Halloween 1978

The original is always the best. We closed out Halloween month with the movie named after the holiday. Does it hold up? Absolutely. It’s the best in the series and a legendary horror movie for a reason.

I watch this one every few years. The story is well known. A mad man escapes an asylum and returns to his hometown where he stalks and kills a group of teenaged babysitters lead by Jamie Lee Curtis. He is pursued by Dr. Loomis, played but Donald Pleasance.

What makes this movie work better than the others in the series or the others in its genre? A couple of reasons, but the most prominent is this films focus on suspense not violence. This movie is about one hour and forty five minutes long. An hour of that time is spent building up the suspense and fear. It is a slow burn. It builds up its tension methodically. It builds up an aura of fear around the masked killer that then explodes in the final minutes. We always know where the killer is. We know he’s outside. We know he’s coming up the stairs. We know he’s under that sheet or behind that door. We know. The characters don’t. They walk in blissful ignorance of the danger surrounding them. This creates suspense. We know the danger is there. They don’t. We feel on edge. This is exquisitely handled throughout the movie. This makes it the scariest of the series.

It doesn’t linger on the violence or the blood. There is nary a drop of blood in this movie. It is all about the buildup and suspense. We aren’t forced to linger in the blood and guts. We aren’t exposed to the horrific gore that the effects department can cook up. It is about the characters, and the dread we feel for them.

On the other hand, it is a slow movie. What struck me this time was how many shots there are of the killer watching the girls. Long takes of long shots of watching and lingering. There’s a lot of long shots in this movie. That will definitely upset those with shorter attention spans. It will be hard to get used to when you are accustomed to the fast pointless cuts of TV and modern films.

This is a fun movie to revisit on Halloween. It feels like home each October 31st. I enjoy the film every year, but I’m ready for the month to be over. It’s been a very messy month. I’m typing this review on November 1st because I fell so far behind on my reviews. It was just too much to try to watch a movie a day, work, and write a review. We’ll see how many more years I’m able to keep up this tradition. I do love it, and I’d be very sad to see it go away. But times change, and the tides seem to be pulling me away from this type of immersive experience. I will for sure be hitting it next year as 2022 will mark my tenth year of this marathon. I’m not sure what I’ll do, but I’ll try to make it something special.

Happy Halloween to everyone. I hope you all had a good year. I hope you can all join me again next year.

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