Ian West’s review published on Letterboxd:
Lurking terror—the suburban nightmare.
I can sit here until I die talking about how much I love my favorite movie and it’s impact on both the genre and independent filmmaking, but instead I’m just going to ramble about how John Carpenter’s Halloween fell into my lap many years ago.
I’ll never take for granted that during my favorite month, on my favorite day of the year, I get to watch my favorite movie and still be totally into it like I was the first time. This story starts out simple enough, My cousin was supposed to babysit me while my parents went to a Halloween Party but he ended up making me a giant bowl of popcorn and headed out to meet up with his GF for some Halloween Tricks (and Treats), making me promise not to tell my folks.
I was a crude businessman back then, so it cost him $10 bucks for my silence and it was a deal, he was gone. So I plopped myself on the couch with a giant popcorn bowl in my lap and turned the TV on in search of something that would fit the holiest of nights for someone like me while glowing pumpkins with flickering light slightly strobing in the room, and the shadows of trees blowing in the wind outside my window. Then I found it, the End credits of some movie were playing and the TV announcer said:
“Up next, John Carpenter’s Halloween”
I thought to myself “How fitting!” and went in completely blind and the screen turned black, the Halloween theme began, and orange writing appeared with a glorious pumpkin and I was spooked. Mood if there ever was one. As the film went on I realized that these babysitters were getting offed while my babysitter was gone and I was all alone. I was convinced there was a psycho killer with a 467,436 inch butcher knife outside stalking around every corner of my house so I just remained firmly planted in my seat as I listened to Dr. Loomis hype up the lurking evil of Micheal Myers. It all seemed very real to me, and whoever this John Carpenter guy was, he knew his shit since he managed to make a simple ghost costume via bedsheet scary as fuck.
Before this I’d only been into universal monsters before recently watched the first two Elm Street flicks with my cousin (which totally terrified me) but I knew with Freddy I was dealing with a supernatural dream stalker who couldn’t get me unless I fell asleep. With Halloween I felt VERY threatened home alone, like Michael Myers COULD be outside my window.
I love everything about this movie, everything. Opening pumpkin shot, the Black cats and goblins chant, the young Michael POV trackng shots, the shortest implied sex scene in cinema, Debra Hill’s hand grabbing the butcher knife, “Michael?!?”, rainy Loomis opening “don’t you think we can refer to it as he?”, rabbit in red, Smith’s grove Night of the living dead wandering patients, Haddonfield, “Totally!”, “hey JERK, speed kills!” Sheriff Bracket, the devils eyes, pure and simply evil, Cemetery side story about some guy named Charley over in Russellville, the pulsating soundtrack, THE SHAPE, Donald Pleasence, pianos and synthesizers, heavy breathing, yeah... just everything.
After the movie ended I was TOTALLY CONVINCED he was in my house. It turned out to be my cousin returning from his ‘backseat of the car’ adventure and Halloween II started, but before it did he (very stoned) asked me how I liked the movie, I simply replied, “This was perfect.”
It’s felt that way ever since. My love for this movie has no limit and I can’t wait to watch it at least 5 more times over the next two months! Absolutely my kind of mounting terror, suburban nightmare jack o’ lantern masterpiece jam.