Guilty Pleasures: Julie Hyzy

Talk with me for even a little while and you won’t be surprised to learn I enjoy watching The Little Mermaid, The Princess Bride, and While You Were Sleeping, any time, any place, any day. These are great, upbeat, fun movies that I simply can’t walk past if they’re playing on TV.

The thing is—I don’t feel any guilt whatsoever when I lose myself for a couple of hours in the company of these films—and this post is supposed to be about Guilty Pleasures.

So, here goes…

One of my favorite movies, one that manages to inspire guilt and laughter at the same time…one that I quote with some regularity is…National Lampoon’s Animal House.

Yep, the frat party movie. The one with the dead horse. And the Deathmobile. And “That boy is a P-I-G, pig!” Oh, and the cucumber scene…

Animal House makes me laugh every time. Even though I know exactly why Flounder needs 1,000 marbles. Even as I cringe at the Fawn Lebowitz maneuver.

Now, you have to understand exactly why I love this film so much. You see, back around when this movie first came out, I’d joined a fraternity. In fact, I was the first female to be initiated into what had been an all-male chapter of Delta Sigma Pi at Loyola University in Chicago. Delta Sigma Pi isn’t all that different than Delta Tau Chi, the name of the fictional Faber College frat. And believe me, the similarities don’t end there.

“Thank you, sir. May I have another?”

We at Loyola didn’t have a frat house to call our own, but we did have hazing, just like the Faber frats did. No, I never got swatted on the rear end like Kevin Bacon did, but I do own a couple of those paddles, which to this day I keep proudly displayed … in a cardboard box in my basement.


Animal House inspired us to throw countless toga parties, pig roasts, and come up with creative ways to torture pledges. Just like Delta House in the movie, the chapter I pledged was close to folding. In this case, however, it had nothing to do with grade point averages, but the fact that there were only fourteen brothers left, and eight were about to graduate. Our pledge class numbered nineteen. They needed us.

“Damn glad to meet you.”

My eighteenth birthday was also our Hell Night—the do or die night. You make it through Hell Night and you’re guaranteed brotherhood. I spent it dressed as the Little Green Sprout, blindfolded, kept awake by singing and carousing for almost twenty-four hours. We pledges had been given assignments. No killing of animals involved, of course, but we were required to procure a tire from a 747 jet, five fire extinguishers, and a phone booth…


Maybe it’s no surprise that a handful of our pledge brothers did end up on the Loyola equivalent of Double Secret Probation our first semester. But we stood together as a pledge class, and when the chapter threatened to toss them overboard, we told them that if they go, we all go. To this day, our group remains tight. We may not see each other all that often, but when we get together, it’s always a blast.

“Ramming speed!”

So now you understand why Animal House speaks to me. Fortunately, it speaks to my husband as well. We’re not just married, we’re brothers. He and I lived through lots of Hell Nights together, ours and those of later classes where we got our turn to toy around with hapless pledges. To this day , when we hear John Belushi and his toga-wearing cohorts singing “Louie-Lou-eye,” we’re all in. Heck, we insisted that song and “Shout” be played at our wedding where all our brothers helped us celebrate.

Now you know my deep, dark guilty pleasure. And there’s really only one thing left to say:

“Food fight!”


Julie Hyzy is the author of the White House Chef Mystery series featuring Ollie Paras and the Manor House Mystery series featuring Grace Wheaton. She’s won the Anthony, Barry, and Lovey Awards for her novels, and the Derringer and Phobos Awards for her short fiction. She enjoys eavesdropping, sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong, and going out to dinner as often as she can manage. You can catch her on Facebook or at