This is also the time of year where a lot of people ask me what my favorite horror movie is. So, what is my favorite horror movie? I have three, maybe four that rotate the top spot. But the answer I give more often than not is JOHN CARPENTER'S HALLOWEEN.
This film is a horror classic, so what praise can I give it that hasn't already been said? The answer is simply none.
Everybody knows that this is the slasher movie that started it all! The babysitter killer with the iconic hockey mask! Wait. What? So I guess everybody doesn't know this movie. Oh...
I really get a kick out of it when people talk about how much they like scary movies and get the characters mixed up. “Now Jason is the one with the chainsaw right”? “Micheal Myers, he's Leatherface isn't he”? To be fair I can understand why people can get some of this stuff mixed up. But if you're a “horror” fan, then there should be no excuses!
JOHN CARPENTER'S HALLOWEEN is about a psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood for the murder of his sister. He escapes. And the year he comes home, Micheal Myers stalks a three high school girls. While Micheal haunts the streets, his doctor hopes to find him before it's to late. Before he kills again.
If you wanna know anymore you'll have to watch the movie. I highly recommend it.
So why is this my favorite horror movie? A lot of it has to do with the look of the film. I watch JOHN CARPENTER'S HALLOWEEN pretty much every October because it reminds me of the Fall season. Despite being filmed in California, the filmmakers did a fine job of making the movie look like it was set in the Midwest. When night falls on Haddonfield, Illinois that's when things start to get real creepy.
I love how the evening hours are photographed in the movie. It looks so realistic. Natural lighting is used as much as possible. Where the scenes single light source might be from just a lamp. And while artificial, blue gels are used appropriately to give the night that extra creepiness. All in all this is my favorite thing about the movie.
Next, I like the story. It's so simple and scary. A psycho stalking babysitters. It's scary because it brings terror to everyday life. At one time or another any young woman has been a babysitter.
“Now Caleb, I thought in JOHN CARPENTER'S HALLOWEEN, Micheal Myers came home to kill his sister? Are you sure you know what you're talking about”? The answer to this question is yes. But that plot thread beings in the sequel, HALLOWEEN II. Which I like. But I like the original better as a stand alone film.
I can't blog about my favorite horror film without mentioning it's boogeyman, Micheal Myers. He is scary in this thing! Always in the shadows but also in plain sight. That's right, I said plain sight! Who wouldn't call the cops on this guy? Maybe because it's Halloween and the neighborhood thinks its normal? Makes since to me. But yeah it freaks me out the few times you see Micheal Myers in broad daylight stalking the girls.
When night falls, that's when the fun begins. The thing I find fascinating about Micheal Myers that you never really see again in the sequels is how much of a trickster he is. In the original I always felt Micheal was one step ahead of his victims. He lured them to their death. Kinda like a trickster. The best example being the scene where he wears a bed sheet as a ghost costume. I still chuckle at this scene.
Now this may be nothing and I may be reading too much into it, but I noticed something that I hadn't thought of before. When Micheal is stalking Annie at the Wallace house he has no fear. It's night time but he is out in the open looking for him. But when the parents of young Lindsey Wallace shows up, Micheal hides behind a tree. Could there be something deep and psychological in this scene? I don't know? Probably not, but it's something that got me thinking.
Before I forget, I need to clarify something. In my review of Rob Zombie's remake I was wrong about a particular moment from the original. For the life of me I swore Micheal Myers impaled someone to a refrigerator? Wrong. Sorry, the victim was stuck to what looks like some cupboards or something?
Lastly I have to mention the awesome performance by Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis. Such a wonderful job. This character will make you believe the boogeyman is real and that his name is Micheal Myers.
So pop the popcorn, turn down the lights, and watch this favorite of mine on Halloween night!