Jamie Lee Curtis

Halloween – Review #51

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This movie didn’t really ‘stick’ with me, and that is in no way its fault. Well, maybe some of it.

HalloweenHalloween, directed by John Carpenter, is set, of course, on Halloween night. Jack o’lantern’s are all about, children dress up and get candy, and serial killers come out and find fresh victims.

What, don’t act like your neighborhood doesn’t have one, silly.

In one of those suburbs, we meet Laurie Strode and her friends Annie and Lynda. They’re played by Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis and P. J. Soles respectively. Of course, unlike the children, they don’t go and trick-or-treating, no. They go and get laid. Well, except for Laurie. She’s not that type of girl, and so she decides to babysit a kid named Tommy instead. However, what she doesn’t know is that something sinister as afoot, as not to her knowledge, an inmate of a sanitarium escaped, and has set his sights on her, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Right from the opening, with its iconic eerie theme with the piano stings, to the happy looking pumpkin at the title screen, to the 4 minute POV shot-of what I will not say-the movie sets itself as a
creepy movie. Note that I said ‘creepy’, not ‘scary’. John Carpenter builds up the tension of Laurie’s life and Myers’ danger expertly. Michael Myers actually does very little for the majority of the movie until the third act, and while the payoff is short but sweet, with a very effective ‘oh shit’ plot twist at the end, some people might find it boring, even more so because of the characters.

Yes, I didn’t really connect with the characters, not even Laurie. For one, I find the dialogue in the movie being strangely outdated and pronounced. I don’t know about you guys, but it just feels like the actors are reading off the script as they act, especially the main teenage trio of Laurie, Annie and Lynda. Speaking of them, they do not look like teenagers at all, with Jamie being the youngest at 20 when the movie was made, with the other two being 28 and 29. I’ve heard this was par for the course, and I expected it, but it just takes me out of the movie. With a movie like Halloween that is grounded in realism, that is a very big flaw.

But I digress. They’re serviceable, and when the s**t hits the fan you forget about that. No, what really took away the creep factor of Michael Myers was not a problem of the movie. It just comes down to the simple fact that I do not celebrate Halloween. I have never gone trick-or-treating, I’ve never carved pumpkins, and I’ve never been a part of any Halloween festivities. Here Halloween is thought as this curious oddity of a festival. We know what it is, we just don’t do it, so the thought of a serial killer coming during the 31st of October is lost to me. Again, not the movie’s fault at all. I just wasn’t its intended audience.

Halloween is widely viewed as the film that started the slasher craze of the 80’s, and while I appreciate for what it has influenced, the fact still remains that this movie is based on festival that I’ve never been a part of. It’s still a good movie, don’t get me wrong, the tense scenes are amazingly done, thanks to John Carpenter’s directing and cinematography by Dean Cundy, but when you see shots of little kids going around door-to-door asking for candy, dressed up as princesses, vampires, pumpkins etc., and not knowing that feeling of childhood joy mixed with fright, you feel like you’re watching something that was not intended for you.

So, all in all, Halloween is a well made thriller morror with its now considered ‘old-school’ approach to scaring, it’s grounded atmosphere and amazing score, but it just wasn’t my cup of pumpkin tea. Happy belated Halloween, and go out there and have some spooky fun while you still can.