Night #31: Halloween (1978)


It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”

Directed By: John Carpenter

Well, it had to be really. It’s a tradition. There were plenty of other movies I wanted to get around to, but they’ll have to wait for now and I couldn’t break with tradition. So it’s an evening with John Carpenter’s classic once again.

There’s nothing I can say about this that I or many many other people haven’t said before so this is just going to be a collection of thoughts again. But there are movies y0u can just watch and for me Halloween is one of them. For my Dad it happens to be Baby’s Day Out. But I digress.

Part of it, and something that only really came to me this time around, is how measured and controlled Carpenter is. Scenes take time. The camera moves when you could just cut from one shot to another, or end a scene where The Shape watches Laurie walk away a little earlier than what he does. It is a filmmaker in charge of his craft and letting you know that you’re in safe hands. It’s so good in fact, and builds up so well, that you don’t realise that all the big kills come one after another in about a 15 minute period.

Suburbia has never looked as real as it does here. They nail the quietness of the streets after a certain time. The most action we see in the evening are the kids trick or treating, but then once they’ve gone to bed there’s a stillness that just comes through. It’s strange that through the complete lack of activity, Carpenter manages to make it feel alive.

I also love Donald Pleasance in this. I always have anyway, but I love the way his line readings are unconventional, as though he is on the verge of forgetting what he’s supposed to say and he has to give his mouth time to catch up to his brain. He’s constantly fraying, and it’s a wonder that he ever got to become a doctor at all. Also something I never really thought about before is how Loomis and Laurie are the protagonists throughout and only meet right at the very end.  They barely even have an exchange. It’s just those little touches, intentional or otherwise, that you start to notice after you’ve seen something so many times.

Any quibbles I have are really just nitpicking, which I hate to do. One such moment that the movie does actually address is that Michael, who has been in an asylum since he was a child, is able to escape and drive a car. I always forget that Loomis brings up the same thing that the audience is thinking, which is how could he learn to drive? Of course the movie doesn’t have an answer because there isn’t one, but I thought it was funny they at least got ahead of everyone with that one.

Also, though this relates more to Halloween II, we see why Laurie gets targeted. That sequel states its because she’s his sister, which actually took a big old amount of retconning to do, while this instead seems to imply it was an accident. Laurie’s father sells real estate. He’s selling the Myers house and Laurie has to go and drop off some keys there. Along the way she meets the kid she’s babysits and he watches as she drops the keys off. Inside the house though we can see that Michael is right there watching them. It explains why he not only stalks Laurie but the kid too, albeit briefly. I like Halloween II just fine by the way, but that twist of them being siblings completely unravels the moment you think about it even a little bit.

Anyway, that’s all we have time for. I had wanted to include a few other things in all this, but between work and writing I’ve barely had time to go through what we did. But it’s been fun, and I enjoy doing it. I’ll even miss it a little bit. There’s a ton of movies I wanted to cover off but didn’t for one reason and another. If they’re interesting enough I’ll write about them anyway on a semi-regular basis, or I’ll just save them for next year.

So, what the fuck do I do now?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s