Pop Junk’s 31 Days of Halloween #1 Halloween

It was known as “The Night He Came Home” in 1978 as John Carpenter constructed what is the quintessential Halloween tale of innocence being stalked by a murderous “Shape” that truly captured what people were looking for in a cinematic treat on October 31st.  Lightening struck when this movie was put together as a perfect storm of the right people at the right time making the right kind of movie that captured our terrified imagination and still known today as one most beloved and influential horror flicks of all time.

In Haddonfield, IL, on Halloween night 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers inexplicably slaughters his teenage sister. His psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) can’t penetrate Michael’s psyche after years of institutionalization, but he knows that, when Myers escapes before Halloween in 1978, there is going to be hell to pay in Haddonfield. While Loomis heads to Haddonfield to alert police, Myers spots conservative teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and follows her, constantly appearing and vanishing as Laurie and her friends Lynda (P.J. Soles) and Annie (Nancy Loomis) make their Halloween plans. By nightfall, the responsible Laurie is doing her own and Annie’s babysitting jobs, while Annie and Lynda frolic in the parent-free house across the street. But Annie and Lynda are not answering the phone, and suspicious Laurie heads across the street to the darkened house to see what is going on and what she finds is the reign of one Micheal Myers.  After Micheal (Also refered to as The Shape) murders Laurie’s friends he moves on to stalking Laurie and the kids she’s baby sitting; setting up a final showdown.

Cliches a plenty in this flick to the uninhibited teen sex, to the killer coming back after being what we thought he was all but dispatched; but this film did it first and it did it the best.   First off Michael Myers is one of the foremost and maybe best of the slasher icons, before being destroyed by awful sequels, his mysterious persona and ambiguity made him a remarkably compelling character.   His life-less face was the doing of a prop-manager painting a William Shatner mask white; giving it horrifyingly anonymous look that would haunt the nightmares of the youth of the 70’s and 80’s.

John Carpenter is very much responsible for the Halloween’s success not only by being the director and writer but by giving this movie the patients it needed to really scare people.  The less is more motif is never more evident than in Halloween, where the stalking and laying in the shadows is so effective and down right frightening, something that was abandoned in the sequels for unnecessary gore.  Another thing Carpenter is responsible for is the soundtrack; the eerie piano riffs that layer this movie are just as frightening as “The Shape” himself.  The theme for Halloween is just as recognizable as the theme for Jaws or Star Wars and with good reason.

Halloween is an absolutely merciless thriller,a movie in the pantheon of horror films which is always compared to Psycho but I think is better and more terrifying because it uses tropes created by Psycho but goes places it never dared. It’s a terrifying and creepy film about what one of the characters calls Evil Personified and with good reason.  Halloween is the definitive October horror movie experience and is truly The best of the best.

I finished this review at approximately 12:01 am on October 31st 2011 and this is wildly appropriate given the subject matter, so I’d like to take this time to thank all of you who have followed along the “Pop Junk 31 Days of Halloween.  For myself personally I think this whole countdown is a fitting tribute as everyday this month I have written about and watched a horror movie and celebrated the horror genre and day of Halloween.  So tomorrow after the trick or treaters have retired to their homes, put on a scary movie and enjoy yourself.  Happy Halloween everyone.

-Adam

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~ by ATOM on October 31, 2011.

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