Do you really think it's a coincidence that I'm reviewing this movie today of all days? I think not...
GREEN'S "SEE ANYTHING YOU LIKE?" REVIEW:
I'll tell you what - movie studios would love such bang for the buck more often these days. Consider that this movie was made for just over $300,000 and took only 20 days to shoot. Oh, it also grossed over $50 million at the box office. Impressive, especially when you consider that admission to the movies back in 1978 was dirt cheap in comparison to a movie ticket today.
The story begins with a young boy, Michael Myers, stabbing his teenage sister to death on Halloween night, 1963. Flash forward 15 years later; on a rainy night, Myers escapes from the insane asylum he's lived in since, returning to the house he lived in as a child.
On her way to school on Halloween morning, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is asked to drop off a key at a house her father, a real estate agent, plans to sell. It is the abandoned for years Myers house, rumored to be haunted. As she turns away from the house, she is noticed by the secret resident of the house, who then begins to follow and stalk her all over town...
What separates this film from the host of contemporary horror/slasher films is the subtle creepiness and distinct lack of gore. Carpenter allows us limited points of view: We're either looking out from the killer's eyes or seeing him at a distance for most of the movie. There are only a handful of scenes in the film (involving Myers) that utilize the traditional third party point of view. When we do see Myers from this perspective, he's wearing only a plain, emotionless mask. Add in Carpenter's solo piano music score that quite effectively intensifies the suspense and creepiness.
For a movie debut, Jamie Lee Curtis handles herself like a pro and says (in the extras) that this was the best role she had until "True Lies" came out in 1994. Veteran actor Donald Pleasence (as Dr. Sam Loomis) is okay as the cookie cutter plain psychologist with a premonition of bad things happening. Laurie's high school friends (Nancy Loomis and P.J. Soles) are adequate.
I'm not a fan of the horror movie genre and had never bothered with this movie (still haven't seen any of the sequels and don't plan to) before needing to watch it for this review. Good thing I was able to get it for under $6. I have no idea why this film was so successful at the box office. It's an above average film for the genre but nothing to rave about.
The extras on the DVD version that I watched were fine, especially the "Halloween Unmasked 2000" featurette, with cast and crew retrospective interviews. Seeing/hearing the various theater, television and radio trailers was interesting. How times have changed.
*** out of *****
Halloween (1978, R, 92 minutes), starring Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis, Tony Moran and Nick Castle. Screenplay by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Directed by John Carpenter.