Sunday, 10 January 2010
Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher film set in a suburban town and was directed by John Carpenter. Halloween is highly regarded as a classic among horror films, and as one of the most influential horror films of its era. In 2006 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being, ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.’ It was produced on a budget of $320,000 and grossed $60 million at the box office in the US, becoming one of the most profitable independent films. The movie originated many clichés found in low-budget horror films of the 1980’s and 1990’s, however, the film contains little graphic violence and gore. Critics have suggested that Halloween and its slasher successors may encourage sadism and misogyny. Others have suggested the film is a social critique of the immorality of young people in 1970’s America, pointing out that many of Myer’s victims are sexually promiscuous substance abusers, while the lone heroine is depicted as chaste and innocent. While Carpenter dismisses such analyses, the perceived parallel between the character’s moral strengths and their likelihood of surviving to the film’s conclusion has nevertheless become a standard slasher movie trope. The plot begins on Halloween night 1963, when six year old Michael Myers murders his seventeen year old sister, Michael is sent to a psychiatric centre under the care of child psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis. After eight years of treatment, Loomis believes Michael is nothing less than pure evil. As Loomis and his assistant go to take 21 year old Myers to court, after an additional seven years, Myers steals their car and escapes. Loomis decides to find him at all costs. Michael returns to his home town and pursues a bunch of sexually promiscuous teenagers, now wearing a white mask to cover his identity. They end up babysitting later that evening and due to a series of misfortunate events, Michael kills them one by one, except Laurie Strode, the most innocent of them all. Left with the two children, she ends up running from Michael, seemingly killing him twice, once with a knitting needle and the other time with his own knife. This is when the audience begins to believe he is a supernatural force, as he recovers both times to continue pursuing Laurie. She sends the children to find help, which comes in the form of Dr. Loomis, who shoots Michael numerous times, knocking him over the balcony. He turns around to comfort Laurie, before looking over the balcony again to see that Michael’s body has disappeared.
I was confident I has seen Halloween before, but it turns out I hadn’t. I think it must have been Halloween Resurrection, which was similar to the first film. I have to say, I did enjoy this film, but the stupidity of the characters, as well as some errors in the film, left me frustrated. This level of stupidity has now become a trope in the hybrid genre of horror comedies. This film did have me hooked from the beginning, where the very first murder occurs and the pace of the film seems to be consistent from then onwards. There were some typical thriller moments like the hedge scene and the washing line scene, which, added to the supernatural elements that Michael brings, creates a great suburban horror film. We’ve seen it in Nightmare on Elm Street as well and the idea of a ‘perfect’ neighbourhood being tormented has become a horror cliché after the success of films like these. Although, it was slightly humorous seeing Michael survive so many times and watching the teens get slaughtered, the mood somehow still remains serious.