August 18, 2007

Halloween (1978)

John Carpenter’s Halloween was an instant classic when it was released back in 1978. It was so ahead of it’s time in terms of genuine scares and frightening moments. Halloween defined what Horror movies really are. The movie is an assault on your nerves, and doesn’t let up for a minute.

The idea and theme is brilliant, a killer who kills on Halloween night and conceals his identity by wearing a creepy white Halloween mask.

The plot is simple, on Halloween night in 1963 little six year old Michael Myers puts on a nice clown Halloween costume and mask, grabs a long sharp kitchen knife and murders his older sister. He’s than later committed to Smith’s Grove mental institution. There he is assigned to Dr. Loomis who informs us that he spent 8 years trying to reach Michael, and than another 7 years trying to keep him locked up.

Before Michael is about to be transported to different facility he somehow escapes. Gets a hold of the car Dr. Lomis drove up in, and than the fun begins, if you want to call it that. Michael returns home to Haddonfield, Illinois and hunts down Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis, this is her first feature film) and some of Laurie’s unfortunate friends along the way. Not far behind is Loomis on his trail.

What separates Michael Myers from other famous horror killers like Jason from Friday the 13th, or Freddy kruger, is that Michael is a silent psychotic stalker that is surprisingly believable. He moves around quietly and fast, he says nothing and wastes no time at killing anyone.

With Freddy and the Nightmare on Elm Street movies you have humorous jokes and wacky special effects. If you don’t want him to get you, don’t sleep and try to stay awake as much as you can. If you don’t want Jason to get you, well, avoid going to summer camp and Crystal lake. Jason always hangs out there. However, with Michael Myers, he can be anywhere at anytime. He’s like a real life ex-boy friend stalker that won’t quit.

Halloween was filmed on a low budget of 300,000 and shot in 20 days. The original classic theme still remains to be one of the scariest horror movie themes in history. The movie’s soundtrack is just as scary as the movie itself.

Rob Zombie’s remake version of Halloween will open in two weeks. I’m very anxious to see what he does with the story. I’ve heard rumors that he is gonna have Michael talk for the first time, and we get to see more of Michael as a child in the mental institution and how he broke out when he got older. If Zombie respects the material as much as he says he does, than I hope he doesn’t change it too much. Yet he still needs to give us something fresh and new since this is his new take on the Halloween series. I’m very excited to see what he has in store for us.

I personally don’t watch many horror movies, I get scared very easily. Plus a lot of horrors today are just gore fests, very demonic and satanic, and only aimed at a teenage audience. There were some surprises this year for me that I liked. I really enjoyed 1408, and I absolutely loved Shia Leboeuf in Disturbia.

As for Carpenter’s Halloween, it’s so effective in every scene and every time the erie music plays. Carpenter takes advantage of the shadows, the light, and the simple mistakes people make every day, like leaving the back or front door unlocked. He knows how to tap into our greatest fears. With Halloween, it’s what we don’t see coming that is truly terrifying, Michael can be anywhere.

Halloween is the reason people love horror movies, and the reason I don’t. But I can’t deny the work and talent and story telling that’s on screen. It’s a timeless horror classic.

Zav’s movie reviews :)