Halloween ★★★★½

Jump-scares galore, petrifying peripheral imagery and the most iconic horror score of all time help make this essential October viewing what it is, but the most terrifying thing Carpenter’s classic holds is the eerie sense of mystery behind the murderous menace of Haddonfield. From the spine-tingling opening POV, an assumption of the neglect Michael experienced as a boy can be made, his older sister preoccupied with her sexual desires whilst their parents remain out of the picture. It’s only when they return home to find they’ve now got one child instead of two, we start to consider there could be something else at work other than plain old psychosis; an internal evil written across the six year-old’s vacant face. Fast forward fifteen years from the killing, and Michael does indeed come home, fuelled by the exact same rabid hunger for violence that institutionalised him. Is it tremors of tragedy ticking through time? Or is it the devil himself? There’s no question Michael receives physical injuries that would be inhuman to live through, but instead of giving us a fixed answer, Carpenter leaves us lingering in the uncertainty of the question. Some of the line deliveries from the child actors are disingenuous, and yes, certain musical cues feel dated or abrupt. But is Jamie Lee Curtis empowering in every way? Totally! Is Donald Pleasence every bit as brilliant as he always is? Totally! Does Dean Cundey’s sublime lighting rival his work on The Thing? Totally! Is this the perfect film to watch every year on Halloween for the rest of your unnatural born life? Totally.

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