Halloween ★★★

Remember that annoying kid into horror movies that you knew back in the day who insisted that Halloween III was the best one out of the series? Yeah, that was me. That sort of casual glibness is sorta cringeworthy, even (especially?) given the low stakes of opinions about such things, but I really did have a low opinion of John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN back in the day.

So what changed? Partly me, I guess. The movie's still the same, although it's pretty striking to realize that the number of on-camera murders can be counted on one hand, and that the killings are all-comparative to Carpenter's imitators, relatively tame.

At the same time, I don't blame Nirvana for Nickelback, and while a lot of the tropes in Halloween bugged me when I was younger, in retrospect, the real problem may have been that the people inspired by Halloween's success to make horror movies weren't all John Carpenter.

Or it may simply have been that after watching Rob Zombie's Halloween, I've come to realize how much better JC's is in comparison. It's still not in my top 5 John Carpenter movies, but it's a solid exercise in technique, capturing a genuine feel of unease, and thematically, on rewatching, I think the 'sex = death' stuff that Carpenter gets accused of (and that some of the imitators latched onto) is overplayed. I mean, it is there (that's nothing new in horror though--going back to Bram Stoker and beyond), but it's more symptomatic--sex in the sense of innocence lost, and passing to adulthood. Same as finding out there's a boogyman, or that sometimes people do terrible things. Adulthood means being aware of death, and not being able to escape it, and that's where a lot of the tension in Jamie Lee Curtis's situation comes from, I think.

Of course, on the other hand, I could be full of it, as we have Donald Pleasance's character, whose reaction to being confronted with death is to try and shoot it in the throat.

There's a lesson here that was perhaps overlooked in the sequels, I think.

Jay D liked these reviews