Halloween: the precursor to the modern slasher and my personal favorite scary movie of all time. In the nearly forty years since the release of the original horror masterpiece, John Carpenter’s Halloween has cemented itself as one of the most celebrated flicks since the inception of the horror genre.
It’s hard to dislike Halloween with such an important legacy in its hands, so this week, the last week before All Hallows’ Eve, I decided to look back on this classic.
The story is simple. In the fictional town of Haddonfield, Ill. in 1963, Michael Myers murders his sister on Halloween night. After spending fifteen years in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, Michael breaks out and returns to his hometown to kill again, this time taking interest in high school student Laurie Strode. Over the course of the night of October 31, 1978, Laurie fights to stay alive while Michael is pursued by his psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis who refers to killer as ‘evil incarnate’.
The performances in this movie are amazing, from Donald Pleasance’s portrayal of a frantic Dr. Loomis to Nick Castle’s silent portrayal of the Michael, credited here as ‘The Shape’, we get very fine acting from a great cast. Jamie Lee Curtis also debuted as Laurie Strode, a babysitter with a strong will to survive. Curtis, a relative unknown outside of her television roles, was cast because of her reputation as Psycho actress Janet Leigh’s daughter. She quickly became a critically and financially successful actress and continues to make waves today on television and film. Her origin as the original ‘scream queen’ has influenced many future actresses that followed her.
From the iconic score to its use of light (or lack thereof), Halloween captures a unique essence that the scary movies of today haven’t been able to grasp. In his original 1979 review, the late film critic Roger Ebert said this of the movie, “[It is] a visceral experience — we aren’t seeing the movie, we’re having it happen to us. It’s frightening.”
Despite not being born until fifteen years after the film’s release, I can look back and appreciate how great it is. I can see the origins of the horror movies that we can today, and each time I watch this tour de force of classic calamity, I find something new to appreciate.
With a new installment of the series heading to theaters next year, take some time during this fall season, dust off your Michael Myers movies, and enjoy the thrill of ‘The Night He Came Home.’
(I do not own any photos)