Halloween was released on October 25, 1978, it’s an American independent slasher horror film directed and scored by John Carpenter. Co-written with producer Debra Hill and it stars Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis (her film debut). The film takes place in Haddonfield during the Halloween season where we’re introduced to the Boogeyman Michael Myers, as he stalks high school student Laurie Strode (Curtis). People die, candy gets handed out, and it all hinges around the babysitter…
This month we’ve done movies by John Carpenter to celebrate the Halloween season, it’s fitting that we end on Halloween, with Hallowen. Read our previous ventures on Big Trouble in Little China and The Thing. Before I get carried away with the details, go check out what my friends Dr. Q at Craft Beer Tasters and Cody from Three B Zine have to say about this film.
The film opens on Halloween night in 1963, as a young Michael Myers murders his older sister, stabbing her with a kitchen knife. It’s a great POV sequence. We then flash to fifteen years later as he escapes a psychiatric hospital, only to return home and stalks teenager Laurie Strode. Psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Pleasence) suspects Michael’s intentions and follows him to Haddonfield in the hopes of stopping him from killing… again.
It’s Halloween day and Laurie thinks someone is following her, she tells her friends but they dismiss it. That night Laurie babysits and plans on meeting up with her friends later that night, but one by one these friends bite the dust, courtesy of Michael Myers. He finds the most opportune time to slay them as they engage in sexual activities.
Laurie then goes to the Wallace house, where one of her friends has just been recently slain. This turns in to a house of horrors for her where Michael Myers has placed the corpses of her friends in key places for shock value. Myers attacks her and she falls backwards down the staircase. Laurie flees the house and screams for help, but she isn’t able to find any.
She goes back to the house where she was babysitting, where she manages to stab him in the side of the neck with a knitting needle. Laurie thinks she’s killed the boogeyman and takes a breath, but Myers rises again to continue his quest to kill her. She manages to hide in the bedroom closet as Myers tears down the doors, quickly Laurie undoes a clothes hanger and sticks Myers in the eye, causing him to drop his knife. Laurie takes the knife and stabs him, Myers collapses and Laurie exits. Dr. Loomis arrives in time to see Myers strangling Laurie, Loomis shoots Myers in the chest at point blank range repeatedly until he falls over of the second story window. Laurie asks if that was the boogeyman, Loomis confirms, but upon looking below to where Myers had fallen, his body is missing…
The good; this film was the first in the slasher genre, it did it the best and has been copied every since. Many of the tropes started here and have now become common place cliches in the horror genre. There’s very little gore in this film, instead the horror comes from the tension and suspense from scene to scene. I love the efficiency of this film, it gets in and gets out with the slim runtime of 91 mins. It’s not some self indulgent slick special effects driven franchise-commercial that runs for two and a half hours.
Halloween also showed that independent films were viable and, well… good. Halloween was produced on a budget of $325,000 and grossed $47 million at the box office domestically, and $70 million worldwide. That’s $250 million by 2014 standards.
And then the soundtrack… what an amazingly well matched score. When you think of Halloween you can’t help but think of this driving piece of music;
John Carpenter composed this instantly recognizable piece of music and it’s awesome. I can’t think of the Halloween films without this, it’s like Star Wars without the theme.
Oh and there’s even a reference to the original movie version of The Thing From Another World, which Carpenter would remake in to his own in The Thing.
The bad; it spawned a bunch of copycats that didn’t live up to the standard. From here we have the birth of the slasher genre in films, and sad to say that most of them are pretty weak. They rely more on the gore than on the tension and suspense.
Overall, a classic film for a well loved holiday. Michael Myers is evil incarnate and he’s out to get you! We don’t need any rhyme or reason why he’s out for blood, he just is. He’s only human right? But he’s stabbed in the neck, then blinded in one eye, but yet he still comes after Laurie time and time again, not even a bullet will stop Myers’ bloodlust. Now that’s scary.
To be honest, I had trouble writing about this film and thinking of what beverage to pair it up with. Writing about two things I love is tough, I thoroughly love John Carpenter’s films, and I have a special place for the horror genre.
But anyway, I’d pair a viewing of Halloween with Pumpkin Juice. Yes, that Pumpkin Juice, the one you can find at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Known to be popular amongst the students of Hogwarts, this beverage can even be made at home, read about it here.
I couldn’t think of what to drink while watching this movie, but it was staring right at me. So why not combine two things that I enjoy, horror and Harry Potter? Sipping this while watching a movie about Halloween will bring you in to the spirit of things, as you see a pumpkin on screen you can drink a pumpkin in real life, is this a new drinking game?? You can also purchase the juice on Amazon.
Dr. Loomis – “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.”