HALLOWEEN - REVIEW
Horror films are a funny thing. Very often, their ability to influence the overall genre overpowers the quality of the films themselves. The Blair Witch Project may have been an uneven effort but it paved the way for a variety of other films and franchises to this day. Similarly, Halloween reinvented the slasher genre but how does the original film itself fare today?
Honestly nothing special. Now I'm a big John Carpenter fan myself and the likes of Christine, The Thing, They Live, Starman and countless others are all-time favourites of mine but I really feel like Halloween hasn't dated well at all and is actually one of Carpenter's films I feel least drawn to. It's a decent enough slasher with a terrific concept and a great killer but it really fails to be anything more than watchable.
The film is consistently slow which, were the payoffs satisfying, wouldn't be so bad but a lot of the time we either get a loud and confusing kill or a false alarm... with a lot of frustrating walking and talking in between. The film does generate some tension and is most effective in its halfway point but the first act feels a bit bland and the third act repetitive. By the end, Jamie Lee Curtis' irritatingly irrational behaviour is more unnerving than anything else to the point where you can't not laugh at Michael Myers' slow-paced attacks which become more and more predictable as they happen. Why would she take a rest between every attack?
Her best friend's dad is the SHERIFF!!!
Curtis is very good throughout and proves herself to be a worthy heroine. You get the feeling that with a bit more maturity she could become one badass character and actually take on Myers in a thrilling face-to-face rematch. Luckily that does actually happen but you'll have to check out Halloween: H20 for that. Donald Pleasance's Dr Loomis, however, is given nothing to work with. A potential natural follower to Van Hellsing (doctor-turned-killer hunter) Loomis gets involved early on before sitting out 90% of the film behind a bush.
Behind. A bush.
Oh he does eventually find Myers's car!
Nice one Poirot!
This leaves him to come in right at the end and become involved once again. A missed opportunity to create a genuinely useful and charismatic character? I think so.
Then there's Michael Myers. Threatening at first and built-up throughout the film as the ultimate badass, the worst thing to happen to the world since the black plague... To be fair, he's pretty scary but the idiotic people he's dealing with sure make it easy for him. I mean, those girls get stuck in windows, escape UP flights of stairs, hide in closets, don't call the authorities, leave doors and windows open at all times...
It's like they WANT this to happen.
It's amazing the guy didn't single-handedly dismantle the whole city! It's also strange that he seems to avoid targeting children and focuses instead on babysitters and geeks. Plus it HAS to be Halloween for him to do anything. That's one picky, sensitive serial killer, I'll tell ya. This, for me personally, undermines how much of a threat the guy actually is. I get that he's probably just toying with these people but I don't see why: just kill 'em and fuck off.
Oh well, this being directed by John Carpenter there is a sense that the film serves as an attempt at creating a somewhat more sophisticated Grindhouse flick with its own unique mythology rather than trying to be the best horror film ever made. Which it isn't. As previously mentioned, some good tension is created, Curtis does a great job and Michael Myers is a fine, iconic villain, one just wishes that the film was a tad less tedious in its first half and a tad scarier in its final act.
As it stands, Halloween is a decent-enough slasher flick and it's easy to see how and why it influenced the genre so much but ultimately it's hardly the go-to film if you're looking for genuine scares or if you're in the mood for some good, trashy, gory fun. By all means do check it out but be warned, time hasn't been particularly good to it.
Pants-shittingly awesome score though.
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