For my next installment (sorry about the delay in getting that last one out to you), I choose the perennial classic “Halloween” by the masterful John Carpenter. Most of you are perhaps more familiar with the newest re-make of said film by the putrid Rob Zombie – who honestly should never touch a film again. If you are not and have never seen the original by Mr. Carpenter, I STRONGLY encourage you to see the original first! I cannot stress the value of the original material over the turd of a re-make.
That being said, obviously I have strong feelings about the original. It is a true classic Horror film that easily eclipses all other so-called “slasher” films. I know perhaps more than most about this film, but that’s only because of how much I have enjoyed it. Time and time again, I am stunned by the haunting nature of this film. If you have never seen this movie, you’ll never forget that music. If you have already seen this one, you may want to go back and enjoy once more. After all, it doesn’t get much better than this for a Horror movie!
What makes “Halloween” a Horror movie classic? Let’s review….
1) Michael Myers is also called “the Shape”. That’s how he was named in the original script. He wasn’t named at all. He wasn’t meant to be understood or humanized in any way. He’s a monster, plain & simple. How more terrifying it is to say “Julie is being stalked after by the Shape” rather than “Michael chases Julie down the street”?
2) Michael Myers doesn’t chase anyone. He walks. He doesn’t run. He walks. Let me say, that creeps me out a whole lot more than a “shape” chasing me. Talk about being effective!
3) Michael Myers has this crazy obsession with killing his sister or anyone related to him for that matter. He is a soulless killing machine that has but one focus. The reason is never given and that’s even more frightening. He stabbed his one sister to death when he was a little boy – with a pair of scissors! Thus the reason for the tagline for this film: “The night HE came home”.
4) Stalking people in broad daylight on the day of Halloween? It makes perfect sense. Nobody looks twice at guy in coveralls and a weird mask on that day! Imagine him in your neighborhood on Halloween. I bet it would creep you out in a major way. You might want to start dialing the police now – but, wait! Where did he go????
5) He seems to be targeting babysitters. Does anyone know anybody that has done babysitting? Michael catches these teens – who are supposed to be babysitting – being very naughty. In a way, Michael is punishing them for doing so, it seems. I know that Carpenter was directing this film to scare the living daylights out of babysitting teens. At least, that was the target audience he was shooting for. Babysitters haven’t been the same since seeing “Halloween”.
6) Michael never talks. Nor does he scream. In fact, he makes no noise what so ever. He gets shot, stabbed, or gets poked in the face with a wire hanger – and he never makes a noise. That fact alone makes Michael Myers one of the greatest villains of all time.
7) Try as you might, you cannot make yourself comfortable hearing that music and seeing him staring at you from the bushes across the street. And when he vanishes from the front lawn after being shot by Donald Pleasance and the music starts up again, it is in a word “unnerving”.
Basically, “Halloween” made America very afraid of this soulless, masked slasher. He’s creepy in a very atypical fashion. Masked killers are not that unusual. Of course, Carpenter did a wicked thing: he has a small boy wonder if the Boogeyman is real. Before the movie is over, this is precisely what Michael Myers was called. He’s like a henchman for the Devil, carrying out some fiendish design that only he knows, and he is in no hurry to get there and get it over with. He’s not necessarily this super-strong/cannot-die character either (ahem, Mr. Vorhees). (Even if you watch the sequel of “Halloween II”, you will get the same feeling – but ignore all others bearing the name of “Halloween”.)
Michael Myers just scares the crap out of most us because he is inhuman. Why not call him “the Shape” then? It seems almost more fitting than giving him a name. My hat is off to John Carpenter once more for giving us this fine Horror film that STILL resonates with chills after more than 3 decades!
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE