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copyright ©1999-2006

that 70s film: fright night classics
by Kiera Tara O'Brien} |
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continued from page 2

buy the DVD

flick | Halloween 1978
Directed by: John Carpenter
Written by: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Tony Moran
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: horror
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:  psychotically terrifying
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fright factor: /5 

Plot synopsis On Halloween night of 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers returns home from trick-or-treating and watches as his older sister, Judith, sneaks upstairs for some raunchy activities with a guy from school. The lucky boyfriend departs while Michael calmly selects a knife from the kitchen drawer, enters his sister’s room and promptly stabs her to death. Fifteen years later, Michael is still confined in an asylum for the criminally insane. Believing him to be the embodiment of pure evil, his doctor, Sam Loomis, is adamant that the young man must never be set free. On October 30th 1978, a raging storm and staff incompetence allow Michael to escape. He steals a car and heads back to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois to find his next victim. Young Laurie Strode and her girlfriends are unaware of the impending danger as the white-masked stalker begins to observe them from school to home. Loomis teams with the Sheriff in a frantic search for Michael just as Laurie sets off to babysit little Lindsey and Tommy. One at a time, her promiscuous friends begin disappearing into the darkness. Soon enough, though, Laurie discovers that she is the ultimate target of Michael Myers’ unexplained killing spree on this fresh Halloween night.

Review With a tiny budget that left no room for a proper wardrobe, Halloween could easily have fallen in the category of tacky B-grade blood-and-gore slash-fests. The ingenuity of the young cast and crew, the innovative gliding camera techniques and the bone-chilling plot of a babysitter stalker, however, set this indie landmark on the all-time best cult classic list and launched then-unknown Hollywood ingénue Jamie Lee Curtis into a career as the ‘Scream Queen’ of the 80s and 90s. Produced for only $325,000 and grossing more than $47 million at the U.S. box offices, Halloween originated many of the clichés borrowed by later horror films, such as the link between sexual promiscuity and death. The relatively low death toll and lack of blood belies the trend of later slasher flicks, though, and sets Halloween on par with the tense atmosphere and artful suspense of films like Hitchcock’s Psycho. Curtis’ connection to Psycho, through her mother Janet Leigh, landed the young actress the part of Laurie Strode, but it was her persuasive interpretation of the gawky, insecure and sexually repressed teenager terrorized by the ‘boogey man’ that left audiences reeling. Many scenes are filmed through Michael Myers’ point-of-view, sealing viewers in a deep voyeuristic role through the whole ordeal. In this flick, it’s not about what you see, it’s what you think you saw. Or heard – the soundtrack consists mainly of a simple piano melody played in oddball 5/4 time that chills straight to the bone. Michael Myers, meanwhile, is the ultimate adversary. Inhuman and indestructible, he attacks deliberately, without mercy or reason, from behind a blank white Captain Kirk mask turned inside out. The kind of film that speaks to our darkest fears and manipulates our senses with suspenseful stalkings and heavy breathing, Halloween will leave you feeling completely unsettled and totally insecure. Are you prepared to face the ‘boogey man’ on this Halloween night?


Kiera Tara O'Brien loves to munch the finest cuisine while pursuing her publishing and freelance writing career. About to migrate from Oslo to London, her former abodes include San Diego, Australia and Chile. She loves old movies, Louis Armstrong's 'La Vie en Rose' and chocolate chip scones from a proper British bakery. Pop a question or drop a comment to kiera.tara@gmail.com.

more by Kiera:
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