Where to begin with the film that started it all?
Every year around this time I revisit John Carpenter's Halloween, the 1978 masterpiece that radically influenced the futures of both horror and independent film. And every year, I am reminded of the same thing: Halloween is the perfect horror film. Michael Meyers is the ultimate Boogeyman. Laurie Strode is the pinnacle of Final Girls.
Spare, raw, beautiful, tense, elegiac, unnerving, a sense of dread permeates every frame. Tracking victims with the camera, from the killer's POV - not the first time this had been done, but has anyone ever done it better? Then, from Laurie's POV, we’re even more unsettled. She sees him, visible for a moment by the hedges; there he is again, briefly standing amidst the windswept linens hanging on clotheslines to dry, down in the yard.
Carpenter's score has become an indelible part of the popular culture, just like the film itself. If someone new to this world were to ask you to describe what horror sounds like, you'd simply play them the score from Halloween and they'd instantly understand.
Jamie Lee Curtis will forever be the Final Girl. If I was compiling a list - which I've done numerous times in my head, trust me - I'd be hard-pressed not to place her at the top. As Laurie, she's everything a Final Girl needs to be: compassionate, intelligent, and ultimately a survivor.
Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, all pent-up anxiety and impatience, a man on the verge of losing his mind, surrounded by fools in Haddonfield, trying to make someone understand the very real danger that has come to their little town. He's somber, almost catatonic one moment, apoplectic the next, permanently anguished from his years spent trying to save Michael Myers from himself.
We all the know the legend by now: a $2.00 Captain Kirk mask was re-appropriated to become one of the most terrifying, iconic images in the annals of horror cinema. Michael Myers was still mysterious here, still just "the shape," haunting the edges of Haddonfield's quiet suburban serenity, until finally invading from the shadows, purging, slaughtering, destroying. Loomis spent eight years trying to help him, then another seven trying to keep him locked up because his eyes revealed the truth: he was evil incarnate.
"Was that the Boogeyman," Laurie asks Loomis? "As a mater of fact, it was," he replies. That was enough for audiences in 1978, and even today, seven sequels and two "re-imaginings" later, it's still more than enough.
If you want to possibly win Halloween 2, 4, 5, H20 and Resurrection on Special Edition DVDs then please share this article on social media before midnight Halloween, October 31st 2017 with the hashtag #HorrotoberMovieDiner