J's Review of Halloween
Halloween, without a doubt one of the best horror films ever made. It's definitely a classic in the genre. You have a lead character who you root for and is likeable, a villain who's always mysterious and is frightening, an endless amount of tension, a high level of suspense and dread, a Hitchcock-esque atmosphere, and a good story.
The film was directed by filmmaking legend John Carpenter, who, at the time, was hot off the success of his low-budget independent action thriller Assault on Precinct 13, and was asked to make a horror film by Irwin Yablans. So, a script was written by Carpenter and his close friend, Debra Hill, titled "The Babysitter Murders". Over time, the script was re-titled Halloween and was now set on Halloween night. The film was made on a budget of $325,000 and was released in 1978. Over time, people loved this film and is now the highest-grossing independent film of all time, with a gross of $70 million.
The film starts off with Carpenter's forever-awesome Halloween theme as the very well-done opening credits roll. We begin in 1963 on Halloween night. A little boy named Michael Myers is a normal, average, everyday 6-year-old kid, until this night. He suddenly snaps. Through his POV, he grabs a butcher knife from the kitchen, heads up to his sister's room, and stabs her to death. When his parents come home and take his mask off, he holds the knife with no sign of emotion.
Fifteen years later, the character everybody remembers and loves, Dr. Loomis, played brilliantly by Donald Pleasence, drives to Saint Grove Sanitarium with a nurse. It's a very rainy night. As they pull over, Michael escapes the sanitarium, attacks Loomis and the nurse, steals the car, and drives off to his hometown of Haddonfield.
In Haddonfield, we meet our protagonist Laurie Strode, played very well by Jamie Lee Curtis in her acting debut. She has to babysit her 8-year-old neighbor Tommy Doyle tonight. You can think of Laurie as the horror film equivalent of a girl scout. She's a kind, strong, and smart individual, and you root for her because you really like her. She's got two best friends: Annie, the daughter of the local sheriff, and Lynda, the cheerleader who likes to use the word "totally" a lot. The three of them are likeable.
Sheriff Leigh Brackett (get it? Like Leigh Brackett, co-writer of Empire Strikes Back and Rio Bravo?) is investigating a warehouse store where he assumes some kids stole a Halloween mask and some knives (or is it?). Loomis heads to Haddonfield and meets up with Brackett about the current situation he's involved him. Although a bit reluctant, Brackett agrees to help.
Michael Myers begins stalking Laurie, like any other typical psychopath. But when she first notices, he's there, and when she looks back for a second time, he's gone. This is part of the reason why Michael works as a horror villain: he's always mysterious. He needs no explanation for his evil. He's mysterious. We love mystery, we love suspense, we love the unknown, there is a fear of the unknown, something the people who made Halloween 6 forgot about. So Michael isn't technically human.
So, the night where kids are trick-or-treating, people are throwing parties, and everybody is wearing costumes. Laurie's babysitting Tommy at his house, and Annie is babysitting Lindsey Wallace, a friend of Tommy's. Annie wants to go out with her boyfriend Paul, so she asks Laurie to babysit her as well. But before she could drive, Michael pops up from the back seat and attacks her as some creepily eerie music plays. He finally kills her by slitting her throat. Notice how there's hardly any blood or gore. Carpenter didn't want to do a gory slasher; he wanted to make a truly scary Hitchcockian horror thriller, focusing on suspense, tension, dread, and atmosphere rather than gallons of blood. In that regard, he succeeded triumphantly.
Lynda drives to Annie's house with her boyfriend Bob, who looks like a mix-up of Chris Stuckmann, James Rolfe, Lou Taylor Pucci, Lucas Till, Miles Teller, Skylar Astin, Oliver Cooper, the Hemsworth brothers, and every high school guy and/or nerd with glasses combined into one, to make out, drink beer, and have sex. But Michael shows up. He kills Bob by pinning him to a wall and stabbing him in the chest with a knife. Michael then kills Lynda by strangling her with a telephone cord. In case you ask, yes, you do get to see Lynda's tits in this scene.
Loomis and the sheriff enter the old, abandoned Myers house where Loomis discusses Michael. When he first met him, he saw that his eyes were some of the blackest and darkest he's ever seen. He believed those were the eyes of the Devil himself, and what he saw in Michael was nothing but pure and simple evil. Michael isn't human; he's really the incarnation of evil itself.
As Laurie, Lindsey, and Tommy watch the classic sci-fi horror thriller The Thing from Another World (oh, the irony), Tommy keeps noticing Michael, whom he refers to as the Boogeyman. Laurie checks on Annie's house. She finds the dead Annie on a bed with Michael's sister's tombstone on the pillows. She's truly horrified, and then out of nowhere, Bob's corpse swings by upside down. You can tell from her screams that this shit is really damn scary. She finds the dead Lynda in a drawer. Popping out of nowhere, Michael stabs her in the shoulder and she ends up falling, landing on the stairs. The horror is already getting real, motherfuckers.
She runs away to Tommy's house, terrified beyond relief, and as she gets in, Michael pops up from behind the couch and she stabs him in the neck with a knitting needle. He drops dead and she catches up with Tommy and Lindsey. The Boogeyman's here and she killed him. But Tommy points out that nobody can kill the Boogeyman, so as it turns out: Michael can't be killed no matter how hard one might try. After we get my favorite scary scene in the movie where Laurie hides in the closet and Michael attacks, she undoes a clothes hanger, pokes him in the eye with it, he drops the knife, Laurie grabs it, and she stabs him with it.
But the horror isn't over yet. Michael attacks Laurie and she pushes him and takes off his mask. We get a brief (I repeat, BRIEF) glimpse of his face as he puts his mask back on. Loomis shows up to save the day. He shoots Michael six times and Michael finally drops off the balcony, lying dead on the dirt and grass. Laurie asks Loomis if Michael was the Boogeyman, to which Loomis replies, "As a matter of fact...it was". Loomis looks out at the balcony and Michael is gone. This speculates that Michael could be anywhere at any time. We hear Michael's heavy breathing through the background. This scene also proves a point John Carpenter wanted to make while making this movie: Evil never dies.
FINAL SCORE: 10/10
This is one of the most chilling and terrifying films to come along in years. The actors all did good jobs, the script was very well-done, John Carpenter did a fantastic job directing the film and doing the music, the amount of tension was endless, and the atmosphere was horrific. Halloween is truly a classic in the horror genre.
Oh, I forgot to mention: How did Michael find his costume? He killed a mechanic and stole his suit and wore it. And Judith's grave was stolen by Michael from the local cemetery. Have a happy Halloween, bitches.