Christ, this is going to get confusing later on. To commemorate the release of the upcoming HALLOWEEN (2018)– see the problem here, guys?? – I’m going back in time to the original film that would spawn a legion of sequels, and a reboot. I should probably throw in a disclaimer: I’m not reviewing every single Halloween film. There are two reasons why. The first is because the filmmakers have gone on record saying that the 2018 film will ignore every sequel and only acknowledge the ’78 original. With that in mind, it’d be odd to go through an entire series that continues on from the previous film, only to come back to the 2018 one and possibly confuse myself with continuity. I’d rather avoid that nonsense. Secondly, I really don’t want to watch all of the Halloween movies. I already dislike the slasher genre as a whole, and considering how much of a classic this is, I don’t hear any of the sequels getting similar praise. Pass, y’all.
No, I’ve not seen this movie. Yes, yes, horror classic slasher movie, I’ve heard it all before, leave me alone. What I did not know was this was arguably the godfather of slasher films that we know and love today. Well, maybe not “love” in my case. I generally hate horror films if they don’t have quality characters to follow, or goofy gory death scenes. Considering the popularity of this film, I’m banking on this having good characters. Fingers crossed.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Jamie Lee Curtis (BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA , TRUE LIES , and upcoming films SENIOR ENTOURAGE  and THE PAGES ) and the late Donald Pleasence (THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER  and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK  – rest in peace, sir).
Now for the crew. Directing, composing the score, and co-writing the screenplay, we have John Carpenter, known for ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976). Carpenter’s partner-in-pen is the late Debra Hill, known for ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and THE FOG (1980) – rest in peace, miss. The cinematographer is Dean Cundey, known for HOME AGAIN (2017), and upcoming films ASBURY PARK (2018) and ANASTASIA (2018). Finally, the co-editors are Charles Bornstein (HONEY, WE SHRUNK OURSELVES ) and Tommy Lee Wallace (THE FOG).
This is my honest opinion of: HALLOWEEN
In 1963 in Haddonfield, Illinois, young Michael Myers (Will Sandin) murdered his teen sister, and has spent the better part of fifteen years in an insane asylum. However, nearing Halloween, Michael escapes and steals Dr. Loomis’ (Donald Pleasence) car, the very man who has been trying to treat him. Upon returning to his home in Haddonfield, he begins to stalk the teenage Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).
Well… yeah, I can see where the popularity comes from, but I can’t say that I love it as much as those who experienced it firsthand. With that said, it’s one of the better slasher films I’ve seen, if not the best.
Let’s jump right in and start with this opening scene with little Michael Myers. First off, the mask over the camera is kind of a cheap gimmick. I get it, it makes the audience feel like they’re murdering a teenage girl. But the slit is distracting and hard to make shit out. Thank God it’s not made with modern techniques, otherwise the camera would be zipping around like a fly, so I shouldn’t complain too much. Also, the stabbing itself is pretty cheesy. The bad acting from the girl, staring at the knife for some reason, the blood is so obviously fake, it’s just not my thing. I know, I know, it’s probably not fair to be so callous toward movie-making in the late 70’s, but man, I’m spoiled. It’s not very brutal if I’m not seeing the wounds, or a performance that actually looks pained. However, I do appreciate that the reveal of the killer being a kid must have been pretty unique for the time. Child murderers aren’t new, of course, but this must have set a new standard back in the day.
Also, don’t hate me for this, but the iconic theme song feels a bit overplayed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautifully played and is probably the most iconic horror theme song ever composed. Simple, easy to identify, kind of hummable, but it’s played a lot when either no music would be more appropriate, or something more intense.
I do, however, commend this movie for it’s protagonist in the baby-faced Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. SERIOUSLY, this woman was young! Out of all the slasher films I’ve seen, Laurie is the most likable that I’ve ever encountered. She’s not an obnoxious goodie-two-shoes, but rather seems like a genuine nice girl. She’s not mean to the kid she babysits, and protects him. That’s a really awesome detail that I don’t think has ever been replicated. Most protagonists are cardboard cutouts and are forgettable, but Laurie stands out in a great way.
While I won’t really agree with anyone who says that this movie is a masterpiece of suspense, I do agree that the character of Michael Myers is effectively utilized, not just by the time’s standards, but even today’s. When Michael runs into that kid at the school and sends him on his way, and then starts following the kid that Laurie’s babysitting, you genuinely don’t know what he’s going to do. When Annie (Nancy Kyes) heckles the cop car that Michael is driving, he slams on the breaks and you immediately brace for something to happen, even though nothing does. The issue that I take is that Michael does a little too much stalking. I get that this isn’t exactly an action movie, if it’s only the last half hour of the movie when shit gets going, then someone might consider the movie a tad slow.
Overall, I definitely don’t hate the movie, but I just can’t like it as much as everyone else seems to. Some of the techniques are outdated, it’s not particularly scary or suspenseful, it’s support characters are recycled characters from other bad slasher films, and is pretty cheesy in some areas. With that said, I can appreciate some of the techniques that surpass anything of today, Curtis as Laurie is practically a landmark in likable final girls, and that main theme is infectious in the best possible way. It’s a mixed bag, to be sure, but I’d say if you wanted to see a slasher film done right, then this is the best you’re ever going to get. I watched it with the lights off, I watched it alone at night, and I slept soundly. It’s not scary, but it’s better than other crap out there.
My honest rating for HALLOWEEN: a strong 3/5