Dir.: John Carpenter
Producer(s): Debra Hill
Writer(s): John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Company: Compass International
Starring: Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis, PJ Soles, Nancy Loomis.
We’ve arrived at one of the big juggernauts of horror.
Even if you’re not a fan of horror, you know the big ones: Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. This blog is about diving deeper into the horror genre and discussing other films that are underrated or overlooked but occasionally we have to talk about the big ones and today, it’s John Carpenter’s 1978 film Halloween.
I thought about re-watching this just for kicks but then I remembered mostly everything, I’ve seen it countless times, I think I also watched it around October for 31 scary movies in the entire month so it’s a movie that you can’t forget about.
1970s horror films are probably underrated but very cool to watch and not many talk about some of the other greats out of this decade (Phantasm, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Wicker Man, Carrie, The Omen, Black Christmas, The Brood) but those are ironically coming very soon to be talked about. Back to Halloween.
It’s the night he came home. It’s the debut of Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s about babysitters being stalked and the introduction to one of the horror icons, Michael Myers. Though now I can’t take him too seriously thanks to The Merkins’ video parody of Careless Whisper featuring Michael Myers.
When it comes to the lighting, the coloring or even the cinematography of Halloween, a lot of the great parts of that happen at night. There’s the first shot of the house in the beginning of the film, the steady shot of going around the house, peeking through the window, that POV is great. Another great one off the top of my head is obviously the climax of the film, Michael versus Laurie. The moment when we see Michael rise up from being poked in the eye with a hanger and just the pure silence of that entire scene.
It just seems like to me that the best things about this film happen at night. The daytime scenes are kind of meh minus Laurie seeing Michael in the backyard and whatnot. But again, Michael is also the focal point, not really about the rest of the friends and their chit chat.
I personally don’t look at Halloween for the cinematography like I would for A Nightmare on Elm Street or The Shining where it seems very surreal. Halloween is grounded in reality, at least for this first interpretation of Michael Myers being human. But I guess even with that theory for the later films, I still wouldn’t look to Halloween. What I think this movie does best is tell a story, build up that story and the ending is very much a good result of the storytelling. I remember an interview where Carpenter mentions about filming Halloween’s ending and the fact that Pleasance (Loomis) asked how to play it off: either being shocked/angry of Michael’s disappearance or the one used in the film, Loomis not being surprised at all. That latter option is so much more effective like… he just knew Michael lives and escaped and is out there waiting and watching.
Eventually, Halloween II will be discussed on this blog but no time soon. There are quite a few other movies to get to if I continue the path of which film was posted in order.
I feel like if you’re a fan of horror or films in general, you’ve seen Halloween. I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t seen that.