When Halloween was released in 1978, it help set the standard for the slasher film craze that dominated throughout the 80s and early 1990s. It helped set up the tropes that Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street helped modify and perfect in the 1980s. When I first viewed the movie as a middle schooler, I instantly fell in love with the movie that managed to make the lead characters, as well as the victims into flesh and blood characters.. not just random characters on the assembly line in a slaughterhouse (which is what the slasher films later on ended up doing).
The basic plot of the original movie deals with Michael Myers, a mental person put away at the tender age of six after killing his older sister on Halloween. One wonders what was going through his mind when he killed his sister, perhaps it was the sight of seeing his older sister naked, or perhaps felt neglected by her because she was busy with her boyfriend instead of taking care of him. Whatever the case maybe, he is sent away to a mental hospital and stays there for fifteen years before he escapes on Halloween night. He ends up stalking and murdering some teenagers while his therapist is chasing after him.
What I loved most about this movie was the fact that we get to know the three main female characters.. Laurie, Annie, and Lynda before the screen-writers put them on the assembly line ready for slaughter. Laurie is a shy bookworm, Annie is an outspoken smart aleck with the funny one liners, while Lynda is the cheerleader that is sweet, but also seems to enjoy life. All three characters represent different character archtypes found in horror movies, but thanks to great acting from all three actresses.. you end up liking all three of the characters.
Another thing I liked was the fact that Michael Myers slowly stalks the three of the characters one by one until only Laurie remains to investigate what is going on at the house across the street. Only after she finds the bodies of her friends, does the cat and mouse game between Michael Myers and Laurie begin. We see that Laurie is a resourceful young woman that manages to keep Michael Myers at bay until the doctor comes in at the 11th hour to shoot Michael Myers.
The final thing I most enjoyed was the mixing of the Boogeyman story and comparing that character to Michael Myers. As we know with the Boogeyman, one can never truly stop him for very long and as we find out at the end of the movie, Michael Myers is also not easy to beat either.
In conclusion, this is a nicely acted and directed movie that leaves the motives of the killer up in the air. Sadly, the follow up movie answers the question, thus losing the unknown element that sometimes makes a movie more frightening then the actual explanation does.
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Filed under: Horror Movie Reviews