APRIL 1, 2010
I don't want to admit it, but I really fucking hated John Carpenter's Halloween. I know it's considered a classic, the birth of the slasher film (which isn't even accurate - Bob Clark made a nearly identical, better film in 1974 with Black Christmas - all Carpenter did was change the holiday!), a marvelous demonstration of how to use Panavision for a horror film, but none of this matters to me. The movie is just a complete waste of time.
For starters, we know who the killer is right from the start. Michael Myers kills his sister, Michael Myers escapes from the institution, and Michael Myers is the one Dr. Loomis is chasing. So why bother with the mask? Why "hide" his identity? The whole movie, I kept waiting for someone else to be revealed as the villain (my money was on Dr. Wynn, the guy that tries to keep Loomis from going to Haddonfield - now THAT would be an amazing plot twist!), but nope, it's Michael Myers, wearing a mask to hide his face for some other reason, I guess. It's no wonder that Friday the 13th decided to hide their killer for the entire movie and then reveal it to be someone we never heard of, because it's a far better surprise.
It's also a wholly plotless movie. Why is he after these girls? I could see if they were living or partying in his old house or something, but apart from a brief scene where Laurie (the obvious final girl) drops a key off at his house, he has no seeming connection to any of them. And that still doesn't explain why he would take the time to stalk Tommy on his way home from school, or fuck around with Annie's car door lock. I've read that this is what makes the film so scary, that he would go after them for no reason whatsoever, but I vehemently disagree. I think it's much better for the killer to explain his motives to the heroine before he kills her. It's more realistic.
As for Donald Pleasence's much ballyhooed performance as Dr. Loomis, well, it's probably the best thing about the movie. He's a pretty shitty doctor, constantly referring to his patient as an "it" instead of a "him" - the dude can drive and even has enough of a sense of humor to put a victim's glasses on over a sheet that he's wearing, I think he's still pretty human. And he's an even worse tracker - he spends the entire night waiting outside Michael's house, not noticing that his car is across the street. He also dissuades the police chief from warning the local news and the other cops, something that might have been helpful. You're the one convinced Michael's not even human, why would you think that 2 people are enough to stop him? Especially when one of them is YOU, a batshit bald man with an unexplained British accent? But he's more than just a little "off", carrying a gun (and a permit! You don't even need one in Illinois), fucking with some local kids, and parking in handicapped spots.
It's also a mess on a technical level. Carpenter's smoke blows through a shot at one point (has to be a movie first/last), PJ Soles noticeably trips on a dolly track, a train disappears, palm trees appear in several shots (as do CA license plates), the ground changes from wet to dry, and for some reason it takes what seems like a full hour for Annie to drive Laurie to the Doyle's house, even though he obviously lives within walking distance since they ran into each other on the way to school. I was also baffled by the fact that Michael had a mask on in the morning when it's later established that he didn't break into the hardware store to steal it until later in the afternoon (and why is the hardware store closed at that time anyway?).
I honestly think this is a case of people liking a movie just because they heard it was good from someone else. I haven't seen the remake yet, but it HAS to be an improvement over this one, right?
What say you?
P.S. Some of you might think I watched this on the wrong holiday, and to some extent you may be right. I doubt I would feel this way on any other day of the year.
P.S.S. OK apparently the above P.S. (or the "haven't seen the remake yet" line) wasn't a big enough hint, so here: THIS WAS AN APRIL FOOL'S DAY JOKE. I love the original Halloween more than anything in the world, which is abundantly clear if you read the site regularly (or even, you know, the real review). Everything in THIS review is meant to be a joke/lie. Christ.