‘Halloween’ earns its title as classic slasher

PHOTO PROVIDED Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is stalked by the killer, Michael Myers, in 1978’s “Halloween.”

Is this review necessary? Probably not. I’m about to say what many, many reviewers have echoed since long before I was born. Many of them far more eloquent than me. But… it’s October. Halloween month if you will, and I wanted so badly to talk about how much I liked John Carpenter and Debra Hill’s “Halloween.”

I almost feel it’s unnecessary to delve deep into the plot. But for those who haven’t heard about it (by choice or not) it takes place in Haddonfield, Ill. On Halloween night in 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers stabs his teenage sister to death for no reason and is placed in a mental institution.

Fifteen years later he escapes Smith’s Grove Sanitarium and returns to Haddonfield with his sights set on high school student Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). All while his psychologist, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) is hot on his tail.

“Halloween” served as a blueprint for many slasher films that followed. With its chilling signature sound (you know exactly what I’m talking about) and Myers’ silent nature and masked face it does create an unsettling atmosphere. Tie in the fact that Myers’ signature weapon is a kitchen knife — or other sharp objects since he’s resourceful that way — and you’ve got all the boxes checked off for a slasher.

I’ll admit, the movie wasn’t that scary. Heck, even my sister (who’s a baby when it comes to anything scary) didn’t even bat an eye while watching it with me. But it does have those suspenseful moments and “look behind you” scenes that still make it worthwhile.

Also, like in most slasher/horror movies, you can find yourself shaking your head at the choices some of the characters make. But then again, “Halloween” was one of those films that cemented the fact teenagers almost never make good decisions when a serial killer is involved. No offense to current teenagers, I was one once and I too would have probably made questionable choices.

Although Michael Myers is the key component of Halloween, his jumpsuit and costume mask lasting well into the 21st century, Jamie Lee Curtis is just as important.

This film served as Curtis’s debut into acting and she didn’t disappoint. Laurie is clearly not the heroine some might want, but she was exactly what you’d expect. A shy, timid girl whose friends make fun of her good nature, Laurie isn’t exactly who you’d expect to be chased by a killer. And she doesn’t always make the best choices. But at the end of the day, she is just a 16-year-old girl. And let’s be honest… how many teenagers are prepared to be chased by a serial killer while babysitting? After this movie premiered the number may have gone up.

Regardless, Curtis provided a memorable performance that — just like Myers — has carried into 2021. Recently, the franchise released another movie in the franchise “Halloween Kills” starring Curtis and the masked murderer with plans to premiere a final film in 2022 called “Halloween Ends.” Forgive me if I’m skeptical though that 2022 will see the end of Michael Myers.

This franchise has managed to span decades, whether sticking to the original plot, going completely off book (I’m looking at you Halloween 3 and 4) or just complete reboots. It’s pretty impressive how one specific character can create so much buzz that it lasts far past the shelf life its writers would expect. Not to mention, we’ve seen multiple versions of Laurie Strode in various timelines since that first film.

It’s not hard to see why though. Michael Myers is, quite frankly, an impossibility. A man who can get shot six times point blank and live? Or wake up miraculously from a coma and go on a killing rampage? (I may be referencing future films to get my point across). Regardless of my jump into other parts of Myers’ story, my point stands. If you know someone like that, I’d like to meet them.

There’s just something about a seemingly unstoppable killing machine — who somehow manages to do the bare minimum at times and still win out — that is interesting.

As a side note: I would LOVE to hear Michael Myers’ inner monologue. I figure it’s either him carefully planning out his next moves (maybe even with his own inside jokes) or just constantly humming his signature song while stalking his victims.

“Halloween” is rated R for violence, some nudity and sexual situations, and can be viewed on fuboTV, Amazon Prime Video, Philo, Apple TV, Vudu, YouTube and Sling.

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Laura Jameson is a staff reporter for The Express.


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