Halloween

Halloween ★★½

I'm acutely aware that this review may very well result in the mass exodus from my happy little corner here on Letterboxd. Now, before anybody does anything rash, remember that I'm the whimsical elf that brings you all of the killer carousel unicorn, sharksploitation, wererooster and killer sofa content on this platform.

For context, I watched John Carpenter's Halloween for the first time when I was 17/18. I suspect this may have contributed to my indifference to the film, as I'd already fell deep into the horror rabbit hole by this stage. Likewise, nostalgia plays no part in my enjoyment of the film. Suffice to say, as much as I enjoy slashers, I tend to find them very hit and miss. Arguably, they're one of the easiest films to make. If inclined to do so, you can be very lazy with the plot and just have your antagonist running rampant and call it a wrap. (Note that I don't equate all slashers to being uninspired shite though).

The score is cool and all, but it's used way too liberally. After a while, it ceases to be sinister and instead becomes really grating. Don't get me wrong, I love a good melodramatic score, especially being an absolute fiend for Hammer horrors. However, Halloween's score is so hyperbolic and self-asserting, that it ultimately erodes my patience. Like dude, I get it, spooky things are about to transpire. Doesn't mean you have to give me tinnitus, does it? I feel like the music in this could have created so much atmosphere, yet it's too overt to create any real tension.

On the subject of tension, the opening scene is near perfect. It's genuinely harrowing and immediately grabs your attention. However, all of that tension quickly dissipates and we're left waiting until the 50 minute mark for Michael to actually do anything. This is further impeded by the characters being really woefully uninteresting. Usually, teenagers in slashers are completely insufferable, hence I'm usually rooting for the antagonist. However, with Halloween, I honestly don't give a rat's ass what happens to any of them. The entire film is met with apathy on my behalf which is such a huge issue.

Michael Myers has such notoriety within the genre, which is fair enough. However, his character is nowhere near fleshed out enough. When compared to his mentally ill, killer counterparts, he's rather bland. Notably, not as bland as the hulking bore that is Jason Voorhees, though. In films such as Peeping Tom (1960) and Psycho, the antagonists are palpably creepy and credible, which is intensified by the clever camera shots. They feel well conceptualised and authentic, as such their presence holds far more gravity. Whilst the POV camera angles are somewhat effective in Halloween, I struggle to take Michael seriously. This can most definitely be attributed to the films climax. For some bizarre reason, Michael is gifted with the power of immortality, for no other reason than to rise from Laurie's flowerbed to try and smite her down once again. Michael had the propensity to be such an ominous, cold blooded villain, yet he loses all credence, transforming into nothing more than a Mortal Kombat character.

I've probably said quite enough, so I'll try to wrap this up. However, I do want to include some positives before I do so. There are a couple of scenes that are genuinely good in this. Notably, the wardrobe scene, the bed sheet disguise scene and, as stated earlier, the opening scene. Also, it's always nice to see my dude Donald Pleasence. Other than that, I'm afraid that I just draw a blank. I've seen this three times since I first watched it five/six years ago. Sadly, I've just failed to connect with it.

Hopefully, I haven't pissed on peoples' Halloween parade too much. I know how many people love this and I genuinely wish I held it in the same esteem. The feeling of being lonely in my opinions and interests is always really frustrating. Even amongst other horror fans, I feel somewhat of an outsider at times, which is a bit of a shame. Anywho, cheers to people who have read through my brainfarts throughout October. Hope you all have an awesome, spooky Halloween! 🎃

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