Halloween

Halloween ★★★★½

Despite being dated, somewhat slow early on and heavily clichéd by today’s standards, the impact that John Carpenter’s classic Halloween left on audiences at its time is phenomenal. Introducing the world to two of the greatest aspects in horror film history, that of scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis and the ever so terrifying silent killer, Michael Myers, Halloween for the most part is still as intense and eerie today as it were back in 1978 though much of the dialogue by today’s standards is cheesy and most of the supporting performances are atrocious.

Donald Pleasance gives in the strongest performance of this film quite easily and possibly the strongest in the entire franchise, his character of Dr. Sam Loomis is ever such a delight to have on screen. His dialogue in this film represents the only time in which the dialogue is strong and realistic. It was rumoured that Christopher Lee was said to have been the first choice to play Dr. Sam Loomis, yet either way, the character of Loomis is our hero in the face of terror unleashed by Michael.

Jamie Lee Curtis, though inexperienced and at times giving in a less than stellar performance is able to convey the innocence and likeability towards the character, the two key factors to her character which led to the positive response regarding the film's protagonist, which then ensured Laurie Strode to be one of the most well known and recurring protagonists in horror film history, alongside Sidney Prescott in the Scream movies.

Where Halloween works best is with John Carpenter’s now iconic and legendary musical score which sends across the discomfort, horror and eeriness to the whole film perfectly. The opening scene, revolving around a young Michael murdering his older sister is filmed entirely in a single take, an amazing feat for the time being that strongly shows the brilliant cinematography used and how it sets up the  mystery, suspense and horror of the situation.

John Carpenter leaves the horror of Michael’s murders up to the imagination of the viewer, never showing any blood or gore. Ingenious to say the least, Carpenter understands better than any other director that the horror of murder is not left with the imagery of blood and gore but in the act itself and Carpenter’s terrific building of atmosphere from the opening scene makes the film all the more unpleasant during its 90 minute duration.

The high school drama aspect of the film, explored early in the film, though slow and somewhat useless to the overall plot adds a bit to the character of Laurie Strode, portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis, and makes for an entertaining first act.

The message sent across through the first Halloween is a daring and frightening concept that is sent across flawlessly: evil cannot be destroyed. Michael has no motivations to his actions unlike other serial killers such as Freddy, Jason and Leatherface. Even Chucky has more motivation driving his actions than Michael does. That is where another factor of the brilliance of Halloween lies.

Dated, heavily clichéd yet brilliantly told, Halloween is a cult classic and deservingly so. The eerie atmosphere established from the opening minute of film has succeeded in scaring generations away and has since its release, been the most watched film on Halloween.

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