For some movies, there is really no point in reviewing. Seriously…..what insight can I provide on this movie that hasn’t been said thousands of times elsewhere already in the online world and for that matter, the print world? For that reason, Im not going to get into the plot synopsis or bother to tell you how good it is.
When someone asks me what my favorite horror movie is, I usually defer to this one. It was a well-done, simple plot and concept which far exceeded expectations both critically and financially. I like the fact that this was created without a big budget, yet became so successful. I first learned of this movie sometime in the mid-80’s when I was about 12 years old. Back then, I would aimlessly wander video store corridors spending an hour just in the horror section alone, obsessively picking up movie boxes and reading the description. It was a long time until I would be able to watch many of these films due to my young age and inability to pay for the rental. The span of a few years at such a young age can feel like a really long time. I feel that some of the horror movies I desperately wanted to watch when I was younger got built up to larger than life expectations in my mind. This movie was one of them, but its still hard to think of anything else that beats it.
For a film with a name like Halloween….you would think there would be a little more substance to the plot, and a connection to the holiday than simply an escaped mental patient tries to kill a babysitter. Maybe this is just a bigger deal to me because of my long-time fascination with the holiday itself. John Carpenter actually got lucky with the availability of the title. I remember watching a documentary where he mentions the fact that they couldn’t believe it had never been used for a movie. The thing is though, there’s really not much to do with Halloween other than it was the day Myers picked to escape. Yes, I know the idiotic sequels babble some nonsense about the connection, but they are merely sequels to a movie which never should have had sequels (at least not involving Myers). In fact, Im one of the few who thought John Carpenter had it right by wanting to do Halloween “themed” films after the original. The problem was that after the original’s major success, the producers practically tripped over themselves to get a sequel made. I guess “why mess with success” came into play and we got another Myers film faster than you could blink. I was happy with Halloween 2 actually. It definitely ruined any chance of public embracement of the “theme” movies, but Im not unhappy that it was made. I watch it practically every October and it was a fun thrill-ride.
Although the anthology idea wasn’t fully implemented as originally planned, I am glad they were able to at least get one out there. Sadly, the success of the first two, and the resistance of child-like minds to try anything new, doomed the series to never stray from Michael movies again. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the series had started with Halloween 3, then continued with Myers starting in part 2. Part three was actually the first one I watched in the series. It gave me an appreciation of that film unlike the majority of Halloween fans who were introduced to the series via Myers.
It was years until I would be old enough to see the original Halloween, and I admit there was a little bit of a letdown. I previously covered my annoyance at the fact that the plot has little to do with the holiday. I also mentioned that expectations grew impossibly high each year until I was old enough to see it. Despite the movie not possibly being able to live up to my expectations I still consider it one of the best out there of its kind. At times I feel like the original “Nightmare on Elm Street” should take first place. That movie scared me more than anything else because I saw it long before I was allowed to watch these types of films. I was very young, and although it really is a well-done movie, I think it freaked me out mainly because I had never seen anything like it. The problem with Freddy is that the absurd sequels absolutely destroyed his reputation as a frightening killer and turned him into a ridiculous parody of himself with more one-liners than Andrew Dice Clay. Where the Halloween series kept portraying Michael Myers with the same, steady chilling consistency (despite the plots crumbling around him), Freddy was turned into an absolute clown, and to me this damaged the reputation of the original.
A lot of horror movies are fun to watch, but not necessarily good. Halloween is both enjoyable to watch and well-made. For younger people used to fast-paced, action and shocks, this nearly 40-year old movie might be a tad slow. For those who can appreciate skillful direction and suspense, it doesn’t get any better in the horror arena.