Author Topic: Revisiting Halloween (1978)  (Read 344 times)


  • Sooner or later
Revisiting Halloween (1978)
« on: March 08, 2019, 10:15:20 PM »
I'm watching Carpenter's Halloween for the first time in 20 years. It's even better than I remembered. A singular vision of psychopathic murder. It's so lean. The camera moves when it needs to, but slowly, through long scenes that build the suspense perfectly.
Nice touch I probably missed first time around, they're watching The Thing from Another World on TV, Carpenter would reinvent the story four years later.
I love the glimpses of Myers that permeate the film: standing and staring, briefly carrying a body in silhouette. And the trope of the abandoned house as murder scene is lovely. Carpenter masters the shot where something happens in the background, especially when Myers sits up.

It's great because whilst it feels a bit clichéd, I think it pretty much invented the clichés. Including the "resurrection trope". It's a genuinely terrifying film. Myers under the sheet with Bob's glasses on is fucking unhinged. Christ, I'm watching it at home, on my own! I don't want to go to bed. Myers, fuck me, he never runs, just paces like the perfect killing machine.

There's a brilliant bit when JLC is hiding in the closet and Myers is trying to get in, and of course she should be quite, but she's so scared she keeps whimpering, louder and louder as he bangs and rattles the doors. Like a real person would.

Someone better than me should be able to explain the Psycho parallels, apart from Sam Loomis and the knife wielding maniac. The shots of the house in shadow remind me of the Bates' house.

Do I need to rewatch Halloween II? Must be nearly 30 years since I saw that

Re: Revisiting Halloween (1978)
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2019, 12:39:43 PM »
Halloween II is an entertaining bit of fluff but it's terrible when seen back to back with the original; a huge step down.

It sounds wanky but it seems to me that the original, whether consciously or not, is about the "male gaze": three young women go about their day being continually stared at and followed by a faceless man, perved at through windows, finally killed for shagging someone else. Michael Myers is the first incel.

It's interesting to me that the unmasking at the end sort of speaks to the online incel troll culture we have now, where Myers, like them, has more power in his anonymity. He gets unmasked and he shits himself.

Obviously, it's heavily influenced by Black Christmas, and that wears the rape angle on its sleeve.

Re: Revisiting Halloween (1978)
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2019, 12:30:33 AM »
^^ None of that makes any sense, he kills his sister at the age of 6.

Re: Revisiting Halloween (1978)
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2019, 01:17:51 AM »
Who's just shagged someone and shows her tits to the camera.

It's not necessarily conscious, and as I said, it may be some influence from Black Christmas, but it's clearly there.

Something I always wondered was how John Carpenter managed to make this beautiful, fairly tasteful and understated horror film, when all his others are varying degrees of trashiness, and I realised recently that it's because it lacks that macho-Kurt Russell-esque archetype that all his other films have, even Assault on Precent 13. That character obviously makes The Thing and They Live but it also makes them feel distinctly like high-budget B-movies.


  • Sooner or later
Re: Revisiting Halloween (1978)
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2019, 09:51:35 AM »
I've just read the script to Halloween II so I have a vague memory of the film, but it sounds pretty bad compared to the first one.