Halloween (1978) Review


Micheal Myers is my boogeyman.

I’ve seen all the main horror faces – from Krueger to Vorhees -but it’s Myers who makes me look over my shoulder at night and has me running for the safety of the duvet.

With a new Halloween being release it seemed like the perfect time to revisit what I’ve long-considered my favourite horror film. Looking at it with older eyes, it’s an unavoidable fact that by today’s standards this is an extremely tame horror film. Nevertheless, there are plenty of well-crafted and chilling moments to balance out the weaker aspects.

Positives! Even early in his career Carpenter understood how to build a mood. The tension mounts as the story unfolds, punctuated by sharp spikes in the score, which by itself is one of the biggest positives and unforgettable. The film takes a friendly, safe looking neighbourhood and undercuts it with a sense of dread. Through the voyeuristic gaze of our killer, his breath is the only clue that he’s human at all.

The Shape is at his most chilling when he’s simply standing still. Partially behind a bush, a car, or in among fluttering white sheets, he’s a menacing sight. The white mask is ridiculously simple but leads to an uncanny effect of him being not quite human.

Jamie Lee Curtis performs decently in her film debut, with her character’s straight laced ways seemingly being her salvation. I’m really looking forward to how the new film deals with the ramifications of the night he came home. Donald Pleasance is the Obi-Wan of the piece; a wiser, seasoned actor lending to some gravitas to proceedings. 

On the flip-side, it’s very annoying how Michael can be clumsy as hell when it’s required. We know he can’t kill Laurie, she’s the final girl, but surely they could have made him not look intermittently inept. There aren’t many kills (six including a dog), and none of them are particularly violent or gory. Now, that’s not to say they needed to be, but it neuters things somewhat. Perhaps in the days before he’s a completely inhuman killing machine we can allow Myers the odd slip up?

The music’s great, the setting unnervingly benign, and Myers is still the true boogeyman that manages to linger in the back of my mind. It might be not be the most horrific of horror films, but the original Halloween is still right up there.

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