Saturday, August 22, 2009

#72 - Halloween

Halloween (1978)
Extremely Trashy

Directed by: John Carpenter. Written by: John Carpenter and Debra Hill.

Plot: A demented young boy kills his sister in a seemingly friendly, suburban neighbourhood, and is locked away in a mental institution. After twenty long years, he escapes from the home and returns to his old neighbourhood to stalk and slash girls who have sex.

Review: I don’t really know how feminists feel about this movie, but there is a definite gender bias going on there. It’s not as bad as, say, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and I mean, lots of guys get killed in this movie, but Michael Myers seems to be more focused on killing the ladies.

Not that I really give a shit, I’m just pointing that out. Obviously I’m not really offended by the general misogynistic trend of most slasher flicks otherwise I wouldn’t watch them or enjoy them as much as I do. Anyway, recently I talked about why Billy from Black Christmas is scarier than Michael Myers. While that is true and this movie is basically Black Christmas filtered through Psycho, it is way funnier purely because of Donald Pleasance. Donald Pleasance is fuckin awesome in this movie. I mean, this could have been just some run of the mill slasher movie, but no, they threw in this totally whacko British guy to wander around spouting insane dialogue, raising this movie up into some level of wow.

Now, Friday the 13th has a random whacko who walks around spouting insane dialogue, but it is not cool for three reasons, a) instead of spouting just weird, psychological nonsense like Dr. Loomis, ‘Crazy Ralph’ tends to talk about weird, biblical stuff a lot, b) Crazy Ralph is not Donald Pleasance, nor is he British or the least bit amusing, c) it had already been done.

Also, Crazy Ralph gets killed by Jason Voorhees in Part 2, whereas Dr. Loomis evaded death at Michael Myers’ hands, showing up in all the movies until Donald Pleasance finally kicked the bucket in ‘95 (they really should have stopped making these movies when he died). Obviously, Dr. Loomis is cooler.

Moving on, Jamie Lee Curtis is also really cool. I can’t help it, I find her weirdly likeable even when she’s shrieking like a maniac. She manages to go beyond being just a scream queen - she is appealing and, as opposed to many, many women in other slasher flicks, and even this one, I don’t particularly want her to get killed. Good work. Scout Taylor Compton managed to achieve the same effect in the remake. It's funny because I hated her initially and bashed her in my review but actually, on second viewing of that movie, I really liked her so there you go...

Anyway, this is a movie which has grown on me a lot especially after sitting through the sequels.

Favourite Part:
“I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall, looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.” So epic.

Other versions:
The Rob Zombie remake of ‘08, which, like all of Mr. Zombie’s films I hated at first but it sort of grew on me after a second viewing. Same goes for his music, too. Weird how that works. There's something about that guy. I should probably hold off any thoughts on his movies until I’ve seen them a couple of times…

Sequels: Halloween 2 (mediocre), The Return of Michael Myers (below mediocre), The Revenge of Michael Myers (don‘t remember), The Curse of Michael Myers (Paul Rudd!), Halloween: H20 (mediocre) and Halloween: Resurrection (retarded).

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