John Carpenter’s Halloween is a classic film from the “golden age” of horror movies, rather than relying on computer generated special effects and cheesy acting (as so many modern day horror movies seem to do) the creators of this film had to come up with a way to scare people more realistically.
It takes place in a typical suburban town and involved everyday scenarios such as children being afraid of the “Boogie Man” and teenagers having to hide their smoking habits from their parents. What made Halloween so terrifying to audiences across the globe was its realness; people where shocked at the idea of a psychopathic killer on the loose as the prospect of this idea was a much more likely to happen in reality rather than the scenarios presented in many other horror films such as demonic entities with supernatural powers (although in later years the Halloween series did move slightly into the supernatural realm).
The film played upon the fears of every man, woman or child who watched it; there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of horror movies created involving a gruesome psychopath chopping up teenagers for some reason or another, however Halloween was the first major film to start this trend.
If the film where released today it would be seen as rather tame in comparison to the likes of “Creep” or the “Saw” series, however if you where to have watched it back in the seventies you would probably be as terrified by the film as everyone else was. I think it would be fair to say that if it wasn’t for the release of Halloween, we wouldn’t have seen the likes of Freddy Kruger from “Nightmare on Elm Street” or “Jason” from “Friday the 13th”.
Written and directed by John Carpenter, it was a major turning point in his career and established him as a successful director.
The film also kick started the career of Jamie Lee Curtis, who later went on to become a very successful actress and even returned to the Halloween series 20 years after it’s original release in “Halloween H20” which was the seventh film in the series.
The introduction to the film involves a young boy named Michael Myers who sees his older sister having sex with her boyfriend, and for some reason or another goes into the kitchen, grabs a huge knife and stabs her to death with it (as you do). The parents then come home to find the boy standing outside of his house in his Halloween costume, holding the blood stained kitchen knife.
The film then drops into the starting credits featuring the eerily familiar theme tune, which we all know and love. The basic premise of the film is this: Michael Myers has escaped from a mental institution and 20 years after the original killing of his sister he is out to kill again. And of course all of this takes place on Halloween.
The film became notoriously popular and has gone down in history as one of the most terrifying horror movies of all time. To this day, on every Halloween, thousands upon thousands of Michael Myers masks are sold all over the world. The mask is a statement of terror unto itself, much like Freddy Kruger’s razor blade gloves.
It is quite ironic to consider that the original design for the head was actually a cheap Captain Kirk mask painted white with the eye holes adjusted and the sideburns ripped off; who would have thought that William Shatner’s face could be so terrifying?
Having said that, even the face of Michael Myers is no way near as appalling as William Shatner’s acting abilities, and his acting abilities are no way near as appalling as his disastrous attempts at a singing career! Sorry to offend any of you Trekkies out there, but seriously, the man can’t act to save his life. (KHAN!!!)
Anyway, the original idea was to use a depressed looking clown type mask, however once the Captain Kirk makeover was finished the design was so clearly menacing that it was due to go down in history as one of the most infamous visages in the history of horror making.
The original design from the first movie was mostly hidden in shadows and obscured by windows, thus a different design was used for each subsequent Halloween movie in the series. The mask from Halloween 2 is arguably the most menacing from the series, although this is a matter of opinion. In Halloween 4 Michael Myers looked like more of a mime than anything else, and also had well groomed afro for some reason.
In 1981 a sequel to the original film was released, simply entitled “Halloween II”.
The film again featured Jamie Lee Curtis as the starring role, although she did not return to the series again until 1998 when Halloween H20 was released.
Donald Pleasance was introduced in Halloween II as a doctor who is desperately trying to hunt down Michael Myers before he kills again. He was of course unsuccessful in his attempts.
In 1982 a third Halloween film was released entitled “Halloween III, Season of the Witch”. I must have watched this flick at least three times now, and I still can’t figure out what it’s all about. It has something to do with the origins of Halloween and does not feature Michael Myers or any of the other characters from the Halloween series at all (accept for the fact that the original Halloween movie is being played on a TV screen somewhere in the film). Some fans love it, personally I can’t stand it.
When you think of the movies, you think of the mask and the psychopathic killer named Michael Myers. The image of the mask itself strikes fear into the hearts of some, and brings back feelings of nostalgia for others.
A huge range of Halloween merchandise is available, mainly in the form of masks and costumes however if you don’t want to walk down the street dressed as a psychopath then you can always buy a T-shirt; that way I don’t think you shouldn’t have too much trouble walking into a bank.
The flicks have obtained a cult status and as such eight movies have been created for the series so far, and a remake of the first film was released in October this year and at the time of writing is currently still in theatres.
The Halloween saga is a legend within its own right, and legends should not be tampered with. Who knows, perhaps the remake will be better than the original, I somewhat doubt it though.
Original cinematic trailer:
Video review of the movie:
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