Day 1 of 31
Halloween (1978) (Horror, thriller, 1978) (18) D: John Carpenter W: John Carpenter (screenplay), Debra Hill (screenplay) C: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran. 1h 31m. USA.
Synopsis : The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it’ll be too late for many people.
TAGLINE : HE came home for HALLOWEEN.
A mighty birth of a monster movie, Halloween has captured the hearts of many horror fans over the years because it simply is great horror movie on so many levels. It’s not just simply a mindless slasher hulk but it’s also a shocking thriller too.
Inspired by various news clippings detailing gruesome murders and horrific real stalker and slasher events, Carpenter managed to cobble the pieces together in a Bryan Singer fashion; when outlining the cult classic Usual Suspects (1995).
Halloween is traditionally supposed to be a scary time of year but it’s been watered down into something that children can now enjoy, it’s also that time of year when every stranger has a mask. The beauty of this movie is that it simultaneously gives Halloween a new face and instantly hides it be beneath a white latex William Shatner mask.
The bare bones of the film is that Michael Myers goes insane as a child and slaughters his family, after years of stonewalling his psychiatrist, he breaks out on a mission to find his only blood relative, his little sister. The film plod along at a steady pace, Carpenter manages to keep an air of tension right through as Michael’s menacing statuesque figure is often scene just hovering out of sight or just simply standing like a monolith watching his sister Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis).
Carpenter was just about finding his footing with violent horror around the time of making this classic. It came only a couple of years after Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and amalgamates all of the terror of a street gang into one man. actually i think Michael is much more frightening and did more damage than The Street Thunder gang!?? There are lots of long scenes flowing with the main characters either walking down safe neighbour streets and yet somewhere in the background lurks an insane killer. It’s like a homicidal where’s wally at times then at other times we have this huge stoic beast stood before us before lunging in for some of the most violent kills seen.
The film was made on a shoestring budget and it’s almost like the crew were having fun, you’ll notice Carpenter’s cigarette smoke puffing into ransom scenes and crew members reflecting in items or just getting out of shot. There are lots of handycam scenes just purely due to the lack of money, it aids the style of the film no end as forces the viewer into the role of the victim.
The screenplay isn’t amazing,but what’s not said or played through is what makes this film scarier. Michael’s character never says a word, he gives no motive and certainly doesn’t give an apologies as his absent words are made up for by his killer instincts. As mentioned the style of the film forces you into the role of the victim, bobbing down the road, looking over the shoulder, but you can’t avert your eyes or blink. Topped off with a classic Carpenter soundtrack you have the creepy halloween inspired music and foreboding thumping heart beat of his electronic wizardry.
While Jamie Lee played an amazing petrified teen, and Michels character is developed through the viewer trying to comprehend his motives, we can’t forget the real driving force and narrator of this movie, Dr Samuel Loomis, the wild eyed passionate doctor who tried to understand and confront the beast that is Michael Myers while protecting his sister. His commentary throughout the movie, like a parental conscious.
While it bring together lots on interesting aspects of horror, a voiceless killer, masked killers, all happening on the one night where no one wants to open their doors and no one thinks to question a stranger in a cool outfit. As with Satan’s Little Helper (2004) halloween is really the one night you can get away with murder…
Providing you can deal with the repetitive soundtrack and retro horror,you will get a LOT out if this movie and welcome a new breed of villain into your psyche.
V: I adore this early slasher movie that obviously will remain a cult classic,spawning all sorts of campfire tales and urban legends, with is curious silent stalker a true embodiment of why we should really be afraid at halloween.
Rating – 9/10
R: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Friday the 13th (1980), Satan’s Little Helper (2004)
L:Halloween Movies, Slasherepic movies, Stalker movies, Silent Killers
5: John Carpenter, Slasher films.