Halloween ★★★★★

"I met him, fifteen years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding; and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil."

The more I see John Carpenter's Halloween the more I love it. It is an absolute masterpiece and there are very few slashers or horror films in general that I think are on a par with this one. Often known for being the grand-daddy of slasher movies, but Halloween is not as gory as many slashers that have come and gone since but very few have retained the same level of intensity and atmosphere that this film has. To this day it is rightfully considered a staple of the genre and while the 1982 remake of The Thing is my overall favourite John Carpenter film, this is easily on a par with it for me.

This film is of course heavily influenced by Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece Psycho, with the opening scene resembling the shower scene in that movie. Everything about that scene is just perfect and it is one of the original films that I know of that utilises the P.O.V. camera shot and the way it is used here is simply unnerving right from the start.

The camerawork and cinematography creates a claustrophobic atmosphere weather you're looking at the P.O.V. shots, or you are looking at beautiful wide angle lenses of the fictional town of Haddonfield where the camera is slowly following the main characters using a dolly shot, just giving you that feeling something Myers could be anywhere. The intensity never lets up because there isn't a single moment where you feel like characters are safe in any way.

Even Michael Myers himself is shrouded in mystery. You do see a backstory at the beginning with a shocking reveal, but when you see him stalking Laurie and other characters, you rarely see what he actually looks like even with the mask on. In fact you only get a proper close up shot of it maybe once or twice. A lot of the shots you see of him in this movie would be either shot from a distance or shot in a darkly lit room, sometimes in reflections or shadow or from behind, he is a huge presence in this movie to me. Even the way he is built up gives this film such a psychological edge.

I love the performance of Donald Pleasance as Dr. Sam Loomis, and a lot of what you find out about Michael Myers is through his dialogue because of the fact he was Myers' psychologist. He expects Myers to return home after escaping the mental asylum. I just love his dialogue and the way he delivers it throughout the film, especially when he describes Myers as just 'Pure Evil' like he is not even human.

Jamie Lee Curtis is also great as the 'pure and innocent' Laurie, whom Myers stalks along with her sexually active friends obsessively after she drops off a key to his old house. A majority of the focus is on her character and I did find myself caring about weather she would survive or not. It made the final moments of the film not only intense, but sometimes even frustrating to watch. Particularly towards the end of the film, I still have the urge to say "No, don't drop that there"!

The use of jump scares is also really effective here, especially this scene. Seriously look at the terror on that bully's face :). While sadly it is an overused trope today, the jump scares are used very effectively because they are not false or cheap. They actually feel used to sustain tension throughout the film. The kills are so creative in this and and there's only a few kills in this one, but its how it builds up to them that makes it so awesome and intense.

And of course how could I not mention John Carpenter's iconic score. It's not just the music that's outstanding, but also the way it is utilised is just perfect. Whether its for the kill scenes or those scenes where the camera is just following Laurie and her friends it's just unnerving and matches the tone perfectly. It just needs no introduction as it is constantly eerie and unsettling throughout.

Halloween might have a few nit-picky moments, but for me it is perfect on almost every level to me, so I completely feel justified in rating this one 5-stars. One of my absolute favourite films .

P.S. Here's a drinking game challenge... how about a drink for every time P.J. Soles says "totally" in this film :)

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