Halloween ★★★★

I saw this for the first time a mere 8 months ago, and even though I was stoned and watching it on my laptop, I knew it was pretty great. I also knew I had to see it on the big screen, and I got the chance last night (weirdly - same theater’s showing Suspiria for their actual Halloween weekend movie).

My initial review talks mostly about the sense of “gaining context for other movies I've seen” while watching this. I’ve watched a whole bunch of slashers and other horror in the last 8 months, so that feeling has only grown. It feels just monumentally influential to me now. Even the fact that the kids are watching Howard Hawks’ The Thing seems to be an instance of Carpenter bending the future towards his will. You get the sense that this movie singlehandedly changed so much.

But even more than that, I was impressed by the craft on this second watch. Dr. Loomis calls Myers “inhumanly patient” and Carpenter’s pacing and camerawork in this could be described in the same way. The screenplay really just has the barest amount of plot, so each sequence gets stretched and stretched and stretched even though the whole movie only comes to about an hour and a half. With some later slashers you get the sense that they’re slow because they didn’t have any ideas and were struggling to get things up to feature length (even with twice as many kill scenes as this). But this movie is slow by design, and it fucking works. Also, on my first watch I was blown away by the first shot, but there are many subtler long takes in the rest of the movie that are just as impressive, the camera gliding along, sometimes gracefully, sometimes like it’s lurking.

Anyway there are still some things I don’t like, and I don’t know if this will ever be an all-time favorite for me. But I do still love it, and it feels like such a blueprint for so many other things that I love (like, It Follows really is just like 80% this, 20% A Nightmare on Elm Street). I’d gladly watch it again in a few weeks, once it’s the proper time.