With all the "Blair Witch Project" good will floating around, a number of people have started labeling "Halloween" just another old news slasher flick. But, while John Carpenter's breakthrough film doesn't exactly reinvent terror, it is the snappiest, scariest babysitters-on-the-run horror film of all time.The genius of "Halloween" is the simplicity of the plot--a homocidal madman escapes from the maximum security mental hospital and heads straight for his home town to stalk the unsuspecting townspeople.
To go along with the killer storyline is a casually creepy vibe, spurred just as much by the suburban locale and date (October 31st, dummy...Halloween!) as by the discordant notes of the opening jingle (composed by Carpenter himself...is there nothing this man can't do?).
The terror of "Halloween" is executed with clockwork precision--the scares come at a regular clip, dotted with flashes of humor and small town slice of life segments that deepen the story and raise the proverbial stakes.
The killer, Michael Myers, is one of the most ingenius horror movie creations of all time. Slow, menacing, mute--unlike the knife wielding psycho ghosties in "Scream," Myers never breaks a sweat. He can be seen either as a strangely idealized boogey man or as a stand in for pure terror--either way works just fine when the results are this chilling.
And enough whining about his invincibility. I suggest that all naysayers watch the film again and actually pay attention to the words of Doc Loomis (the inimitable Donald Pleasance)--Myers is the Shape, he's pure evil. Of course he's immortal.
And that's why "Halloween" stands much taller than the countless pale imitations. Instead of underestimating the intelligence of the audience (and displaying stupid carelessness), Carpenter actually gives us a story beyond Myers--and dabbles in the supernatural, intensifying the already potent brew.Now, on the surface, it may look like just another slasher flick, but "Halloween" was made before the formula had been invented and Jennifer Love Hewitt came out with a new booby baring exercise in gory stupidity bi-monthly. Carpenter's creation stands as one of the best horror films of all time and one of the only slasher movies to warrant serious thought. Old news, indeed.