Horror Review: John Carpenter's Halloween (1978)

in #film4 months ago (edited)

halloween-bob-gleason-poster.jpg

Source: BloodyDisgusting.com

The Night HE Came Home is a Night to Remember!


All Michael Myers wanted to do was make his parents proud. When they left his older sister to babysit him that fateful Halloween night in 1963, he heard them tell her, "Now remember: don't have any boys over, or we'll kill you." When Michael's sister Judith disobeyed the rules, he took what Mommy and Daddy said to heart and killed her. But instead of rewarding him for being a good son, the evil Dr. Samuel Loomis proclaimed Michael a sociopath simply because of Michael's eye color. I re-iterate: the dude made a psychiatric judgement, of a minor no less, because he has black eyes, something over which Michael has zero fucking control! John Carpenter could not be making a statement more clearly about racism in America, and it's so powerful that George Romero swiped it for his own indie feature, the awesomely bad Night of the Living Dead.

In a plot Stephen King would shamelessly steal to make The Shawshank Redemption (more like "Yawn-yank Redemption", amirite Stevie?), Michael spends the next fifteen years involuntarily committed to a mental institution. But no matter what Loomis tried, he could never break Michael's spirit, even though the electro-convulsive therapy rendered him mute. Now twenty-one years old and deemed legally competent to stand trial (for a "crime" he committed when he was 1/3rd the age necessary to be drafted into the goddamn Army), Loomis arrives at the Smith Grove Sanitarium in the dead of night to carry Michael off to what will likely be a life spent behind bars, with no chance for freedom.

Fortunately Michael escapes from the maniacal doctor, and is forced to defend himself when an auto mechanic mistakes his request for directions as an attack on his person. Knowing his survival depends on his ability to blend in and disappear, he grabs a William Shatner mask to hide his face, and heads for the only safe haven he's ever known in this big, cruel world: his old home town of Haddonfield, Illinois. In a heartbreaking twist, he arrives to discover his parents moved away a long time ago (something he might have known years earlier if they'd, you know, ever come to visit him or just sent a fucking postcard), and now he is truly alone in the world.

In Haddonfield, he makes a new life for himself as Jack O'Lantern, a kindly young man who enjoys carving pumpkins for young children. But then Jack sees a babysitter breaking the rules about having boys over after dark, and he realizes nothing has changed since 1963. Donning his William Shatner mask and sharpening his butcher knives, Jack becomes "Halloween", a silent avenging angel of doom determined to rid Haddonfield of every bad babysitting element he can find while helping the virginal, innocent Laurie Strode maintain that virginal innocence as long as possible by slaughtering the people she thinks are her friends, but in reality are just a bunch of beer-drinking, pot-smoking skanks. This is a love story at its finest, people, the kind of thing that William Shakespeare punk ripped off for the DiCaprio/Danes Romeo + Juliet flick in 1996.

But just when you think Halloween has everything taken care of, the vile Sam Loomis has one last 'trick' up his sleeve. In a plot Brian de Palma would later "borrow" to make Carrie (seriously, are there no original ideas in Hollywood besides this movie right here?), he convinces Laurie that Michael's trying to punish her the way he punished Judith back in 1963. This unlocks her inner rage, and using everything from knitting needles to bent clothes hangers, she fights Halloween to a stalemate...until Loomis shows up with a freaking handgun and blows Halloween off the second floor balcony of a house! Like, what the hell, dude? You're telling me you're too weak to go mano-a-mano with the guy you spent the last fifteen years torturing in your "asylum"? What a pussy.

I was on my feet yelling at my television until the last shot of the picture, which shows no body laying on the lawn where Halloween should have been. That's right: my boy thought of everything and grabbed a bullet-proof vest from a police car when nobody was looking. Carpenter doesn't tell us that, because he respects the intellect of his audience and as an indie director he understands he doesn't have to spoon-feed us the shit we should be smart enough to work out on our own. The movie ends on an upbeat note, with Laurie confused about what just happened, and Loomis suffering his own nervous breakdown, because he knows Halloween comes back every fucking year, bitch!

This movie is so badass that if I gave it a star rating, the whole galaxy would go dark. It's original, it's got great acting, the soundtrack is unforgettable! Seriously, listen to it alone and you'll feel like you too might be Loomis, stalking through the Illinois suburbs, trying to stop the hero. It's scary as fuck, my bro-dawgs, just what you need for HOOOOOOOOOOWL-O-WEEN!

Before I close, I gotta mention the trailer:

Dude, what the literal fart-blasting scrotums is up with this trailer? Whoever edited this thing should have his chest hollowed out and turned into a living Jack-o-Lantern, because they made it look like a horror movie! While I'll admit the soundtrack is scary, the real "horror" of the story is that a crazy doctor (probably with a degree in Phrenology or some other made-up "science") managed to lock an innocent kid in a mental hospital for fifteen years, but Donald Pleasance plays the guy like he's some kind of goddamn hero. What the hell script was he reading? This shit right here is why nobody should trust the medical profession -- John Carpenter tried to warn us in 1978, but did we listen? Well, at least one of us did, and I'm trying to set the record straight. Go buy this movie, a physical copy, right now, because I promise you if the Sam Loomises of the world get their way, it'll disappear off shelves just like Thalidomide.

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If I had known this movie was a total rip-off, I wouldn't have watched it a dozen of times... Seriously!

All kidding aside, I love the originality behind this review. If I wouldn't have studied film history and weren't into horror, I might have believed that your description was actually pretty accurate ( it is, in a way, just a different reading of the plot, I guess haha).

Man, I love this movie for so many reasons; cinematography ( especially the POV's ), sound design, plot ( pretty original for its time ), the suspense, the horror, its scream queens and so on and so forth. I even love Donald Pleasance ( always a pleasure ) and the trailer. I'm sure the same goes for you.

I must have watched this during a number of Halloween's, even though we don't celebrate this day in The Netherlands, let alone in Portugal.

Donald Pleasance is a delight no matter what he's in, but the films he worked on with John Carpenter, especially this one and Prince of Darkness, are just top-notch examples of the actor and his craft.

I was only a year old when Halloween came out in theaters, but a few years ago a local cinema did a screening of it on Halloween night. My wife and her best friend and I all went and saw it, and we had a blast. It's incredible how well it holds up forty years later. And that soundtrack...it's so unfair that one guy was so damn good at writing, directing, producing, and scoring, and from such a young age! :)


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This movie is just AMAZING! It's such a classic one!

Sup Dork?!? Enjoy the Upvote!!! Keep up with the dorky content for more love!!!

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Hello @modernzorker, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!

Thanks so much, @anaerwu! The movie is phenomenal, but my review of it is actually a joke. It's one of the earliest examples of the "slasher" film, and I love it to death, but this review is meant to be comical and incorrect. It's a "mis-interpretation", or a "wrong reading" that makes it seem like something it is not. :)

I don't want you to be disappointed if you see the movie and feel like you saw a completely different film. :)