Halloween (1978)

I met him fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no, uh, conscience, no understanding and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes, the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply…evil.

This is the movie that brought me to the dance. The gift that – unfortunately – keeps on giving, spawning a franchise that currently tips the scales at twelve movies with another one on the way. Such is the fickle nature of Hollywood where a good idea isn’t a good idea unless it can be endlessly replicated and destroyed. The first movie is amazing. The second I really enjoyed. The 2018 film appealed to my sense of nostalgia. But everything else? Meh.

I used to have an old paperback novelization of Halloween that I read incessantly as a pre-teen. The book went into Samhain and various subplots not mentioned in the film. Feeling nostalgic, I wanted to try and get my hands on a copy. Not so fast slick. A quick search revealed that copies of the paperback are going for upwards of $500.00. I think I’ll let my curiosity simmer for a while.

Halloween was my first introduction to scary movies. As well as my first introduction to John Carpenter; the beginning of a love affair of his work that continues to this day. For a slasher flick, there’s surprisingly little blood in the movie. It has an indie feel to it, a certain rawness. It is the product of its era – the seventies – with all the charm, wonders and feathered hairstyles that goes along with it.

Recently, I’ve watched Halloween three times in as many weeks. First with the commentary track featuring John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Jamie Lee Curtis. Once as a straight viewing and, finally, watching it with my kids for their first time. Desperate cinephile that I am, my wife and I are pretty strict about what our kids and cannot watch. Before Halloween, Aliens was likely the scariest movie they’ve seen. Of course, they are older than I was when I first watched it, but what is parenting if not controlled hypocrisy?

Halloween II picks up right where Halloween left off and I adore it so. It’s a little more bloody than the original, and Carpenter did not return to the helm to direct, but did write the screenplay along with Debra Hill. It’s a fun movie to watch and realistically, they should have stopped there. But then came Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which isn’t so much a bad movie as it is complete insanity. The first and only Halloween movie to not feature Michael Meyers. I still recommend it just for morbid curiosity.

As for the rest, take your chances.

Happy Halloween folks.

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M. Ruin

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