In my nearly fevered anticipation for the forthcoming rebootquel Halloween (2018), I thought I might re-watch all of the original series(es). My gushing in this entry leads me to think that I may not have the strength to suffer through Rob Zombie again, to say nothing of Paul Rudd. We’ll see.
Director: John Carpenter’s John Carpenter
Cast: Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis, and (ahem.) P.J. Soles.
Have I Seen it Before: I’ve at least seen it as many times as Anchor Bay has released it on either DVD or Blu Ray, so that’s got to put it somewhere in the 100s.
Did I Like It: Oh, how do I count the ways?
It will be supremely difficult to write thoughtful reviews about some of my greatest-of-all-time movies. John Carpenter’s Halloween is one of them. The acting is sublimely modulated cheese, especially with the world’s supreme scene chewer Donald “I SHOT HIM SIX TIMES” Pleasance. The cinematography is perfect. Each frame harnesses a perfect sublime banality, that when the horror really kicks into high gear, the tension is there, but there’s also a palpable sense of tragedy at the same time. The music is so beyond perfect that it a) completely removes any pretext at criticism I might hope to reach for, b) makes the film without this music unimaginable, and c) elevates the sequels and (ugh) remakes into (on average) watchability.
And all of it was made with next to nothing. It is an unbelievable achievement that no amount of sequels, copy-cats or (again, ugh) remakes could hope to replicate, nor ruin.
Now, the long arm of legacy is what this film consistently has to fight against, but if you can put yourself in the mindset of someone living in a universe where the other films don’t exist (a feat which I think is going to become significantly easier in a few weeks), the film is even more unnerving. Here Michael Myers (Will Sandin as a child, Tony Moran unmasked as the adult Myers, and Nick Castle as the form commonly referred to as “The Shape”) isn’t the Freshman Abnormal Psych paper of the latest Rob Zombie films, the scion of the Cult of Thorn, Laurie’s brother, Jamie’s uncle, or budding Dangertainment star*. He was purely a kid—and he could have been any kid you knew growing up—who one day picked up a really sharp knife and never looked back. He slithers through the vast majority of the movie simply watching his prey, and when the moment comes, he zeroes in to take what he wants, simply because he wants it, and should therefore be entitled. He is every man, and if we’ve learned anything recently, he cannot be stopped.
That’s the movie I love, and if you don’t… Well, then fuck you, Rob Zombie.
That may be harsh, but it’s not like I don’t totally mean it. Totally.
*God, when you really unpack Halloween: Resurrection (2002), the more of a headache it becomes.