What movie would be more appropriate to my series of Halloween reviews than, well, the movie “Halloween”. This classic with young “scream queen” Jamie Lee Curtis is probably the best known example of the slasher sub-genre of horror movies.
For those who don’t know the story: 15 years after he killed his older sister, Michael Myers returns to his little Ohio hometown to follow his murderous instincts.
Hey, I pretty much just summed up the entire movie in one sentence. I had never seen this one before, except maybe possibly on TV. When Olav suggested it for my Halloween reviews I was actually quite eager to finally watch it. Olav is going to disagree with me on this, but to be quite honest, I think this movie sucks.
For about the first sixty percent we get to see what seems like a typical Halloween day. Kids being kids (that is, tormenting each other); teenagers being teenagers (getting stoned behind the wheel, being horny, and so on), all that sort of stuff. In between we have the good Doctor Loomis who’s trying to convince everybody that Michael Myers is “evil” because, well, he doesn’t really have any evidence but he just **knows** the kid is evil.
So after a while the plot thickens, and eventually, some of the girls buy the farm. Some naked breasts in between, and one of them, like all great movie sluts, dies after having sex (which by the way must have been the minute waltz. I guess the 70s were really quite naive and harmless when it comes to movies). The showdown is quick, harmless, and to the point. The end is predictable as it can be – especially when you know that Halloween spawned an entire series of movies.
I realize this movie’s supposed to be a classic, and maybe it even managed to scare someone once upon a time. But unfortunately for Mr. Carpenter, Halloween does not stand up to the test of time. I’m genuinely trying to think of one moment during the entire movie that scared me, and frankly, find none. I will be gentle with Mr Carpenters work; I am sure a great deal of this is that (a) the plot of the movie was pretty much known ahead of time and (b) the slasher format has been copied again and again until one is nowadays seriously tempted to suggest that anybody proposing to finance another slasher movie should have his own throat cut in a graphic manner. This would probably do the world more good than another clone of Halloween.
There are many old horror movies that are still scary today, but Halloween unfortunately isn’t one of them. It’s probably a must-see simply because it started the slasher craze, and because Jamie Lee Curtis is proof that a woman gets either more good looking with age, or with money.
Let me add a few words to the very simple DVD edition I watched. It was the German version and was bare of any extras. A few text pages about actors and the director are rendered in a yellow-blue combination that is so painful on the eyes that they could actually be the most frightening part of tonight’s cineastic experience. Browsing Amazon it seems that at least three editions of the Halloween DVD were produced. Hopefully some sort of collector’s edition has nicer extras. Halloween is one of the movies I’d really have loved to hear an Audio commentary of. There wasn’t even an English audio track. At least, they restored scenes that were obviously cut from the original release – they were not dubbed, but merely subtitled. I can barely manage to imagine just how horrible the movie must have been without these – quite essential – scenes.
Note: One interesting tidbit is that one of the horror movies the kids watch in Halloween is the movie “The Thing from Another World” from 1953, which Carpenter later re-made in the 80s.