'Halloween' 1978: The Times finally reviews a horror classic

adminOctober 17, 2018

The precision and timing of the film's chilling scenes of persecution reveal an artist who understands that a truly resonant resonance can not be silly. It required a skillful trade and a coherent perspective on fear. The common wisdom of horror affirms that the most frightful evil is unknown, inexplicable and random; Once the monster is revealed in a movie and the mind gives it meaning, much of the fear it inspires dissipates. So keeping Michael Myers in white navigates around this problem. But he is not the only emptiness here.

Carpenter concludes the film with a montage of empty spaces: bare rooms, abandoned streets, a dark house. His distinctive propulsion synthesizer music, which has perhaps become his most influential aesthetic contribution to the current fashion of horror, is reproducing as Michael Myers' breathing grows stronger. You hear the air enter your mouth and then escape. He is everywhere and nowhere.

Decades before "Scream" introduced the trend of horror films that knowingly commented on themselves, "Halloween" adopted an ironic awareness that always called attention to itself. By choosing Janet Leigh's daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, as her heroine, Laurie Strode, Carpenter invites comparisons with "Psycho," starring Leigh. Curtis, who made his film debut, turned out to be natural, and offered a persuasive performance of operatic panic that suggested a fierce core.

The film repeatedly places the viewer in the killer's perspective, but often also places Michael Myers near the audience, lurking in the corner of the screen, with his back to us like the characters in "Mystery Science Theater 3000". Michael likes to look at him, and he often seems more interested in a good scare than in an efficient death. In a memorable scene, he staged a tomb for one of his victims, and when Laurie discovers it, another two bodies are assaulted in it, a show prepared by a jury. If Michael Myers betrays a personality, he is like a scary showman, although much more raw than John Carpenter.

With horror, the scare of the Jack-in-the-box (think of the head floating out of the boat in "Jaws") is the quickest way to scream, but the jolts (the twin girls in "The Shining") are those who stay with you. "Halloween" has both, but specializes in the second.

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