October Reflections: Halloween (1978)

The Gist: Halloween night 1963. A boy stabs his teenage sister and is then locked up in a mental institution for the criminally insane. 15 years later the murderer, Michael Myers, escapes and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield to terrorize and slice his way through babysitters and promiscuous teenagers on, you guessed it, Halloween night.

Babysitters & Killers: Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), Donald Pleasence (Dr. Sam Loomis), Nancy Kyes (Annie Brackett), P.J. Soles (Lynda van der Klok)

My Take: This is a classic horror film and a must watch movie during this time of the year. The flick opens with a boy dressed as a clown stabbing a girl to death then standing catatonic on the sidewalk, holding a bloody knife.  A shocking way to start a movie with a child killer.  One thing that struck me was when the parents approach the boy, the camera holds on them as they looked more annoyed than concerned that their young son is holding a bloody knife.  Cut to 1978, 15 years after the killing and to the sweet, innocent and intelligent Laurie Strode who cares more about school and taking care of children than about boys and sex.  Throw in her friends who are the opposite, and are kind of mean to her, especially Annie Brackett.  As soon as Michael returns, he immediately starts stalking poor Laurie.  I can’t remember Halloween II in detail, so I’m not sure if there is a reason he fixates on Laurie or if she is just a convenient target. On this night both Annie and Laurie are babysitting; Laurie doesn’t have a boyfriend and Annie’s is grounded. I guess if you are single in 1978, you have no choice but to babysit instead of having sex? Laurie’s other friend, Lynda is getting drunk with her boyfriend and it’s not long before they show up to hang out and have sex at the house where Annie is babysitting.  There are a couple of things here that raised questions.  When Bob and Lynda are getting ready to go into the house, Bob says: “I tear your clothes, you tear my clothes off, then we tear Lindsay’s clothes off.”  Lindsay is girl about 12 I think; isn’t this kind of a sick thing to say?  Also, the couple then proceeds to drink the beer in the fridge and have sex in the house; a stranger’s home essentially, without a second thought.  Weird to me.  So, the babysitting is going fine but Laurie continues to see the boogeyman until finally Michael attacks her after she discovers the bodies of her friends.  Laurie is the first real survivor girl of horror movies.  While she is screaming and crying, she does fight back to save herself and protect the children.  The end is insight after Laurie stabs Michael for a second time but he pops back up for one final scare and is foiled in his attempt to kill Laurie by Dr. Loomis, the doctor who was ‘treating’ him.  But wait, even after being stabbed twice, shot multiple times and falling off a balcony, the iconic serial killer disappears.  As the boy Tommy says: “You can’t kill the boogeyman.”

Critique Much: I don’t have any real criticisms about this flick.  It was done in 1978 and some of the acting is little over the top.  One thing that I noticed was the lack of blood being shown.  That’s not a bad thing, it’s just different from what I have come to expect from a horror movie.  In this day and age, movies of this genre are filled with blood and gore. There were good moments where you could see The Shape lurking in the shadows and the white mask slowly coming to the foreground.  On another note, did anyone see a resemblance in appearance between P.J. Soles and Sheri Moon Zombie or is that just me?

Yah or Nah: Well, Yah of course. This movie and the first sequel, which also features Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence, are both must sees at Halloween.  The subsequent sequels in the franchise, I could do without.  Particularly the third one that was just annoying with that jingle and the diversion from Michael Myers.

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