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Halloween (1978)- Horror Movie Review- (Day 31 of 31)- October Massacre

Halloween (1978)- Horror Movie Review- (Day 31 of 31)- October Massacre
10.31.2014by: Ryan Doom
10 10

PLOT: Halloween starts in first person POV as a big boobed teen is murdered by a clown-costumed kid, a young Michael Myers. Fifteen years later, dorky teen Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) prepares for yet another lackluster Halloween by babysitting while all her friends engage in typical horror movie teen activity (that's sex). At the same time, Michael escapes from the loony bin the night before Halloween and makes his way to Haddonfield where Strode lives. He find a jump suit and a William Shatner mask…becoming The Shape. Strode plays the usual helpless teen, so only Myers’ shrink, Dr. Loomis (the late, great Donald Pleasence), can save the day.

REVIEW: There aren’t many movies like Halloween. Its villain is instantly recognizable. Its music is instantly recognizable. The director’s style is instantly recognizable. That’s a tough trifecta, but Halloween pulls it off with what seems like ease. If The Exorcist defined the epic Hollywood horror film, Halloween defined the gritty one. Now I love John Carpenter’s work, and this is his Mona Lisa; everything still plays perfect.

Carpenter didn’t invent the slasher genre, but he perfected it as his muted monster that never stops coming has given generations nightmares, and probably generations to come. Sometimes people bitch about 1970's style of pacing, but here that slow, heartbeat style pacing works to perfection, especially with Carpenter's score. It would seem like it's been overplayed, but damn his score still sounds great. Once those synthesizers kick in it creates a tone that no other horror production can match. 

As for the acting, Curtis deservedly gets most of the praise as she plays what will become the cliched female horror lead. Screaming, running, screaming, begging for help. While she's great, I think Donald Pleasence (though a little over the top) really brings it. He's the center, the old man in the trench coat who understands what's happening and what's coming. Though Nick Castle didn't become a star as The Shape, the guy set the bar for all other bad guys to come. 

Thankfully, Carpenter kept Myers aka The Shape silent. We only know what Dr. Loomis tells us. He remains a mystery. Hell, we rarely even get a clear shot of him until well into the movie. He's stalking Laurie, and it sure freakin' feels like it. Carpenter starts the film with shocking (but nude) violence, but he lulls us a little, keeping things tense until he's ready to kill again.

Of course, now much of the film seems cliched with all that the 70's teen sex, a bumbling female lead who just can't stand straight, and an unstoppable monster, but we all need to remember things only seem generic when they've been done right below. And Halloween did everything right before anyone else. 

BEST TNA SCENE: Well, like most kids, I grew up watching this and know the two best moments by heart. 1) The opening sequence right below Michael kills his sister (what a shame). 2) When those two soon-to-be-dead teens have sex upstairs.

BEST GORE BIT: The Shape takes out a lot of people, but when he finds poor Annie in the back of a car, he chokes her before slitting her throat. As the windows fog up it’s hard to watch because of the tight space in the car. Painful. 

HALLOWEEN DRINKING GAME: Grab as many shot glasses as you can. Line them up. Pour some your favorite pumpkin beer into all them. Take a shot each time Mike Myers speaks. (Sorry, worst game ever. How about each time Laurie screams or panics). 


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Extra Tidbit: I still love this fact. Since the production had no money, they bought the cheapest mask they could find: a $2 William Shatner mask.

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