With the release of David Gordon Green’s Halloween, a franchise refresh set 40 years after the events of John Carpenter’s original slasher hit, there is perhaps no better time to visit and/or revisit Carpenter’s Halloween then right now on its 40th Birthday. Halloween tells the story of Laurie Strode, a teenage girl with babysitting duties on Halloween night, and Dr Loomis, a psychiatrist of the criminally insane who’s patient has broken free. That patient is of course the infamous psychopathic masked killer, Michael Myers. Halloween isn’t just a horror classic that wrote the book on slasher movies, it also has its own subversive vision brought to life through fantastic direction and beautiful handling of the, then new, steadicam.
Narratively, Halloween has everything you’d expect from a slasher horror B movie; creepy houses, jump scares, sexually active teenage archetypes, an unstoppable evil force, an open ending and of course, blood, guts and gore. Although revolutionary at the time, these conventions have become overused and the genre itself, oversaturated. That being said, Halloween hasn’t been effected by this as it never feels boring and/or repetitive. I believe this to be due to its inventive use of camera and creative direction by John Carpenter. The film makes good use of new steadicam technology at the time, resulting in gorgeously suspenseful one take sequences including its opening, which Friday the 13th stole just 2 years later. Carpenter’s decision to position the audience with Myers is yet another interesting move on the part of the film. Watching the predator stalk his prey is gripping to the point of near audience participation.
Overall, Halloween is a horror pantomime in the best way. Much more than a convention writer, it’s a horror classic the lives up to that status. With a narrative that wrote the book on slasher horror and creative direction that’s been imitated time and time again. Halloween is a truly influential film that is worthy of said influence.