October Extras #32 - Halloween (1978)

OCTOBER 31, 2007


In the FAQ, which I am beginning to suspect no one has actually read (considering THREE people just this week were unaware that I truly AM watching a horror movie or two every single day, not just reviewing one from memory), I specifically point out Halloween as being a film that I won’t review, because not only have I seen it (obviously), but there are enough reviews of it on the web. But then I began doing the “October Extras” feature, and obviously I wouldn’t let the film’s namesake holiday pass without giving it another look. But, to make things different, I won’t review it or even do my usual style of write-up for the film. Instead I’ll be presenting my rambling thoughts as the film unfolds. I hope it makes sense (might help to put the film on as you read!). Enjoy (it's fucking LONG though)!

OK, here we go... Compass International... and there’s the pumpkin! Halloweens 1-5 all have really sweet credit sequences (Dimension – fucking it up any way they can), most involving pumpkins. Also the music, still the finest theme ever recorded for a horror movie. Carpenter told a story about an exec passing on the film when she saw it without the score, then came back and told him it was the scariest movie she ever saw once she saw it again with the score intact..... I never understood what these kids were saying until DVD came along (there’s a few lines in the film that suffer the same fate).... it’s kind of a stupid poem...

Holy FUCK this guy is a quick lay. Seriously, like, what, 60 seconds has passed and he’s already dressed again? Hahaha the mask POV... I saw Halloween 4 before I first saw this movie, so the great homage at the end of 4 was totally lost on me. Oh well....

HAHAHAH the total non-reaction of Michael’s mom always kills me. Just stands there, hands in her pocket... 15 years later! Loomis! I fucking HATE how they added in “storm” sounds on the new DVD... but it’s either that or watch the film in mono. Come on now.... why does he even look at the matchbook? “Since when do they let them wander around?” Hahahaha oblivious....

Wow she is a really odd panic driver.... just hit the brake, dummy!.... Another bonus of DVD, seeing the wrench in Michael’s hand when he smashes the window... “The evil is gone!” and so begins Loomis’ obsession with saying “Evil” every other time he speaks.

This is actually my favorite piece of music in the film (really soft, over Laurie's introduction), and the sequels sort of ignore this one for whatever reason. I think it’s the most foreboding, even more than the usual DUN! DUNDUN! DUN! DUNDUN! DUNDUNDUNDUNDUN... here’s the West LA neighborhood scene. When I first moved to LA in 2005 it was pretty much the first thing I did, go look at all the filming locations I could find (also where Fletch’s apartment was!)... here’s another one of those lines that I always misheard on muddled VHS, I thought Tommy was asking “Will you rape me?” Hahaha, I’m surprised Zombie didn’t have her do just that in the remake....

Ah, here we go, the first of what will be many scenes that are TOTALLY FUCKING BOTCHED when you watch the movie in pan and scan. You hear Michael breathing but you don’t actually SEE him on the side of the frame, only Laurie singing her depressing song. Goddamn pan and scan.... Dr Wynn! “For god’s sake Sam he can’t drive a car!” A line that would serve to pretty much ruin the 6th film....

Sweet, the teacher just said “Collins” (that’s me!). What the hell book is she talking about anyway? Kudos to Laurie, she can daydream and still answer the question right. Hey Michael, with his mask on, hours before he steals it. A continuity error that Rob Zombie claims is just a nonsensical plot hole that he intended to correct in his film, which had, among other things, magic walls that reappear after being smashed.... hahah smash the pumpkin! There’s the mask again.... why doesn’t Tommy notice a car following him at like 2 mph?

Here’s another part Zombie bitched about, Loomis calling from the same place Michael got his coveralls. Look around, Rob, do you see a lot of civilization? They’re supposed to be in the Midwest, and it’s the 70s. It’s probably one of the few pay phones there actually WERE from Smith’s Grove to Haddonfield. Christ. I thought I was nitpicky...

Hell with understanding what they were saying, I never even HEARD these cheerleaders until the DVD came long.... why is the dance AFTER Halloween? Oh wait, it’s homecoming, not a Halloween dance. Never mind....

I wonder what Devon Graham looks like? He should be in one of the sequels... Does Annie even LIKE her friends? She just said that talking to Laurie is just as appealing as watching a child sleep. Christ, get different friends then.... OK this part I think was a bit botched. Carpenter’s hilarious cigarette smoke aside, it would have worked better if we never saw that Michael was gone (from Annie’s POV) until Laurie got there. Maybe just me. Oh man, this part... when I saw the film in 2003 on an actual film print, the print was totally messed up, missing lots of frames and such. And so when Annie goes “Bye!” the film jumped ahead like 10 seconds, so Annie was already inside. Perfect timing!.... What the hell time do the kids in Haddonfield begin trick or treating??? It’s like 3 o clock. And what the HELL does this “superstition” line mean? Even Carpenter says he has no idea on the commentary track.

Annie says she’ll pick Laurie up at 6:30, but that scene is totally bright. Looks more like 3:30, tops. Oh well. Charlie Bowles story!!! God this part is great. Someone needs to finish the tale... OK now Laurie is sitting outside with the pumpkin, and I STILL don’t see anyone taking the picture that Jamie has in part 4.

OK now it looks a bit later, still not 6:30 late though. “He shouts too!” is a great line. And kind of sad, last time his daughter speaks to him, she’s mocking his attempts to bond with her. Here’s another moment that totally sucks in pan and scan – you don’t see the car approaching on the left side while Loomis looks the other way... How far is it to the goddamn Doyle house? Hey I drove on this street (when they stop and turn right)! Looks pretty much exactly the same ... jeez, Michael follows so close. Back up, man!

OK, the whole “Sister” thing from the sequels really doesn’t make any sense in the context of this film. Not only did he follow Tommy around before, but he’s also seemingly more interested in Annie!... sweet, the Myers house. This whole reel had a farting noise over it at that screening I mentioned.... Another line I never understood on VHS (“You must think me as a very sinister doctor” I think?)...

Well if your mom doesn’t want you to have the comics why don’t you hide them in YOUR room, dumbass? And what’s so bad about Neutron Man? Sounds like he could learn some basic science from that one.

I love how Lindsay hangs up the phone when Paul asks her to go get Annie. Brat.... this is one of the best scares in slasher history (Michael at the door while Annie talks to Paul), and surprisingly it’s not botched on pan and scan... OK seriously, why not just say Annie was his sister? He doesn’t seem to have any interest in Laurie at all at this point. I like the moment where Annie feeds Laurie some popcorn, nice little touch.... Hahaha I sing this song all the time when I’m going to my car. “OH Paul, I give you all... no keys... but please, my Paul....”

Here’s another widescreen moment, but I’ve seen two versions of it on pan and scan. One holds on Annie so you can’t see him at all, and another just makes an edit as they shift to the left so you can see him sit up. Either way it’s fucking awful. This movie should never be viewed cropped, ever.

Wow, Loomis smiling non-maniacally. “Hey, Lonnie... get your ass away from there!” Hahaha. I like that Brackett thinks Loomis is over the top too. Fancy talk!

If you’ve seen the TV version, this line about Lynda’s blouse takes on new meaning. Not a very interesting one, but one nonetheless... Someone on IMDb commented that Bob is a pedophile because he makes the joke about Lindsay’s clothes. Moron...

Yet another scene that loses all its effect unless it’s widescreen ... and Michael is kind of a perv, watching them fuck.... And now he watches again! Also, Bob comes in 20 seconds. What is it with these guys? If I come in under like 4 minutes I feel ashamed. “Fantastic”??? Man....

The creepiest moment in slasher history.

Whoa, Tommy and Lindsay are sleeping in the same bed! Bob’s going to be jealous.... Oh boy, here we go, the dumbest moment in the film. Loomis is standing there all night and just NOW notices that the fucking car is across the street!!!.... Hey Laurie goes out of her way to get the keys, yet they disappear later... where’d they go?

“Meatheads” is such a terrible insult.... man, why does Michael go through all this trouble stringing up bodies and stealing headstones? And how the hell does the door with Lynda behind it even open?.... This is a great moment, amazing reveal. Cundey said it was like your eyes getting used to the darkness and seeing him. Amazing. But on the newest DVD (25th anniversary one) you CAN’T see him until after you hear the sting. Way too dark now, that’s why I actually prefer the 1999 release.

Hahaha I love how Michael drops when she stabs him with the needle. Dammit, don’t drop the knife!.... OK I never got this – why does Loomis have Brackett check the back of the houses when he’s the one with the car? YOU fucking go out back, Loomis! Oh well, I guess it works out OK for him... Hahaha “You can’t kill the boogeymaaaaaah!” Can’t see this part right on pan and scan either. Carpenter’s just a fucking master of the wide image. Or at least, he was back then... the old Media VHS version had a strange error here. When Michael walks down the hall, the glint on his knife used to smear across the screen. Hurrah for DVD! Ah, the Mackenzie’s, always the destination of horror movie characters.

Hahaha “It was the boogeyman!”, which became, for some reason “What’s the boogeyman?” in the remake.... I dig this ending, with all the different locations... hey wait a minute; the knife is back on the floor by the couch!

Oh well, all done. God this movie is so fucking great. My family has been informed that I am to be buried with it (and a copy of Bat out of Hell). I won’t go anywhere without it! I want all 12 of the people who said the remake was better to explain themselves. What the fuck could you possibly find more appealing about the remake? “I prefer incoherency and white trash to atmosphere and suspense”? *Sigh*

What say you?


  1. I love this movie! When it was released I saw it at the drive-in with my boyfriend! Now that you've pointed out all inconsistencies I'm going right now to watch it again with a print out of your commentary! Last year I bought the sound track for a Halloween party I was having. People loved it and were reciting the lines along with the CD. The music definitely puts the film over the top!

  2. I hate hearing about your ejaculation tendancies, but otherwise this was fantastic. For shits and giggles you ought to record a commentary track and put it online like those guys from deadpit do, except you shouldn't make as many mistakes as they do.

  3. We have talked about doing commentaries as a feature on bloody... course we never get around to it.

  4. I just wanted to say that I am a new and huge fan of your site. I figured I'd post this on the "Halloween" review since it's pretty much my all-time favorite horror movie. Anyway, keep doing what you're doing because you're site rocks! Feel free to check out my blog :)

  5. Hey there, thanks for checking the site out! Halloween is my favorite THING ever. Figured I'd do something different for my 'review'...

  6. "Halloween" is one of my top ten favorite horror films and John Carpenter is one of my favorite horror directors. This is his best film in my opinion. His music for it is the greatest music ever created for a horror film and its so simple in its composition. The movie is brilliant beacuse of its simplicity and minimalism. It will be studied and imitated for many years.

  7. Yo - obviously I'm reading this years after you wrote it. Love this - I am a true fan of this film - really won't entertain any of its predecessors - and HATE the Zombie remakes - awful stuff. A very simple, eerie and shcking stalker film. The Shatner mask is the creepiest thing ever created.

  8. When Laurie drops the key at the Myers house, she walks there from her house. When Annie drives Laurie and herself to babysit, Michael follows in his car and it seems to take a while to get there (it goes from perfect daylight to fully dark). Does Michael then drop the stolen car back outside his old house and then walk that long walk back to where the girls are babysitting? Also, could you please explain why it doesn't make sense for Michael and Laurie to be siblings? I assumed Michael follows everyone who came into contact with Laurie after she walked up to his house to drop off the key and saved her for last.

  9. I always thought Laurie said "was that the boogey man?" at the end. Rob probably heard it as "what is the boogey man?" and if he did he's an even bigger than I thought he was as it's quite clear the answer "as a matter of fact, it was" makes NO SENSE in that context!

  10. This is an awesome way to review a horror movie - or any movie, a la Mystery Science Theater 3000 - I find myself thinking a lot of similar things in the moment before they are explained later in a given movie. Agree with the previous comment that a recording of a 'live interpretation' of the movie would be hysterical. Read your April Fools post on "Halloween" first and was shocked; so happy to have found this


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