'Halloween' Review By slysnide

"I guess everyone's entitled to one good scare huh?"
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
The greatest horror movie of all time. Not even Psycho can beat it. The simplicity in the story is amazing! Why did nobody think of it earlier? Cuz it was the beginning of a whole new type of horror genre.

It was Irwin Yablans who came up with the simple idea of babysitters being stalked and killed by the boogeyman, but this "boogeyman" wasn't like all the rest in the cheezy rip-offs of the '80s. The Shape reigned supreme, and was a stalker by all means, which is where the scare factor of the film comes from. For there isn't much scary AFTER the killer reveals itself, but in the suspense leading up to it, just as quiet and undisturbed as a stalker would be.

Same goes with the gore factor: There's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING SCARY ABOUT: blood/guts/gore. It's just repulsive to some, (not to me) and they don't wanna look, but that's just for that reason: it's disgusting, not scary. And HALLOWEEN is built on the fear of WHERE the Shape is, WHEN it'll strike, and WHY it's targeting people simply because one of them came to it's doorstep. (assuming you ignore the sequels).

So the plot is just that: a teenager drops off a key at the old abandoned house for her real estate agent father, and the shape hiding inside stalks her and her friends on Halloween night, when her friends are having fun, and she's babysitting children across the steet. Meanwhile, the shape's obsessive psychiatrist tries to hunt him down by hanging around outside the old abandoned house on Halloween night.

Donald Pleasence was perfect in the role of psychiatrist Sam Loomis. He carries the creepy aspect of the Shape being not human, but pure evil incarnate. His performance makes you think he's as crazy as the Shape itself, but his constant reminders about that to Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers) throughout the film leave expectations for a showdown of some type. Although while that's partially satisfied, the payoff is that no other slasher monster has the honor of having a psychiatrist chasing them down as a series regular. So it's a good thing that Donald took on the role, for it re-launched his career, and made him forever remembered for his role as Dr. Loomis in the Halloween series.

Jamie Lee Curtis makes a memorable debut in this film as the quiet and repressed teenage babysitter Laurie Strode, who's the main character that looks all too innocent to be offed by the Shape, but evil knows no boundaries. Her performance was sweet, purely innocent, yet slightly annoyed at the prospect of her friends having all the fun on Halloween instead of her, since she was babysitting Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews) and later Linsey Wallace (Kyle Richards). She doesn't seem to stand a chance against the Shape, but she comes off as a better lead character than in any other horror film to date, as her unique character traits haven't been redone in another film (except the first sequel) like this, thus making her the most memorable of them all.

Nancy Loomis as Annie Brackett is my favorite character of the film, as she's sassy, open to almost anything, and represents the average up front '70s teenager. She's actually the only supporting actress in horror films that you actually care for and would route for, which says a lot considering how many horror films there are. Many fans of the series agree too. Plus, making a character that likeable rather than just set-up to die increases the tensity of each scene as you actually worry for them. And while she may not be doing drugs or having sex, she still expresses other reasons why the Shape would be intrigued by her presence. Also a very memorable role that's not been copied since in the genre, which is tragic.

P.J. Soles plays the preppy teenager Lynda, and despite being a free spirited girl who doesn't seem to care much about schoolwork, much less respect for a stranger's bed, she still manages to be likeable in those respects, whether you think her funny, typical, or annoying with all her "totally" explanations.

And Lynda's boyfriend Bob Simms (John Michael Graham) is actually the only character who has so little screen time that you don't really care for him. Though he wasn't following the cardinal rules to survive a horror film, so I suppose it doesn't matter whether or not he survives the night in one piece.

Nick Castle plays Michael Myers, a fugitive mental patient better known as the Shape: pure inexplicable evil incarnate. The way he stalks slowly over several hours before going in for the kill, and how his expressionless white mask conveys every emotion at the right moment while still finding time to set-up grotesque decorations makes the Shape the best horror film monster in the genre's history. Nick Castle's performance was the best in the series, for his only direction was to walk from Point A to Point B, and that had him remembered for years. So it seems to have payed off asking John Capenter if he could hang around the set during filming.

So overall, the main and supporting characters (except one) in this film weren't set-up to die like in the '80s rip offs, but were characters that you cared for, and wanted to survive the mayhem. Barely any horror film takes the time in their screenplays to add any sympathy anymore. And that's a shame.

This whole film is built on suspense, and the music makes it ever more chilling, which is why it is still hailed today as "the 'Gone With The Wind' of the horror pictures" as CEO Joseph Wolf of Compass International Pictures put it.

The visuals of small town midwestern United States helps sell the sheer plausibility of this happening as it's a pure contemporary tale. Not lighting up the streets with street lights or large spotlights helps preserve the realistic look of nighttime, and Dean Cundey's cinematography lets you believe that your eyes are getting used to the dark, which allows for some great suspenseful moments, and equally great scares. And when artificial lighting is used, it's used properly for the sake of chilling reveals.

So why don't filmmakers who hail this as the best make something that measures up to it???? I don't know why. It would be common sense. But I can't wait for it to happen!!!!! I wanna make movies as a career, so maybe that somebody will be me! {I'm shooting too high aren't I?}

So don't watch this horror film in daylight, or with any lights on at all, for that could spoil the experience of HALLOWEEN, and how just simply by gazing beside the TV screen featuring the interior of the dark house that the Shape lurks in you can notice that you too are in the same type of location! Watch it alone to derive the ultimate scare factors out of it!

Oh, and one more thing, if you ever want this film to reside in your memory even more, then be sure to always venture to that dark unfrequented portion of your house where just about anyone or anything can be lurking, and be just as scary with the haunting memory of the Shape still in your mind.

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Comments (2)

  1. slysnide

    This one never comes on TV anymore. I actually noticed that it was on some other channel than AMC (Which owns almost all the sequels), but it was only shown once. I have the 2 disc 25th Anniversary Edition though.

    7 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  2. T.Clark

    Nice review. I haven't reviewed this yet cuz i need to watch the movie again. It's been a while! ha

    7 years agoby @insertusernamehereFlag