Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween

(1978) ****

Halloween, 1963. A six year old boy, Michael Myers, stabs his older sister to death. Michael spends the next 15 years in an asylum before breaking out and making his way back to his home town in time for Halloween. While Michael begins to stalk a new victim and her friends, his psychiatrist attempts to catch up with him. By the end of the movie we are told: the Boogeyman really does exist, and his name is Michael Myers.

Well, it's been fun. Really. I know that assigning Halloween 4 stars will get me kicked off the blog forever, but I have to be honest here. I just wasn't that scared. The movie is great, but not what I would call a masterpiece. Love the plot, love the score. Jamie Lee Curtis is perfect, a brainy scream queen par excellence. Michael Myers is a wonderful creation and relatively believable. I don't hold the dated 70s details against the movie. In fact, it made me wish for the good old days of unlocked doors, land lines, and high school age babysitters wearing flared pants who brought their boyfriends over to neck (yes, I had babysitters like that). I was reluctantly forced to dock a star by the B movie elements that made Halloween a less smart and frightening film than it could have been: the stereotypical teens, the bad calls made by authority figures including sheriff and psychiatrist, Michael's physical invincibility on the one hand and vulnerability on the other. Those factors kept me from being completely drawn into the movie and I resent them for it.

Did Halloween take the horror film to a whole new level? Hell yes. And I enjoyed it thoroughly, and will watch it again in future. But I was hoping it would be more, well, scary.

4 comments:

JPX said...

It's hard for me to gauge how truly scary Halloween remains given that I've probably seen it 25 times. Part of your disappointment might stem from the fact that a hundred movies since then have copied what Halloween accomplished. Halloween came out in 1978 and by 1980 the Friday the 13th series began followed by even more inferior product.

When I shut off all the lights and turn on Halloween, I still get a chill with Carpernter's music. Even after numerous viewings I still get freaked out when Michael sits up near the end of the film while Laurie is standing in the door frame. My only complaint has always been Laurie's decision to remain in the house after instructing the kids to leave. Why wouldn't she leave with them?

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I thought the same thing last time I watched it. It's potency has been diluted by countless spinoffs and ripoffs. Good call AC, and I'm glad you joined this year! (You realize it's a lifetime commitment, right?)

Loomis gets on my nerves too.

AC said...

thanks JSP- I'm honored!

Loomis didn't bother me too much in this one because no-one ever gets mental health professionals right in the movies. JPX, can you think of any exceptions?

JPX said...

JPX, sadly no. It amazes me that Tony Sopranos psychiatrist was given an award in real life for her portrayal of therapy. From episode 1 I always thought that she was the world's worst shrink.

Actually, I would have to watch it again but I think the shrink in Ordinary People was pretty good as well as Robin Williams' Good Will Hunting Shrink. I haven't seen either in years so don't hold me to that.