Director: John Carpenter
Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews, John Michael Graham, Tony Moran
Seen on: 20.5.2016
When Michael Myers (Tony Moran) was six years old, he stabbed his sister on Halloween. Exactly 15 years later he escaped the psychiatric institution he has spent his life in and has found his way back to his hometown again. He is ready to strike again and has his eyes set on Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) who plans to spend her Halloween babysitting. Michael’s doctor Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) suspects Michael’s plans and tries to prevent the worst from happening.
When the Gartenbaukino in Vienna announced that they would make a little Carpenter festival, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally close some gaps in my cinematic education. Halloween was one of those gaps. Having seen it now, I have to admit that I wasn’t all that impressed with it – although there were some great moments and it is obvious how hugely influential it was (and is).
Halloween has several things going for it: the fantastic soundtrack, the wonderful Jamie Lee Curtis and some absolutely astonishing cinematography and lighting. The scene alone where Laurie cowers in front of a dark doorway and ever so slowly Myer’s mask appears in the shadow – brilliantly beautiful and tense. There were also some great touches in the script – I particularly loved the girl’s interaction at the beginning of the film.
But for the most part, I wasn’t particularly scared and some things were so incredibly tropey that they simply seemed ridiculous. It’s possible that Halloween was the original implementor of said tropes and has been copied so much since that what was once effective has lost all meaning now (like the bad guy getting up again or surviving pretty much everything completely unscathed), but from today’s perspective it makes little difference who came first – it just didn’t work for me.
Halloween, for me, became a little uneven: while the overall film left me pretty cold, every once in a while a scene or moment of brilliance would come up, an expertly crafted, well thought out bit that would make me glimpse why the movie is such a revered classic. And then the moment would sink away and I was left again with a stream of a rather unexciting film and story.