo Moves to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in New York Within Months” Vivian Wang says that Governor Andrew Cuomo now advocates for the legalization of marijuana as part of his 2019 agenda.  

Users say it helps alleviate the symptoms of nausea, pain, migraines, anorexia, and other infirmities. In the case of medicinal marijuana, the level of THC can be controlled. Students at the Blunt Talk event argued that there would be a significant decrease in the number of marijuana arrests and higher revenue if cannabis was officially legalized in New York as a recreational drug. However, others felt that legalizing marijuana would have dangerous effects.

“I gave seven years of my life to weed and it was a mistake. I don’t think weed should be legalized because it is a drug that is addictive and can be detrimental in the long run, leaving the user in a process de-escalation and distraction from reality,” said Hostos Community College student, Cesar Lantigua, 23. Lantigua attended the conference to do research for an independent project and explained that he found it very difficult to quit. “When I decided to stop, things got real. I couldn’t sleep well, I was mad most of the time. My body needed it at times. I was sweaty all the time, and I was anxious most of the time at work.”

Web pages, such as healthline.com and drugabuse.gov write that once individuals stop using the drug, they can experience withdrawal symptoms that include anxiety, sweating, diminished appetite, mood changes, irritability, insomnia and headaches. 

“I think we need to understand that people are doing more and more on a daily basis, but it doesn’t mean that people can’t be addicted to it,” said 19-year-old, Hostos Community College student, Erick De La Rosa. “It’s a good thing that colleges are informing more students about it, I wish they did it at my school too so that people can know the pros and cons of it and make their choices.”

Morgan Library Exhibit ‘It’s Alive’ Showcases Frankenstein’s Author

By Alexis Martinez

A 1931 Carl Laemmle poster. Photo by Alexis Martinez.

Frankenreads, an international exhibit celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein,” gave Lehman students further insight into the cult classic and aspects of Shelley’s life. The exhibit opened up at the Morgan Library Museum on 225 Madison Ave. Lehman English professor, Olivia Moy, assigned a student visit on Nov. 16, 2018. Her goal was for students to become more invested in the novel and its author. Isha Serrano, a Lehman English major, said, “I managed to get up close and personal with Mary Shelley’s muse for making “Frankenstein”.

The exhibit showcased different editions of the book, as well as reinterpretations of the cult classic from spinoffs, mashups, parodies, and tributes. In addition, it entailed the history of Shelley’s life and memorabilia. Her artwork embodied elements typically conveyed in romantic literature such as life, death, vivid scenery, and intensified passion. “Nightmare” was one of the many gothic paintings on display, featuring a goblin with yellow cat eyes perched on top of a woman’s chest. The class also viewed different animated renditions of the book and artifacts of tools used to amputate limbs for the formation of Frankenstein, who is also known as “the Monster”, “the Creature”, and “the Wretch”.

Elements of Shelley’s past that influenced her novel were also on display. Shelley was born to celebrity parents Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. She lost her mother two weeks after she was born, which frayed her relationship with her father. As a result, she had an isolated and rebellious childhood. At 16, Shelley ran off with her father’s married friend Percy Shelley. Shortly after, she suffered a stillborn birth and was widowed after the death of her husband. The themes isolation, loss, lack of love, and rebellion are all conveyed throughout the novel, “Frankenstein”. 

“I thought that the ‘Frankenstein’ exhibit was great and very informative about Mary Shelley and her family and her life journey,” said Jose Miranda, a Lehman English major.  

‘Widows’ Wows Audiences with Empowering Message for Women

By Brittany Aufiero

Film poster for ‘Widows.’ Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

In a long tradition of Hollywood heist thrillers dominated by male actors, “Widows” holds its own, breaking the mold with its female-led cast directed by Steve McQueen. 

“Widows” earned the box office an impressive $53.6 million worldwide, $33.5 of which were from ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada alone.  Released Nov. 16, the film was co-written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn. Flynn is best known as the writer of “Gone Girl,” a novel published in 2012, about a woman seeking revenge on her adulterous husband. Flynn’s flair for gritty, female-driven stories is exceptionally portrayed in “Widows.”

Viola Davis stars as the thick-skinned Veronica Rawlings. She plays a woman whose life is left in shambles following the death of her husband, Harry, played by Liam Neeson, after a heist that went wrong. In the midst of her grief, she is visited by Jamal Manning and Daniel Kaluuya, who play a crime lord and politician looking for the $2 million that Harry stole. 

Manning wants his money and expects Veronica to pay up. Veronica enlists the help of the widows of her dead husband’s heist team, Alice Gunner, played by Elizabeth Debicki and Linda Parelli, played by actress Michelle Rodriguez. It is an attempt to pull off one last robbery in order to pay off the debt and start a new life.

“Widows” is an emotionally compelling and violent story of survival.  Through Veronica, the audience can understand the complex role race can play in a marriage.  When their unarmed son is pulled over by police and shot, Harry grows to resent his wife for her black skin.  In the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Veronica’s story feels particularly relevant to the racial struggles that many people endure in the modern day justice system.

Meanwhile, Alice becomes an escort so that she can make ends meet following the death of her abusive husband. She enters into an exclusive sexual arrangement with a wealthy real estate executive, David, but feels uncomfortable with the power imbalance.

While Veronica and Alice easily comply with the demands of the heist, Linda struggles to find a sitter for her children. Veronica begins to doubt her commitment to the heist, but Linda stands her ground and argues that she’ll do it for her children. Ultimately, they prove that women don’t have to be amazing fighters or gun aficionados in order to belong in an action movie.  

Queens resident, Suzie Diep said, “Viola Davis’s performance was amazing.” She added that she felt that the movie did a good job dealing with classism and racism.

Lehman professor of political science, Dr. Jason Schulman, 45, said, “It’s a film with real depth. It transcends genre conventions, and refreshingly, puts female characters at the center of a drama. The men are just there to move the plot along.”

“Widows” is extremely powerful in ways that are both figurative and literal. It is insightful and explores the powerful minds of women who have reached their breaking point. This is definitely a must-see.

Smashing Pumpkins’ New Album Brings Back Classic Sound

By J. Manuel Rivera Cortes

“Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol 1” album cover. Photo by Jonathan Rivera.

“Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol 1” is The Smashing Pumpkins first album in over four years and takes fans back to their classic sound.  

Their latest album commemorates the return of founding guitarist, James Iha, after his two-decade hiatus from lead singer Billy Corgan, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and Jeff Schroeder on guitar and keyboard.  With Iha back, the classic balance of this alternative rock mega-group has been reestablished.

The first song “Knights of Malta” is a pseudo-emo anthem that is reminiscent of “1979” a hit song from their “Mellon Collie and Infinite Sadness” album.  “You’ll just rise on forever…When doldrums age in platinum,” it croons.  

“Solara,” the album’s most memorable, offers the listener classic Pumpkins’ sound with a neoclassic twist. “Tear down the sun. Bring down the sun,” it exhorts. 

While well known for their hit albums “Siamese Dream” and “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” the band suffered a series of unsuccessful album releases over the span of the 30-year span of their music career. Their album “Adore” was one of the most anticipated albums of 1998 but fell short of fans expectations, selling only 174,000. Their previous album sold 246,500 in its first week.  

Iha’s departure from the Pumpkins created a new sound from the band, with “Machina,” their first album without Iha, ushering in a new era of Pumpkins music of further declining album sales. “Machina” sold only 583,000, making it the second lowest selling album released by the group.

Iha’s return brings back the classic sound that die-hard fans will appreciate, especially in “Silvery Sometimes,” where the steady guitar rhythm reflects Iha as a master musician and recalls “Tonight, Tonight,” one of the time-honored favorites of Smashing Pumpkins’ fans.  Lehman junior and English major Albert Gonzalez said, “I’m glad that Iha came back for this album. He is the driving force of the band’s rhythm in their songs.”   

Lehman Community Mourns the Loss of New York Native Stan Lee

By Teresa Fanzo

Stan Lee at Phoenix Comicon, pictured in 2011. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

“I will miss seeing his cameos in every Marvel movie,” said Peter Watson, a Lehman freshman.

Stan Lee, the comic book writer known for the creation of many Marvel characters such as Spider-Man and the Hulk, died at the age of 95 on November 12, 2018. His death came as a shock to the comic world and the pop culture industry.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber in Manhattan, Lee moved to the Bronx when he was a teenager. Growing up he was inspired by books and movies and admired heroic figures like Robin Hood. Stan Lee went to Clinton High School, less than a mile away from Lehman College.

According to biography.com, Lee became an assistant in the Timely Comic division of Pulp Magazine, an inexpensive nonfiction magazine, in 1939. By the 1960s, Timely evolved into Marvel Comics when the company launched the Fantastic Four. He made his debut in May of 1941 with writing filler, plots that do not actually progress the story, for “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge.” He used a pen name, Stan Lee, which he would later adopt as his legal name. 

By the end of the 1950s, he considered leaving his job. He was dissatisfied and he was not given the opportunity to write the stories he wanted. During this time, Lee was on the verge of quitting, but with his wife’s advice, he began writing the kind of stories he enjoyed.

“I mourn Stan not just as an innovator and storyteller but as a New Yorker and a Bronxite.”  

- Lehman Senior and film and television studies major Juan Vasquez

The DC comics editor, Julius Schwartz, first introduced the public to the concept of the super-team with the Justice League of America. To combat this, Lee was tasked with the assignment to create their company’s own super-team.   

Lee and his partner, Jack Kirby, created the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and arguably Marvel’s most successful character, Spider-Man. These characters were grouped into Marvel’s super-team, The Avengers.

Stan Lee created a world of relatable characters and intriguing storylines. In 2008, the comic studio ventured into the film industry, and since 2008, Lee has had a cameo feature in every single Marvel film.

Lee was an icon who revolutionized the comic industry and inspired many Lehman students. Junior and film and television studies major Julia Brennan said, “I grew up reading Marvel comics. Spider-Man is the first movie I remember seeing in theaters as a kid, so I hold a great sense of gratitude towards Stan Lee.” 

Senior and Lehman film and television studies major Juan Vasquez said, “The sorrow that was his passing transcended the comics world. I mourn Stan not just as an innovator and storyteller but as a New Yorker and a Bronxite.” 

Former President Bush’s Passing Signals End of an Era

By J. Manuel Rivera Cortes

President Bush pictured in 1992. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

“The man served his country for over 40 years. He wasn’t the best president, but he served our country well,” said sophomore Orlando Green, a sociology major, regarding the passing of President George Herbert Walker Bush. On Nov. 30, 2018, the 41st president of the United States passed away at the age of 94, but his legacy still lives on.  

The patriarch of his family, Bush dedicated over 40 years of his life to public service. He stepped into the political field when he ran for U.S. Senate in 1964. Narrowly defeated by Democrat Ralph Yarborough, he went on to serve as U.S. ambassador to China as well as director of the CIA before being elected President in 1988. He was the first Vice President in 152 years to be elected president. “Freedom is at the very heart of the idea that is America. Giving life to the idea depends on every one of us,” Bush said in his 1990 State of the Union Address. 

During operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Bush deployed U.S. forces into Saudi Arabia to help expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait during the start of the Gulf War.  

Joye Decker, a junior in an adult degree program student said, “I remember the Gulf war on television when I was a kid. It’s a black eye in our history.”  

Bush’s death surprised many Lehman students who were familiar with both his administration and his influence on today’s political landscape. “When I heard the news, I was shocked.  It wasn’t that long [ago] that Barbara had died,” said Lehman junior, Joanna Rosario.  

Others viewed his passing as a blessing for Bush since he suffered many ailments in his advanced age. After the death of his wife, he suffered a blood infection that led to sepsis. 

“He’s finally at rest,” said CUNY Office Assistant, Crystal Jackson. “He seemed so fragile after his wife died.”

CUNY $6M Grant Will Help Revamp Lehman’s Child Care Center

By Perla Tolentino

One of the playgrounds available by Lehman’s gate 3 entrance in front of Goulden Avenue. Photo by Perla Tolentino.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded CUNY a $6 million grant exclusively for child care centers. Lehman, Brooklyn, Baruch, Bronx Community, Kingsborough, and LaGuardia colleges were announced as recipients of the grant on Oct. 22, 2018. According to CUNY news outlets, LaGuardia will increase their enrollment capacities in 2019 to 263 and offer emotional and mental health resources for parents, and Kingsborough Community College plans to lower its childcare rate to as low as $1 per week for parents who attend classes. 

Lehman staff and student parents had many suggestions for how to use the funds at Lehman’s childcare center, which currently has six classrooms, two outside playgrounds, and a multipurpose room for gross motor play, after-school activities and celebrations. “I believe the funds should be used to create new programs including arts, crafts and music. They should reinforce the children’s food menu and library and also expand the playgrounds or invest in outside trips,” said Lisette Ventura, a 35-year-old mother and junior Spanish major at Lehman.

The center currently serves children between ages of two and nine years old and offers speech and hearing counseling, as well as education workshops focusing on behavior management and child development. The center also has a Pre-K program that offers full day classes to four-year-old children, funded by the New York City Department of Education. The goal of the program is to help with kindergarten preparation utilizing New York State Core Learning standards.

Another use of the grant money would be to pay for longer hours at the childcare center. Bronx Community College now plans to extend their hours from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to AM New York. However, Jaci Maurer, director of Lehman’s childcare center, questioned this choice. “Leaving from the campus so late at night may be convenient for the students, but is it for the children?” she inquired. “We advertise to be open until 9 p.m., but in some cases until 9:30 p.m. I believe that’s enough.” 

Later hours would help Martha Vergara, a Lehman sophomore and social work major who has a 9-year-old son. She explained that “balancing school and parenting is very hard for the both of us.” She was unaware that Lehman’s childcare center was open until 9:30 p.m.  “What I’m doing this semester is leaving my son in the cafeteria until I finish my class.”

Lehman’s child care center. Photo by Perla Tolentino.

Maurer believes that there are more urgent needs than schedule changes, and that parents have been surveyed about their priorities. “Our focus is to support staff members and parents,” she explained. “Social work and family training are some of the resources we will most likely invest in, which will alleviate the financial burden of the parents, as well as their busy life. Our goal is to help families stay in school.”

According to a care.com survey from July 17, 2018, the cost of childcare is increasing every year, leaving only 30 percent of American families able to afford it. This research also revealed that 63 percent of parents agree that the cost of childcare can affect their career decisions. 

In the Bronx, where US Census Bureau shows that the median family income is $36,593 per year with a poverty rate of 28 percent, parents struggle to afford childcare needs. To help lower-income parents at Lehman, the childcare center works with the Federal Block Grant which helps students afford child care expenses based on their income level. 

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for these students who are thriving through college and taking care of their children as well,” said Maurer.

Lehman Counseling Center Increases Campus Presence with Group Initiatives

By Kathryn Fornier

The Lehman College Counseling Center logo. Photo courtesy of the Lehman website.

This semester, Lehman’s Counseling Center has opened its doors to a wide variety of student groups and workshops in an effort to build a safe, supportive space for students.

Currently, there are 11 groups at the Counseling Center targeting mental health and wellness. Karen Smith Moore, the Director of the Counseling Center commented, “Students fill out a questionnaire and the counselors and I develop the groups based on survey feedback from students.”  She added, “I think everyone can benefit from self-care…wellness and taking care of their emotional well-being, so we try to develop a range of groups that will support students.”

There is a Mindful Cooking and Eating group, hosted every Tuesday at noon, which teaches students how to decrease their spending on food while using stress free recipes, which are simple and easy to follow cooking instructions with minimal ingredients. Attendees can also find ingredients for healthy meals at the group meetings. “The counseling center purchases the food and it is a part of a campaign and health and wellness initiative called Healthy Lehman” explained Moore.

On Wednesdays, mats for stretching and meditation are offered to those who attend the yoga group. Lehman senior Ismelda Liz, a Sociology major, commented, “They really set the mood, they dim the lights and put music. With the music and the aromatherapy it really comes together…It’s really no-experience needed…[we do] stretches that are comfortable for people.”

Counselor Hawa Niangado explained that the groups also serve as an opportunity to explore and build new relationships. She noted that the Art Therapy group she leads has some of the highest attendance numbers, attracting both returning members and newcomers. “The first year that I did this it was a lot of new students…but [students] have come back again,” she said. “Because it was so successful, the following semester we decided to have two groups with one on Thursday and one on Friday.” 

The other groups offered are the Meditation Group, Worry Warriors, Digital Media Therapy, Healthy U, Keeping Your Cool, Multicultural Group, Stress Less, and U Connect. Their availability on campus helps students manage the expectations of their home lives, friends, and even themselves. 

This is important given statistics indicating that student mental health is an increasing issue on campuses nationally. According to a 2017 Healthy Minds survey, 94 percent of 8,000 first-year students with depression from 48 campuses reported that their mental health difficulties had impaired their academic performance. 

Students have a lot of stressors to deal with that can be triggers of depression. In a 2017 article “Depression and College Students” for the journal Healthline, Michael Kerr writes, “Many students are unprepared for university life. Today’s students face high debt. They also have fewer job prospects after graduation than previous generations.”

David Rosenberg, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, agrees a 2018 article for The Conversation titled, “1 in 5 college students have anxiety or depression. Here’s why”. He states that of the main causes of depression and anxiety, “social media and technology are among the most dangerous of these factors. Excessive use of each tends to engender impaired social interactions and an increased sense of isolation.”

To combat these factors, Moore said, “We at the Counseling Center do all kinds of things in individual sessions, group sessions, class presentations, and workshops arranged to give awareness to mental health topics. We also do outreach and campus wide events.” She added, “All our services are free and confidential and in a safe environment.” 

Jasmine Galloway, a sophomore psychology major at Lehman who uses the counseling center services, said, “I find the groups offered to be super helpful and I recommend people should at least visit once.”

Is Dining Dollars a Wise Investment?

By J. Manuel Rivera Cortes

Dining Dollars poster. Photo by J. Manuel Rivera Cortes.

Lehman’s Dining Dollars, a system first implemented in the fall of 2016, offers students tax-free meals and 5 percent back for every $50 they deposit. The program has the potential to help alleviate the financial burden that many Lehman students experience. However, its two major incentives, tax-free dining and bonus dollars, may not be enough to convince the student body to buy into it.

Students can enroll by downloading the Blackboard Transact eAccounts app from the App Store or Google Play.  They can then use their Lehman logins to access their Dining Dollars accounts and add funds to their cards through any cafeteria cashier or at kiosk stations located on campus.

Director of Administrative Operations, Diane Clarke, stated that, “Students are able to save more from [tax-free] dining than the bonus dollars of the program.”  But while the program promotes savings of approximately $150 every semester, many students are unaware of its existence. 

“Never heard of it,” said senior English major Nelson Fernandez.

The price, quantity, and quality of the food offered at the cafeterias may explain the low enrollment.  “It sucks,” commented Crystal Jackson, a CUNY office assistant for the School of Education. “The quality isn’t worth the price. They’re overcharging us for garbage.”  

Lehman senior Alice Tharay, an English major, agreed: “[The food] is mediocre for the price we have to pay. [It’s] worth less than we pay.” 

Junior Davidia Boykins, a biology major, said, “I feel that the food is delicious but overpriced.”

The average price of a simple breakfast like coffee and a bagel with cream cheese can range between $2.75 and $5.50, while lunch and dinner costs from $6.85 to $11.75. As a result, students are upset that the quality of the meals is not worth the weekly financial burden.  High prices and subpar quality cause students to purchase food off campus.

Another downside to Dining Dollars is that it requires students to use up the entirety of their funds before the end of the semester or forfeit them to the system.  Senior Yesnuel Ramirez, a Computer Information Systems major, exclaimed, “That’s unfair, man. That’s actual dollars spent. Tangible money. If it doesn’t roll over, where does it go?”

Lehman senior and film major Robert Velasquez disagreed: “It’s a good program…If you forget your cash, you’re able to use the card to buy some food.”

Junior Waverliey Torres, a Biology major who has used Dining Dollars in the past, commented: “It’s nothing amazing.  I don’t really eat at the café too often anymore, so I don’t know how much I’m saving.”

Jesus Hopped the A Train Wows Audience

By J. Manuel Rivera Cortes

Poster courtesy of Lehman Stages.

Poster courtesy of Lehman Stages.

“Jesus Hopped the A Train” opened in the Studio Theatre Oct. 17. The production received a standing ovation once the curtain fell.  The contemporary play was written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, who has been part of the New York theatre scene for the past 20 years. He won the 2015 Pulitzer for drama for “Between Riverside and Crazy”. This play is the third Guirgis original to grace a Lehman stage, following “Motherfucker with the Hat” in fall of 2013 and “Our Lady of 121 Street” in the winter of 2008.

Directed by Lehman Theatre professor Jennifer McCabe, the play entailed moments of humor as well as addressing serious themes like disillusionment in society.  

“Jesus Hopped the A Train” follows the lives of two convicts on Rikers Island: Angel Cruz, played by Giovanni Ortiz, Lucius Jenkins, played by Jonathan Carter. Cruz is a young Puerto Rican man arrested for shooting a religious leader, Reverend Kim, who he believes to be the leader of a cult that brainwashed his best friend. Matters take an unexpected turn when Reverend Kim dies during surgery, and Cruz is charged with his death.

Jenkins on the other hand is a serial killer who has connected with his lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Cruz must come to terms with the consequences of his actions, while Jenkins fails to take responsibility for his own.  Both men are transformed by the sadistic Officer Valdez, played by Shantelle Watkins. She takes them on a journey that causes them to accept  their circumstances.  

Ortiz and Carter put on rousing performances as murderers. McCabe implemented serious themes, while incorporating levity and humor.  The initial exchange between Jenkins and Cruz was tense yet humorous. Lou’s positive spirit complemented Angel’s pessimism in a comedic way. McCabe was able to direct the actors in a way that created a balance between the gravity of the situation and the lighthearted moments.   The audience was overcome with laughter when Valdez was attempting to break Jenkins spirit and Lou commented, “I have rights.” 

“Carter does an amazing job relaying the inner conflict of his character.”

– Lehman senior Albert Huertas, a history major

The revelation about Lou’s fate resulted in gasps from the audience. Senior Albert Huertas, a history major, said, “I was shocked, I thought Lou was gonna beat it. Carter does an amazing job relaying the inner conflict of his character.”

Lehman alumna Cynthia La Cruz Jimenez said, “It was so great! They did an amazing job.” Albert Huertas agreed: “I don’t normally like plays, but this was freaking sweet!”  

The eight student actors were transformed by their onstage experiences. Watkins said, “My journey has been impactful. I believe in [McCabe’s] vision. She allowed us to grow as actors and as students.”  

Senior Christine D’Onofrio, who played Mary Jane Hanrahan, concurred: “This experience has been life changing and eye opening to me…[McCabe] is extremely good at constructive criticism. We respect and trust her.”

Contemporary Art Expresses Fantastical Reality

By Teresa Fanzo

Peter Hamlin’s “Living Matrix Palace.” Photo by Teresa Fanzo.

A new exhibit at Lehman College Art Gallery, Castles in the Sky: Fantasy Architecture in Contemporary Art, features architecture with a twist, conjuring an imaginative reality.

The show, which opened on October 13, 2018, highlights the work of artists from different backgrounds and aesthetics. Lehman senior Eric Ramirez, a graphic design major, observed, “The artists are creating works that push the boundaries of architecture in ways that reflect their individual stories and life experiences”. 

Some artists chose to go to extreme lengths by making enormous sculptures while others created simple paintings drenched with symbolism. Robert Hite’s “River Tower, 2007” is an example of one these huge sculptures. The impossible-seeming sculpture droops at the top, almost like a dying flower, representing the merging of fantasy and reality by standing tall despite its sad droopy quality. 

Gustovo Acosta’s “Eclipse.” Photo by Teresa Fanzo.

Robert Hite’s “River Tower.” Photo courtesy of Marie-Claire Milius.

Robert Hite’s “River Tower.” Photo courtesy of Marie-Claire Milius.

Julie Langsam expresses this idea more directly in her painting, “Gropius Landscape (Master’s House Kandinsky / Klee), 2014,” which shows a modern house with a cloudy sky. The bottom half of the painting is abstract with three big blocks, each containing different patterns made up of smaller blocks. The colors in the bottom half are similar to the ones in the top, a movement which represents reality shifting into the abstract.

Laurent Chéhère’s painting “Cabaret, 2017” is smaller, at 90 x 90 cm. The painting shows a floating house with an elephant hanging at the bottom. The artist brings her own twist by adding things to fit the theme of a carnival, such as a doll face and a lollipop as well as the elephant, likewise showing the merging of reality and fantasy. 

The strange elements are what seem unreal here, the doll face especially, all turning out to be real things. The fantasy element comes with floating sky. This modestly sized painting also shows that within the exhibition space, not one size or type of piece overpowers another. 

All the pieces in the gallery use architecture to represent the idea of the convergence of fantasy and reality, while fostering an atmosphere of wonder. The artists featured in the exhibit created pieces that portrayed the unimaginable, impractical, and inspiring designs for architecture that tests their own boundaries and reality itself in ways that are almost shocking. 

Lehman senior and art major Jadie Meprivert said, “Each piece is able to shine.”

New Halloween Is the Goriest Yet

By Hector Bello

Promotional poster for “Halloween.” Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Four decades after its original release in 1978, “Halloween” leaves fans with mixed feelings.

“Halloween” tells the story of sixty-year-old serial killer Michael Myers, who murdered his sister Judith in 1963 and was locked up until his escape in 1978. Since then, Myers continuously returns to his quiet hometown in Illinois to prey on new victims.

In its 40-year run, the franchise has had tremendous success with 11 films about the infamous Michael Myers, played by actor Nick Castle. The first movie grossed a total of $70 million worldwide. The newest movie grossed a total of $77.5 million in its first week, topping the box office for the month of October.
Michael Myers kills the most people in the 2018 film -- a total of 17. Throughout the movie, Myers sadistically terrorizes his victims. In one scene, he steps on his psychiatrist’s head. In another, he pins one of his victims to the wall with a knife. He also destroys a man’s jaw and takes out all the teeth of another man.
The gruesome, bloody scenes evoked skepticism in audience members like Lisa Sheridan, a student from the CUNY Graduate Center. She commented: “Long on gore, short on plot. The movie serves its market ‘date night movies for high schoolers’. I tend to fuse ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Halloween’ in my mind because they were so similar.”
Other students appreciated the film’s dark humor. Alana Johnson, a York College graduate, said, “my favorite scene was when the killer went into the house of the babysitter and the kid ran downstairs screaming that he saw the Boogeyman. That was funny.”    
Funny or not, the bloodshed is relentless. Michael Myers is shot and stabbed repeatedly in the movie but does not die. Spoiler alert: in the end, Myers’ sister, Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis), locks him in a gas chamber inside her basement and burns him alive. Injured, she manages to make it out of the house alive after a final fight with the serial killer. 

Her survival is an example of one way the film goes in a new direction. Most of the previous movies, with the exception of “Halloween III,” show Strode running away from her brother, who wants to kill her after he murders her immediate family. However, this time their roles have been reversed, with Strode now much stronger and ready to defend herself against her brother.
The alteration satisfied some fans. “The new twist did a lot of justice to the franchise,” said Jason Moreno. “It was a solid movie…[with] nothing stupid.”

Johnson agreed, “I don’t really like horror movies. However, it was a great movie and I don’t regret coming.”
To all the gore and horror fans, “Halloween” will not disappoint.