Look into those eyes… what other time could you possibly run into a charmer like him except for Halloween? On October 31 we’ll all be opening our front doors to kids dressed as skeletons or with blood dribbling from their plastic fangs. Then, when we’ve dished out ten quid’s worth of E-number saturated sweeties and the knocking on the door has stopped, maybe we’ll want to watch something suitably terrifying to complete the occasion.
I’ve yet to find a better film to watch on Halloween night than the appropriately titled Halloween; John Carpenter’s ground-breaking 1978 horror gem. I know it may be a bit wobbly by today’s standards and much of the shock value has been weakened by familiarity but it still beats most so called slasher movies by a mile. For me it wins because of its sheer simplicity and… purity if you can use that word when describing a film about a man who kills his own sister and then half the street wearing a boiler suit and a rubber Captain Kirk mask (it always makes me laugh to think that the scariest thing Carpenter could find for his killer to wear was not a drooling zombie head or a vampire face dripping in blood but a latex reconstruction of William Shatner’s pale and chubby chops).
Halloween, the original or course and not the increasingly ridiculous and often hilarious sequels, set a standard in terms of sheer, nail-biting suspense that has rarely been equalled. That scene where the apparently slain Michael Myers sits up silently in the background unbeknown to an oblivious Jamie Lee Curtis who is doing that thing that only people in horror films do and hanging around after the seeming demise of the attacker so that said attacker can duly wake up and have another stab at it (literally). It might seem a bit of a cliche now but you have to remember that this stuff was a lot newer in 1978.
Halloween doesn’t bother with much in the way of character, plot or back-story. It’s just some bloke walking round a neighbourhood chopping up cute chicks. But its shown with such style and timing that, the first time you see it, you wish you’d put on incontinence pants, those ones with the reinforced gusset. Even the music (now legendary), composed by John Carpenter himself (that’s the second legend called John I’ve written about in as many weeks; it is a great name!) is perfect.
So if you’re looking for the perfect way to round off the 31st dig out that dvd of the original Halloween and just pretend you don’t know exactly when Michael Myers is going to appear in the background holding a bread knife. I would love to be proved wrong of course so if you have any suggestions of the definitive Halloween night film to watch please click on the Leave a Comment thing below and I’ll give it a try.