Halloween (1978) movie review
It’s still October, I still want to talk about scary movies, so as requested, let’s keep it going today with the original Halloween. Spoiler discussion after the jump!
I should mention that before I launch into (what I feel are valid) criticisms of the film, I do like this movie very much. That being said:
Less is more
I’ve always felt that they revealed Michael Myers (as an adult) much to early in the film. I don’t mean his actual face – you just see him too often, too early. I know you can’t usually see his masked face, but sometimes you can – like when he’s standing in the backyard amongst the laundry lines. At first, I thought they’d keep his face hidden behind the laundry, but nope – there he is! I think they should have just showed us the perspective shot and stuck with their ‘stalking camera’ technique a bit more – which is what Friday the 13th did when they went "totally" overboard and copied this movie as best they could. That movie may be ridiculous, but it is effective – and the stalking camera has a lot to do with that, even if it is overused.
"Totally!" – The rallying cry of sexy teens
Speaking of "Totally" – All of the non-Laurie teens in this movie are awful – so, I guess that keeps the audience from being upset when they’re killed, but the dialogue is not much fun to listen to. That one girl says "Totally!" about 10 times in her 10 minutes of screen time. It’s amazing! I’d just like a better reason to hate her than the fact that she says "totally" so often. The "Totally" girl is just an example – I feel that way about all of them.
Dr. Loomis and Sheriff Brackett
"I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply evil." Spoken like a man of science, doctor! (Played by Donald Pleasence, by the way.) Still, I don’t doubt that some patients can not be helped, but "purely evil" is harsh!
Sheriff Brackett (Charles Cyphers) isn’t exactly the brightest crayon in the cop box, huh? You’d think that finding the car Michael stole would warrant a "Calling all cars! Suspect’s stolen vehicle found! Suspect is on foot! Create a 2 mile perimeter! All units respond! Let’s catch this guy!" Or, he’ll just take the doctor’s suggestion and go around the block. Good thinking!
"Don’t go in there!"
I can’t, for the life of me, think of a good reason for Laurie to go into that house. I appreciate that all of her friends’ cars are there, but all of the lights are off and they don’t answer any of her calls. Why does she keep wandering through the house? Why does she go upstairs? If her friends are there and everything is fine, they clearly don’t want her there – best case scenario is she walks in on them doing it. Worst case scenario, she gets her ass kicked by a knife welding, mask wearing psycho. My point is, the best case scenario is not great, so why do it? Blah.
You can’t keep a bad man down
So what’s the deal with Michael Myers? Why is he unkillable? He certainly looks like a normal man when his mask comes off and there’s nothing in the movie to make you think he’s anything other than a man… I don’t get it. It’s cool, though!
and introducing Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Speaking of quality, here’s another actor making their debut in a horror flick, just like Kevin Bacon in Friday the 13th and John Travolta in Carrie. Bonkers!
I may have critized the music in Carrie a bit too much, but here – wow, no complaints. That main theme may be repetitive, but it’s awesome – and so are all the other little cues and themes. It’s not heavy on melody or production, but this is a quality soundtrack.
Like Carrie, Halloween goes for the Hard R. It doesn’t bring as many boobs (but then, what movie could compete with Carrie in the boobs department?), but there are certainly boobs in this movie as well as drug use (why’d the girls pull over to talk to a cop while they were smoking weed?), but no significant foul language to speak of. It’s bizarre that four letter words are often the one thing that everyone shies away from – you’d think a little profanity would slip by in a visual medium, but Hard Rs are all about boobs, blood, drug use, violence and cursing – but if you use all of them, you’ll probably get an X from the ratings board, and nobody wants that for their film because it would limit the audience.
All and all, Halloween is a quality flick and it’s probably the best film of the various 80s slasher series. Check it out!