Halloween is a movie that has been reviewed so many times, I’d be surprised if I’ve not already reviewed it myself. With the release in the UK of the 35th Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook though it’s the perfect excuse to look back with fond memories and look at just why this movie is so revered. Seen as one of the movies that started a whole sub-genre of horror John Carpenter created a movie that, along with the rest of his movies made many instant fans.
When Michael Myers returns to Haddonfield he has one thing on his mind, to celebrate Halloween the only way he knows how. As he makes his way home Laurie Strode is preparing for a Halloween of baby sitting and covering for her friends who want to get drunk and laid. As Myers lurks in the background and his doctor, Samuel Loomis tracks him down Laurie becomes the focus of the psychopath and his need to re-enact the murder of his sister many Halloweens ago.
Halloween was arguably the first film to truly perfect the “stalker killer” trope in horror. The constant shadow to Laurie it’s not surprising that the film was originally to be called the Babysitter Murders. It’s also arguable that this movie was the perfect storm when it comes to horror, with Carpenters use of music, lighting and character development he created a scenario where though most of the horror takes place in only a few locations he manages to set up enough murders that the viewer feels Myers has been on quite a spree, where in fact most of the final act takes place in only two houses.
The character of Myers is most effective when he is faceless, even if we do in fact see his face in fleeting glances. When he is described as “The Bogeyman” this is the perfect description of him as this is all we see of him. If we take Rob Zombie’s interpretation of Myers as an example although effective in the remake he is somewhat weakened by giving him a back story, why do we need to know his history? We know from the original he had a normal upbringing in a seemingly middle class house, and we are given no reason for his murderous outburst. To darken his childhood as Zombie did actually weakens the mysterious nature of his inclinations, which is a shame and made the remake feel so unneeded.
When looking at what works for Halloween we also have to look at the characters of Laurie and Dr. Loomis. Jamie Lee Curtis has a legendary image now seen as one of the most famous “scream queens” and this arguably comes down to Laurie who Curtis plays so well that we will forever see her as that character. Part of what makes her role such a success not only in this movie but subsequent sequels is the fact that in Halloween she is a character that is so clean cut and virginal she is almost could be seen as boring, but by the time we see her older and wiser in Halloween H20 we see the woman dragged down by her dark past, and the fact she has a son shows she is very much not the “pure” Laurie. It’s always interesting to go back and see her before Michael damaged her beyond repair.
With the release of the 35th Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook by Anchor Bay in the UK just in time for “the day he came home” Halloween has an excellent Blu-ray transfer and this could be one of the best ways to now see it. For fans who don’t have it on Blu-ray, this is somewhat of an essential buy especially to get ready for the big day.
This review was originally posted at Pissed Off Geek
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