Halloween ★★★

This is like my 8th favorite Carpenter film, so maybe chalk up my resistance here to "perils of overfamiliarity." But honestly think I would have been all "what's the deal" in 1978, too. Never been particularly convinced the dude's genius transcended genre (unlike Hooper or Romero or his hero Hawks). He's a terrific renderer, the widescreen formal prowess (ooooh) beefing up the thin stuff rather than augmenting it, and in general you'll catch me more sympathetic to the contemporary critical dismissals of "empty flash" than anything Keith Uhlich has ever written.

Again, that's not bad. Dude has at least two great movies. But here the formal prowess is the text-- the killer can do anything/be anywhere because the film can, games played on victims are played on the audience, Michael Myers is the movie, etc-- Kids stuff. Such self-conscious hype obviously aggravates my pre-existing apathy for e.g the eighth time Michael Myers stands half visible behind a vertical obstruction only to disappear upon closer look. Really, the whole first half of the film puts me off, right from the dopey looking P.O.V ("MICHAEL MYERS IS THE MOVIE," he screams, to universal critical praise.) And of course, the holiday-night stalk and slash is built into the premise, so whatever tension y'all feel at Michael's daytime shenanigans (only thing he's killing is time, heh heh heh bitch) is in some sense self-generated. Picks up at night, of course, with The Thing providing a fun linking structure and all three teen murders appreciably nihilistic (especially in contrast to all the chances for escape they get, which, of course, we realize too late, were never really chances at all


Gotta admit the final fifteen minutes, in which iconic moments abound (focus-pull with "YOU CAN'T KILL THE BOOGIE MAN" one of the most precise moves you'll ever see; total flex), nearly pressed me into the positive. Still, David Gordon Green should be remaking Big Trouble.