Anniversary of Landmark Horror Film
On this date, back in 1978, quite possibly my most favorite horror film of all time was released. John Carpenter's classic of terror and suspense, "Halloween". That's right, it was 40 years ago. One of the main reasons they decided to remake it again, only this time with John Carpenter AND Jamie Lee Curtis's involvement, was because it had been four decades since the original.
Now what is it about "Halloween" that makes it such a great cinematic thrill ride all these years later? What exactly did John Carpenter get right? Something that all the sequels, imitations and rip-offs got wrong? I'm no film scholar so I can only speculate. But for me, it's a combination of many factors. The screenplay is superb. There's really no backstory on WHY the masked shadow Michael Myers is a non-stop killing machine. Remember, it's not until the first sequel, "Halloween 2" that we find out Jamie Lee Curtis's character Laurie Strode is Michael's sister. We, the viewer, have none of that knowledge in the first movie.
Maybe it's the music. Carpenter himself composed an iconic soundtrack for his movie. That keyboard motif generates fright just on it's own. Again, it's been imitated but not quite successfully. Even if nothing is happening on-screen, that music starts and you know it's gonna hit the fan and SOON.
Also, Carpenter leaves a lot up to the imagination. A lot of the bad stuff happens OFF-camera. That, to me, makes it scarier. And if you go back and re-watch the movie, it's not as gory as you might think. Especially compared with all of the sequels. We also get(for the most part) likable characters. That's something that a lot of horror movies forget about. If you make all the main characters act like jerks then we simply don't care if or when they die. And last but not least, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and Sir Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis. Two great actor performances. Bottom Line: YOU believe in the Boogeyman because THEY believe. That reason alone elevates a good horror movie to a great one. The strength of the performances.
Happy Anniversary "Halloween"! Thanks for 40 years of fright-filled fun!