Halloween. The good Halloween. One of the first, if not the first movie credited with the popularization of the teenage slasher sub-genre of horror in Hollywood. But why did Michael Myers get so popular? He didn’t have a smartass personality like Freddy, nor a huge body count like Jason. So why was he so successful in scaring audiences? Well, he’s basically a living homing missile: once he has his sights set on someone, they, and everyone around them are toast… and he’ll follow them to the ends of the earth to finish the job.
I remember as a kid watching this movie for the first time, with one question: why? Only later on to realize there is no why, not unless “because” would be a legitimate answer. This was before all the fancy added scenes to the movie, which they sometimes decide to play on the television, so I was basically clueless… which kind of adds to the suspense (in my opinion). Halloween is one of those rare slasher movies where not having a known reason (at the time) for mindlessly killing people actually works. Why? Well friends, read on.
Released in 1978 (and taking less than a month to create, I believe) Halloween revolves around Jamie Lee Curtis’s character, Laurie Strode, and her friends, as they try to escape the mad man, Michael Myers. Secondarily, it also revolves around Dr. Sam Loomis, played by Donald Pleasance, and his never-ending quest to stop Myers.
The movie starts off simple enough: a young Michael running around his home with his Halloween costume. However, things take a turn for the worse when he finds his older sister and her date fooling around inside the house… his answer is to kill her. This begins his slippery slope into madness, and he is immediately sent to a psychiatric facility.
From this point on (after skipping ahead a few years later) we are now in the “modern” point of the movie, with Laurie and her friends in high school. Michael has just escaped from his facility in time for Halloween, though only the police know this, thanks to Sam Loomis; and he plans to go on an even larger killing spree than before.
One thing that the movie has going for it from the beginning is that Michael is a slow, silent, and calculating killer. The movie itself tries to play off of this, going at Michael’s pace: he never once runs, because he never has to, and neither does the movie. Try as Laurie and her friends might, they simply can’t escape him regardless, and he almost always strikes when no one is expecting it.
As far as acting goes, Jamie Lee Curtis and (especially) Donald Pleasance stole the show. While I wouldn’t say that anyone else did a bad job, they were suppose to be ditzy teenagers afterall, there are certainly some pieces of dialog that should “totally” be taken out of the movie (+1 if you get the reference). And as far as Michael goes, there isn’t much to say about him in terms of dialog, but Nick Castle did capture the creepiness of a slow methodical killer, throughout the whole movie.
The movie itself, much like Michael, moves along very nicely. This isn’t a movie that really jumps all over the place too much, trying to get you to understand and feel for a dozen different people, there are three main parts to this movie: Laurie, Loomis (with the police) and Laurie’s friends. There isn’t really much gore or profanity to speak of either, which isn’t a bad thing in the slightest, as this movie tend to try more to psych people as compensation… but if you want something like that, “modern horror” like the Halloween remake (gross gross gross) might be more up your ally.
Overall this movie, especially by comparison today, is one of the better slashers out there, since you not only get a slice of teen bloodshed, but you can also get some psychological thrills out of it… granted, it could be said that the slasher sub-genre itself has begun to show it’s age, I would still argue that this is still one of the top flicks from that area. Not to mention, if you can’t help but want more, the sequel quite literally picks up where part one left off… so you can (if you desire) get over three hours of Michael Myers all in the same story arc! 10/10
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get some particularly awesome screen shots from the movie, so I can’t really put in any of those this time around. Rest assured, I’ll add them in sometime when I get around to it.
Also, keep an eye out next Wednesday, because I will be reviewing Halloween II!