Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Halloween (Carpenter, 1978)

This could well be the most pointless review in existence - chances are, you've all seen it (if you haven't, shame on you!). And read umpteen million reviews about it. But tonight, for the first time in quite a while, I rewatched one of the movies that will always have a lasting impression on me - and memories of hiding behind a pillow whilst watching it in my early teenage years. So take this as more of an appreciation, rather than a review, if you will. And it'll also be quite short. And would have perhaps been more appropriate a few days ago. But I'm rarely appropriate, even at the best of times.

The film opens with a young Michael Myers killing his older sister - all shown from his POV, without knowing the viewpoint is that of a six year old boy, which makes it all the more disturbing when he is revealed. And, a horror film staple, we even get to see some boobies before the movie's even properly started. Hooray! Fast-forward to fifteen years later, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), Michael's psychiatrist, is on his way to the institution Michael has spent the last decade and a half in, but finds that his patient has escaped. Michael makes his way to Haddonsfield, his old hometown, and begins to stalk local teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends. On Halloween night, whilst Laurie is babysitting, Michael watches...

The film may not exhibit the most perfectionist style of filmmaking - with notable continuity errors and general goofs (how many did you spot?). However, there are some brilliant choices made with the shooting - from the shaky camerawork, to the POV shots, giving a genuinely creepy, voyeuristic feel...and the way Michael appears and disappears seamlessly in the background of shots...eerie as fuck. One thing every true classic horror movie needs is a score - check! The repeated Halloween theme is a perfect contribution to the tension-building moments.

Taking inspiration from Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), Halloween competently builds tension - in a similar way to the former, through subtleties rather than the constant, in your face jumpy moments commonplace in many modern 'slashers'. Although it has all the elements seen in your common slasher, it goes beyond that, and is far, far scarier than the gorefests that followed. Despite being over 30 years old, it hasn't become dated and stands the test of time as a true classic horror. At fourteen, I hid behind my pillow - and now at twenty two, I was still tempted to do the same...



  1. Awesome stuff Milly! Much imitated, never bettered. I haven't seen this film in ages, and now you've made me want to rewatch it instead of doing dissertation work. Dammit.

  2. Haha, thanks :) I watched it on Iplayer, I didn't realise it was shown on the good old BBC!

  3. Good ole iplayer. I never get tired of Halloween, or reading reviews of it for that matter, it's always interesting to hear what others have to say. Loving your work, Milly.