Friday, April 20, 2007


Title: Halloween (1978)
Dir: John Carpenter
Rating: ***1/2 out of 5 stars

I know, this is long overdue for a horror buff like myself. Honestly, I've never been a fan of the "big" killers - Jason, Mike, Freddy. But Halloween has a leg up since it was directed by John Carpenter. And that vapid Shatner-esque face on Myers is pretty damn creepy.

Fifteen years after the 6-year-old Michael Myers murdered his older sister, he escapes a sanitarium and returns to his home town on Halloween night to terrorize the locals. Jamie Lee Curtis plays the obgliatory "survivor girl" (thank you, Leslie Vernon), a babysitter named Laurie. Michael starts picking off Laurie's horny friends, and eventually chases her around for a while in classic horror movie fashion. Meanwhile, Myers' former psychiatrist Dr. Loomis follows him back to town in hopes of stopping his murderous rampage.

I was surprised at how little gore this movie had. Most of Mikey's carnage was implied off-screen, or yielded only small amounts of blood. And the overall body count barely tops 5. That is what I love about these old horror films - it was about quality, not quantity. And it was fairly realistic. In the subsequent sequels, we get teenager after teenager after teenager being gutted and the whole thing just loses its steam.

I liked Carpenter's directing style here and the actors all filled their roles adequately. And of course the music was great. It's not the kind of film that will stick with me, but slashers never were my cup o' tea. I probably would have appreciated the whole movie more if I saw it 20-30 years ago when this sort of thing was fresh. Nevertheless, I can see why Halloween was such a big influence upon contemporary horror films. And I see why John Carpenter always has a get-out-of-jail free card for making shit like Ghosts of Mars.