Halloween

Halloween ★★★★★

Part of Horror October 2014

Although I may have an overall preference for A Nightmare on Elm Street as a concept and a franchise, it's hard to deny the perfection that is Halloween. Every slasher that has come after has been a failed attempt to replicate its excellence.

For one thing, it's genuinely creepy. Even the relatively calm moments of the film have this sense of foreboding that can freak out even people who are usually able to sit through just about anything without being scared. Part of that is its score, and part of it is just because it's so believable. Future installments of the series veer into the fantastic, but there's something about an escapee from a psych ward with a knife and a mask that is universally scary, because you never know when that kind of thing could really happen.

The cinematography and overall look of the film are perfection. The opening scene, shown from young Michael Myers' point of view, is directorial brilliance and makes you as a viewer instantly both freaked out and completely invested in what is going on. Some of the actors ham it up a little bit too much, but this is a minor problem with an otherwise perfect horror film. Shot for shot, it's easy to count on one hand the number of horror films that are even in the same ballpark.

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