Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Halloween (1978) Review:

If there is one film that director John Carpenter will be best known for, it'll be this slasher film. Taking his inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), John Carpenter creates a work that is quite honestly, one the most unsettling horror pictures any horror fan should see. And for the budget that it was made on, should amaze viewers even more. This is one of those rare gems that are hard to come by. There is one thing to pick on but it's not the most relevant of things.

Laurie Strode (Curtis) and her school friend
The story starts out about a small boy who is convicted of murder in 1963. Skip 15 years later, he breaks out of the asylum and returns to his hometown on Halloween night to seek more victims. Coming straight into this madman's path is a high school girl who has no rhyme or reason to meet him. It just so happens that fate was behind it. Playing the high school girl, Laurie Strode is now famous actress, Jaime Lee Curtis. Boy does Curtis have some hair in this movie. I'm so used to her having short hair.

But besides that, Curtis does a great job displaying her fear on screen. I think many can agree that anyone would react in the same way if they ran into this killer. Along with her is veteran actor Donald Pleasence who plays the killer's doctor, Dr. Loomis. Pleasence also puts in a good performance because he portrays how serious the situation is. And although he is not credited as Michael Myers and is instead called "The Shape", Nick Castle as the killer is also great at his role. A towering 6-foot giant is not a happy sight if he's carrying a kitchen knife with him and is wearing a white expressionless mask.

Is that NOT creepy?!?!?!
However, one of the more surprising things about this movie is that for gore, it's rather tame. There's only a body count of 5, total, and even the killing scenes are not that gruesome. That's nothing to knock at though. The way John Carpenter really makes this character effective is by making the killer elusive and creepy. When the killer is on screen, he doesn't talk and just stands around like a scarecrow, watching menacingly. Even creepier is how a character will see him one minute and the next he's gone. It's almost like he wasn't there to begin with. That's what's difficult to stomach. Imagine if there was someone like that in your neighborhood? Yeeesh.

However here's where I have to knock the film though. I wanted a little back-story about this killer. Why did he kill at such a young age? Was it intended? Was it out of curiosity? Or is there really a demon inhabiting the boy’s body? Why? And the audience will never have it answered. I wish that at least was explained. But that's it. Finally what topped off this work was John Carpenter's self composed score. There may have not been too many diverse tracks, but he did have a main theme for the franchise and the characters themselves, which made every scene memorable. In most tracks, a piano will play at either a quick or slow pace. But either way, it will get the chills going.

Thanks to John Carpenter's ingenuity, October 31rst will never quite feel the same again. The actors put in great performances, the music is tantalizingly cringe worthy and the killer himself is not to be reckoned with.

Points Earned --> 9:10


  1. Nice write-up.

    Classic of his best films. Up there with The Thing, Assault on Precinct 13 and Big Trouble In Little China.

  2. Thank you Ty & I agree, The Thing (1982) was beyond surprising....and unfortunately, I really wanted to like Big Trouble in Little China (1984).....I'm a Kurt Russell fan....but it didn't appeal to me =( I have a review on both of those too.