John Carpenter’s Halloween is a classic in the horror movie genre. It both influenced other movies to come but has also spawned it’s own franchise for better or worse. I first saw Halloween when I was quite young and then when I started collecting movies, I immediately picked this up and I am glad I did. With that being said let’s talk about Halloween.
Halloween introduces us to the small community of Haddonfeild where one Halloween night a young boy named Michael Myers murders his sister with no particular motivation. The movie opens up with the young boy who, dressed in his costume of a clown, stalks his sister from the outside of the house. He observes quietly in the dark as her boyfriend comes to see her and as young teenagers do, have to intimate fun.She comes off as quite slutty as the boyfriend comes in for a quick hit and run but then young Micheal comes into the house after observing all this creepily from the outside. And so his story and reign of terror begins.
He is institutionalized and followed up by a therapist played by Donald Pleasance. But as the years have gone by and Michael has grown up we are lead to believe by Sam Loomis (played by Donal Pleasance) that Michael is pure evil. Not just unresponsive but some sort of cunning behind it all. It’s unsettling to the viewer as typically we as an audience with these sorts of violent images almost need a reason. Why would he do such things? Also being a scary movie you wonder is there something perhaps paranormal to it all or is the child just deranged.
Michael escapes and heads back to Haddondfield. There he heads after Laurie Strode played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Dubbed the scream queen, looking back at it now I don’t see why. Laurie is practically a school girl in the sense that she is very reserved, uptight and needing to let loose. She has a bit of a rebelious side to her but not much. As the movie and subsequent deaths build up we finally have her fateful encounter with Meyers. Sure she screams but really in this day and age I have heard better but in context for her time she does a job well done.
We have Sam Loomis who spends his time running around Haddonfield stirring up how dangerous Michael is and eventually has his fateful encounter with him. But as the movie goes on and Michael gets his fair shake of injuries we are always left wondering is his normal with a high threshold for pain or is there something supernatural to him.
This them plays through the movie mainly near the end. For 3/4 o the movie where it builds on the relationship of Laurie, her friends and Sam Loomis who spreads the myth of the evil of Michael, we simply see him stalking the streets and following Laurie. This of course is all together human but something always seem’s not right about him.
As a horror movie character, Micheal is very subdued in appearance. He wears a black mechanic overall suite and a white mask of William Shatner. Just thinking about it should be funny right? But no, it really does come off as creepy and you really don’t notice the masks origins till it either clicks or you see the making of. He is not a hulking figure either however during moments he shows a superhuman violent rage.
The pacing of the movie is deliberately slow. As I have seen the movie with my friends the common complaint is how slow it gets to the action but that’s the point. The point is the buildup. You get to know the characters while seeing the occasional appearance of Michael as he as well gets to know everyone.It’s unsettling to see and worse of he is noticed in the movie as just a creepy guy playing Halloween pranks but as the viewer you know much better of what awaits them.
The atmosphere of the town as well as the set pieces is extremely well done. You really have the small town vibe where everyone knows literally everyone. You had the obligatory creepy house which was Myers house now long abandoned. Just having it pictured once in a while gave you the creeps. What lurked in the shadows there? Even if you knew Michael was not there it was still freaking creepy. And by the time the end comes we are left with more questions then answers and leaving very worried. This alone makes Halloween one of the more scary movies even to this day.
The music in Halloween is often ridiculed simply because of how simple it is. Literally it is John Carpenter player a few simple keys of a keyboard. It’s both so simplistic yet so freaking amazing. Why amazing? Because it works. If you would watch the movie without the score it would come off as being very dull but just few simple keyboard notes and the mood is established. For that I need to give John Carpenter some serious kudos.
Halloween while lagging behind in pacing at times is well worth the viewing. The movie as a whole goes to show everyone that sometimes showing less is more. Fear is established by atmosphere and the inevitable encounter with our monster / villain. For a villain who should be by all purposes a 2d wooden plank we get more dimensions to him then we bargained for. Halloween spawned a generation of terror and leaves it’s imprint on modern movies. Even if your not a fan of a much slower paced movie, Halloween is a movie that needs to at least be seen once to at least appreciate it’s influence. I don’t think you will be disappointed.http://youtu.be/8SFmmROBUto