Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978) — Watched this today and it was nowhere near as good as I remember it being.  Maybe my memories have been colored by all the hype and the iconography.  I don’t know.  But I remember this movie being more awesome.  There’s definitely stuff to like and I did like the movie a lot, but it doesn’t really scream “horror classic” to me.  They give it credit for starting the whole “masked killer stalks and kills teenagers” genre but Black Christmas was made four years earlier (though those were sorority girls and not teenagers).  I really like John Carpenter’s great score, but I didn’t remember just how overused it was in the movie.  I remembered the pace taking its time but watching it today it was just slow.  Maybe it was the daylight.  Maybe I should have watched it at night all alone in the dark and that would have helped but it just wasn’t very scary.  There was a good building of suspense.  Michael starts outs just in the background and then comes closer and closer until he’s finally killing people.  So that works.  I didn’t remember the dialogue being so awful.  If she wasn’t the daughter of two movie stars I don’t know that Jamie Lee Curtis would have ever gotten another high-profile acting job after this movie.  P.J. Soles (best remembered as lovable Ramones fan Riff Randall in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School) is leer-worthy as always (although what passed for gratuitous nudity in 1978 could probably be in a PG-13 movie today).  Donald Pleasance is good at building the anticipation of the havoc that Myers will inflict upon the unsuspecting suburbs, but he doesn’t seem to really be a character in his own right.  What works is Michael Myers.  You don’t know why he is the way he is and in the dramatic unmasking scene there is no grotesque monster, but a rather ordinary and youthful-faced man and that’s the scariest thing about the movie.

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