PERVERTING THE PERCEIVED SAFETY OF THE SUBURBS ONE TABLEAU AT A TIME
Writers: John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran
“Death has come to your little town, sheriff.”
I had the pleasure of guesting on the SHAME FILES PODCAST and discussing Halloween (1978) with hosts Ryan Silberstein and Jill Malcolm, who had never see the film before. It was a blast getting to share some of my thoughts on what is easily one of my favorite horror movies, from its perversion of the supposed safety of the suburbs, to its continued relevance through the decades. It was interesting to be talking about it during the Weinstein turmoil as it depicts a world that is so dangerous to women they must constantly be looking over their shoulders. Halloween (1978) is just so exceptional in its building of tension and how it uses such simple elements to create it. I love this movie and I loved getting to talk about it on this podcast!
With the release of the new Halloween (2018), I said I was going to double feature with the original with the new—I stuck to my word.
And man was it worth it. I highly recommend taking the time to watch Halloween (1978) and then go straight to the theater for the new one. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
This continues to be the goddamn best—I’m somehow more impressed with it on every single watch. This time, it was the control and patience of the film making that grabbed me. But each time it’s something new that I latch onto.
Truly one of the great movies.
40 YEARS LATER
Writers: Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak
I really, really enjoyed Halloween (2018); I have a feeling this is going to grow in my favor with further viewings.
For a little while it feels like you’re getting exactly what you expect—and that’s not a bad thing, but it leaves a bit to be desired. But then it takes a hard turn into its own territory and never lets the foot off the gas. From there on out it’s an absolute blast. It had quite a few cheer worthy moments throughout that gave me that ol’ Shape-y feeling.
And Halloween (2018) LOOKS gorgeous. I loved the way it was shot—a dash of that classic, controlled Carpenter vibe, a dash of the “specifically framed to make your eyes dart around trying to find the Shape” vibes that IT FOLLOWS really brought into focus a few years ago, a dash of MOTHER! floaty-cam vibes, and a whole heaping helping of light and shadow play that worked fantastically. Coupled with a truly fantastic Carpenter score, this movie cut right to the core of what I love about the 70’s/80’s era of horror and its aesthetics.
As I mentioned above, I watched the original and then went straight to the theater to see Halloween (2018) again. This truly works as a damn fine sequel to the original movie, with the fan service we tend to get in that kind of thing, but without winking at us about it. I’m very impressed with the balance they pull off in that regard.
I have some nit-picky gripes that I’m hoping will fade with repeat viewings; mainly that the script seems a bit unfocused which leads to some odd editing choices. There are some truly spectacular set pieces that are really well paced, but there are bunch of moments in between that feel a bit rushed; and they tend to be the more significant, important dialogue moments. Some bits would have landed harder had they given the character drama at the heart of this a little more room to breath I think.
But that doesn’t take away from the overall experience of Halloween (2018) at all. The film making is just so damn strong here, I fucking love the way this movie looks. And holy god is the score incredible. If you see it in the right theater you’ll feel it in your chest. The transitions between scenes are really fantastic as well. There’s just some really clever cuts that would be at home in an Edgar Wright movie, but used without a wink, and they work exceptionally well.
PERFECT HALLOWEEN VIEWING
There’s some truly great thematic stuff here regarding trauma and how it affects one’s life, specifically how it can be turned into a power of its own kind. Though I still wish Halloween (2018) leaned into this a little more by taking its time; it rushes through a lot of what seem to be the important scenes that lay the groundwork for these themes.
All in all, it’s just such a shotgun blast of effective terror that looks and sounds utterly fantastic, and I’m so happy to have this movie to add to my Halloween viewing rotation.
The above reviews were originally written on LetterBoxd and, when applicable, combine multiple reviews into one.
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