GORE GORE GORE – Halloween
This is it. This is the movie I’ve been looking forward to reviewing since I started the slasher review columns. So many people who write review columns wanna be funny so they review bad movies and swear a lot. I review these movies because it’s a genre I love, and this movie is the reason I love the genre. Halloween is the original of the slasher genre. The formula I discuss in other movies is first laid out here, and in my opinion no movie does it better. Psycho and Peeping Tom were the prototypes, Halloween is the finished product.
The movie starts off in on Halloween Night, 1963. A young boy watches through the window as his sister makes out with her Boyfriend. When they run up stairs the boy enters the house and grabs a knife. Waiting for the boy to leave shortly thereafter, the boy climbs the stairs, puts on a clown mask and murders his sister. He then walks down the stairs and outside as his parents pull up and call his name. “Michael?” Thus, Michael Meyers the original Slasher villain is born.
Fifteen years later on the night before Halloween, Michael Meyers escapes from the asylum where he was locked up. His destination is his home town, as he is ready to kill again. The only person who knows and believes this is his Doctor, who has been prepared for this day for years. No one listened to him.
Now with the background set, let’s get into our cast of characters.
Laurie Strode is our main character of the movie. She’s the prototype of the heroine that all of the future movies will follow. She’s smart, innocent, and pure. She’s a virgin, which is important to the formula. Laure is played by Jamie Lee Curtis in her first movie. This gives her a leg up on most Slasher movie characters because she’s played by a good actress. Laurie is a good character, easy to empathize with. She’s easy to cheer for against the villain.
The other main character is Dr. Loomis, played by the great actor Donald Pleasance. Donald Pleasance only agreed to do the movie because his daughter liked John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct Thirteen. It’s a good thing because it is Pleasance’s performance that makes the whole movie work. This old psychologist, who knows Michael best, is spinning tales of evil that give you the lore. It’s Dr. Loomis that makes Michael scary.
The next character down the line is Annie. God is Annie’s voice annoying. You know that annoying sardonic speaking high school girl that was always rude to everyone just because? That’s Annie. Annie set the standard for characters you hope the killer takes out. She’s rude to her best friends, she’s rude to random strangers, she’s rude to her dad, and she’s rude to little kids. But the most bad stuff happens to her so that’s awesome. She gets stuck in a window, she spills stuff all over her clothes, and the dog hates her. She died in her car being killed from behind when she gets in her car. Yaaay.
The last of the trio of girls in Lynda, she’s played by PJ Soles of Stripes fame. She’s totally a stereotypical valley girl totally saying totally like totally every other word. Totally. Lynda is the first of the long line of Slasher movie show your boobs and then die characters. She’s killed by phone line strangulation as she’s totally talking to Laurie after thinking the guy in a ghost sheet is her boyfriend. This is totally the last time I’ll be saying totally.
Bob is the last of the victims in the main part of the film (yes only three). Bob is Lynda’s boyfriend because he can put up with the way she talks. He’s really only in the movie for a short time but he has by far the best death in the whole series. Michael pins him against a wall with a knife and then steps back slowly looking over his handiwork. It’s quite awesome. One of the iconic moments nn slasher history.
There are only two other important characters, Tommy and Lindsay the little kids. Nothing really bad happens to them except they get scared, but they do add an important moment to the movie. Laurie is determined to protect these little kids, which forces her to fight Michael instead of getting the hell out of there. Thankfully neither of these kids grows up to be the main character of another Halloween film. Nope. This is the last time you ever see them… (OH GOD!)
The final sequence of the movie starts when Laurie goes over to check on Lynda after the weird phone call as one would. She walks around and finds her friends dead bodies one by one because Michael set all the trends, including moving the bodies around so that they scare the final person. After she’s thoroughly frightened, Michael appears out of the darkness in a really cool effect, and stabs her in the arm, causing her to tumble down the stairs.
Laurie being smart decides the best course of action at this point is to get up and run (or quickly hobble) out of there. She goes across the street and after a few tense moments Tommy opens the locked door and lets her in. She sends him upstairs and then sits on the couch. It seems like she’s safe, but nope, the window was open and Michael got in. He misses stabbing her and she stabs him in the neck with a knitting needle. She then runs upstairs to check on the kids.
Suddenly Michael arrives at the top of the stairs and the kids run into a room and lock it. Laurie runs into another room and hides in a closet. Michael not being brain dead breaks into the closet after her. But Laurie is ready and she stabs him in the eye with a wire hanger (NO WIRE HANGERS EVER! Sorry…) and then takes his knife and stabs him.
When he falls, she quickly runs to the kids and tells them to go run to a neighbors and call the police. When they run out of the house screaming it shows Dr Loomis where Michael may be. As Laurie sits there Michael sits up and moves over to start choking Laurie. Laurie again being ultimately resourceful pulls off his mask. That buys just enough time for Dr. Loomis to arrive and shoot Michael, emptying a revolver into him. Michael falls over the balcony and to the ground below. Dr Loomis confirms to Laurie that it was the boogeyman and goes to check on Michael, but his body is gone. Loomis has a face like he knew this would happen. And with that the movie ended.
Man do I love this move. The scares are effective without being gory. In fact there is very little blood anywhere in the movie. The mood is perfect, the realism of who the killer is combined with Dr. Loomis’ speeches about evil really set a great tone. The film making was well done, the ambiance is perfect and the use of early steady cam shots allowed you to see the killer’s point of view at times. What was supposed to be some cheap scary movie about babysitters turned into one of the most successful independent films of all time and created a genre.
If you haven’t seen this movie, well first welcome to earth, not all of us are as stupid as the people on Reality TV, and second see this movie. Don’t wait. Rent it, buy it, do whatever you legally can to see this movie. This movie IS the slasher genre and it’s the best example of what the genre can be. In summation, screw that remake.