Every some odd years a horror film comes out that pushes the genre in a new direction, that comes up with a new way to terrify people. That stands out amongst any other horror film. In the year 1978 we witnessed the birth of the new face of horror. Halloween isn't the first slasher film, it's predecessors include Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974). However, Halloween is the one that terrified audiences into the transition of the slasher genre.
The story goes that John Carpenter and Debra Hill wrote the script titled "The Babysitter Murders" about a masked man who stalks the streets on Halloween killing any babysitter he can literally get his hands on. John and Debra took this film to such studios as Paramount Pictures and others to only be declined. They were told the script is too scary and "no one will want to see it", but John and Debra didn't give up that easy. They decided they were going to release the film through an independent company called Compass International, independent film companies don't worry too much about reception and aren't afraid to take any heat. Halloween ended up breaking independent film records in grossing's and was a smash hit that everyone was going to see and talking about. Soon after the immediate success of Halloween, those same studios that declined Carpenter and Hill's script now saw the value and that people do want to see it.
However, after already being declined, John and Debra refused the studios' offers. So in the heat of not being able to buy the licence, those studios such as Paramount had to find another way to cash in on the slasher genre. That's how you get Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, they're the studios' versions of Michael Myers. So yes to all you Jason fanatics and Freddy Fanatics, Michael is the grandaddy and Jason and Freddy are creative imitations. I love all of the Friday the 13TH and A Nightmare On Elm Street films and I've been there since the beginning, but Halloween takes the cake.
DID YOU KNOW?
HALLOWEEN WAS JAMIE LEE CURTIS' FIRST FEATURE FILM AND SHE WAS REPORTEDLY GETTING $8,000 FOR THE ROLE OF LAURIE STRODE.
Through all of the years both before Halloween was made and after, one thing remains true to this day and that is that Halloween is the golden standard, the measuring stick in which all slasher films and horror films in general are compared. It's the golden child of horror. Without Halloween we wouldn't have the slasher genre and we wouldn't have Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees. Halloween changed the playing field, it gave horror films a new opportunity to do something truly terrifying. Halloween is my favorite horror film of all-time and I truly believe it's the greatest horror film ever made.
Just from the opening credits you knew you were in for something that was going to chill you to your marrow, that theme playing and plucking at your nerves as you felt the suspense instantly. This is what would become the greatest horror movie theme of all-time, everyone knows that theme. It's as common a part of music as the billboard charts. Even people who haven't seen the film know the theme and that says a lot. I remember the theme scaring the hell out of me, I knew this was something special right of the bat.
The opening scene of Michael's POV as he watches his sister Judith and her boyfriend go upstairs for a quickie is just downright creepy. You can smell the bad intentions little Michael has in the air. Soon after her boyfriend leaving Judith is brushing her hair when we see little Michael put his mask on and we watch him stab her multiple, multiple times until she's dead. Michael then walks out side and is confronted by his parents and we see that Michael is wearing a clown costume, which is funny because grown Michael was originally supposed to wear a clown mask but they changed that last minute. After seeing this scene there really isn't too much you can say, I remember glued to my seat and speechless.
DR. LOOMIS: I MET HIM, FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. I WAS TOLD THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT. NO REASON, NO CONSCIENCE, NO UNDERSTANDING; EVEN THE MOST RUDIMENTARY SENSE OF LIFE OR DEATH, GOOD OR EVIL, RIGHT OR WRONG. I MET THIS SIX-YEAR-OLD CHILD, WITH THIS BLANK, PALE, EMOTIONLESS FACE AND, THE BLACKEST EYES...THE *DEVIL'S* EYES. I SPENT EIGHT YEARS TRYING TO REACH HIM, AND THEN ANOTHER SEVEN TRYING TO KEEP HIM LOCKED UP BECAUSE I REALIZED WHAT WAS LIVING BEYOND THAT BOY'S EYES WAS PURELY AND SIMPLY...*EVIL*.
15 years later, we're introduced to a Laurie Strode played by a young Jamie Lee Curtis. Carpenter drilled it into you from the first time you see her that she's pure at heart and a kind, loving person. And thus making us so scared for her when she has to face the monster that is Michael Myers. We don't find out that Michael is Laurie strode's brother until the sequel, because that wasn't Carpenter's first idea of where to go with the film. Laurie Strode is a great character and played perfectly and convincingly.
We're introduced to Dr. Sam Loomis played by Donald Pleasence, he's driving to a mental institution with a new nurse, telling her how dangerous Michael is as they slowly start to realize that the inmates are lose. Loomis goes to check on the situation and Michael soon after sneaks away in Loomis' car. Loomis adds such dimension to this film, it wouldn't be the same without his character. Having been Michael's psychiatrist, he knows how Michael thinks and becomes the hero of the film, the only one who can take Myers down.
I remember the scene where Michael is outside of Laurie's class window watching her, and when Laurie sees him. Truly chilling scene. Downright creepy. As Loomis predicts, Michael has come home on Halloween. 15 years after he murdered his sister. Back to do it again. There's just so many things about this film that work, it's a work of art. A masterpiece. Halloween is to horror what The Godfather was to drama. The white mask, so daunting and cold, creepy. A blank canvas for you to project your worst fears.
DID YOU KNOW?
ALL THE ACTORS WORE THEIR OWN CLOTHES, SINCE THERE WAS NO MONEY FOR A COSTUME DEPARTMENT. JAMIE LEE CURTIS WENT TO J.C. PENNY FOR LAURIE STRODE'S WARDROBE. SHE SPENT LESS THAN A HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR THE ENTIRE SET.
The kills in this movie were nothing short of frightening. The thing about Michael is that he can be anywhere and doing anything. Watching you, studying you and preying on you. Myers is an alpha male with no heart, no soul, no emotion and no motive. Motivated only by his desire to do very bad things.
I think that another thing that makes this movie stand out is that all of the kills stand out and are memorable. You recall every one of these kills because they're sprinkled with a big dose of suspense and the fact that Michael is such a mystery makes it even more terrifying. When he dresses as the ghost, acting like Lynda's boyfriend, I think every audience was terrified and metaphorically crapping their pants. Especially after watching how brutal and scary the death of Lynda's boyfriend was, and possibly the most iconic and memorable at that. Leaving him impaled to the wall with a butcher knife inches off the ground. As he creeps up on Lynda as she's on the phone and the music kicks it it's truly nail biting suspense.
The scene where he kills Annie is also a very terrifying scene. She goes to her car to see that it's locked, so she goes back inside the house to get her keys. When she returns and gets into the car she realizes that the door wasn't locked like it had been moments before. Michael comes up from the backseat and murders her ruthlessly. This is a scene where if you have a girl with you, she's squeezing the hell out of your hand and or turning her head. And the thing is, I don't even think it's the scariest part of the whole ordeal with Annie, I think his stalking her was scarier, how he was watching her in her house, while she was doing laundry and even killing her dog.
LYNDA: [CONCERNING ANNIE] THE ONLY REASON SHE BABY SITS IS TO HAVE A PLACE FOR...
LAURIE: [REALIZING SHE FORGOT ONE OF HER SCHOOL BOOKS] SH*T.
ANNIE BRACKETT: I HAVE A PLACE FOR *THAT*!
LAURIE: I FORGOT MY CHEMISTRY BOOK.
LYNDA: SO WHO CARES? I ALWAYS FORGET MY CHEMISTRY BOOK AND MY MATH BOOK, AND MY ENGLISH BOOK, AND MY, LETS SEE, MY FRENCH BOOK, AND...WELL WHO NEEDS BOOKS ANYWAY. I DON'T NEED BOOKS, I ALWAYS FORGET ALL MY BOOKS, I MEAN, IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER IF YOU HAVE YOUR BOOKS OR NOT...HEY, ISN'T THAT DEVON GRAHAM?
Then of course Laurie goes and gets suspicious as to why all of her friends are disappearing and not answering their phones. She pursues them by going to Annie's house and in lies the epic conclusion to the best slasher film to ever grace the screen. So many memorable scenes that're frightening and shocking! Laurie hiding in the closet as Michael destroys the closet door to get inside and get at her. Him sitting up in back of her while she weeps with her back turned to him. Dr. Loomis coming to save the day and running Michael off, saving Laurie but also leaving her completely traumatized.
She is forced to accept the fact that she was face to face with the boogeyman. Loomis discovers Michael's body is missing and realizes that you can't kill pure evil and that sooner or later he'll be back. This film ends with you seeing Michael's POV as he watches around the neighborhood, adding to the scares and suspense of this is his heavy breathing, sounding vacant and sinister.
Halloween went on to spawn 6 sequels, none of which lives up to their predecessor but are enjoyable. In 2007 Rob Zombie did the remake of Halloween to generally negative reviews.
DID YOU KNOW?
INSIDE LAURIE'S BEDROOM THERE IS A POSTER BY JAMES ENSOR (1860-1949). ENSOR WAS A BELGIAN EXPRESSIONIST WHO USED TO PORTRAY HUMAN FIGURES WEARING GROTESQUE MASKS.
Halloween isn't a film that's replaceable. It isn't going anywhere and there's no outdoing it. It cemented it's feet in the horror genre over 30 years ago and hasn't aged a day. Michael Myers is at the forefront of horror icons and will forever remain there. He's somewhat of a pop culture phenomenon, with merchandise of just about any thing you can think of and especially some awesome action figures and collectibles.
Another thing about Halloween that makes it special is that it isn't known for the cliche's that usually tag along with slasher films. I blame Freddy and Jason for the cliche's, everyone in Halloween seemed like real people, not imbosols who trip when fleeing from the killer.
Halloween was achieved on such a low budget and yet it was done with a genius that you can't buy or fund. People often claim they don't have the "means" to make a good horror film, like they don't have enough of a budget or they don't have the right actors, and that's where they go wrong. You don't have to have an Oscar winning cast or a unlimited budget to make a good horror film, those are excuses. Being talented and being able to tell a scary story is all you need and that's what John Carpenter understood.
DR. SAM LOOMIS: YOU'VE GOT TO BELIEVE ME, OFFICER, HE IS COMING TO HADDONFIELD...BECAUSE I KNOW HIM! I'M HIS DOCTOR! YOU MUST BE READY FOR HIM... IF YOU DON'T, IT'S YOUR FUNERAL.
To say that Grimm Reviewz remembers Halloween is kind of an insult. I don't remember it, I celebrate it. Movies like this are why we like this genre, and despite all the bad ones us horror goers have to sit through, one like this comes along and makes it all worth it. We will always remember The Night He Came Home.
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