(No, you’re not going crazy: it’s not October 31.)
For our weekly Fridate Chiller, tonight we watched Halloween. I picked it up on blu-ray last week largely because I don’t currently own a copy on blu-ray and it seems to me that owning a copy of Halloween on blu-ray is the sort of thing that any horror/cinema enthusiast with their wits still about them should do.
It is, of course, still incredible. You can see the origins of the modern horror film throughout, via motifs that other directors would beg, borrow and steal–most often to far lesser effect. Oddly, you can also see how no one would ever make a horror film quite this way today: the acting is a little too staged, the camerawork is relatively unflashy. It lacks the high naturalism that is an essential part of modern cinema.
There were also things that I’d somehow never noticed before, such as the fact that Laurie Strode’s first encounter with Michael Myers happens in the house over the road (not the house she’s babysitting in), and the sound of heavy breathing whenever we see Michael’s POV.
Ultimately it’s a really sparse film, and that typical simplicity is something I love about the pioneering movies of cinema history. A similar movie made today would need at least five different trick endings, some self-conscious commentary about modern culture, and some sort of CG-derived panning shot from the POV of someone’s pumping arterial spray. Sometimes simple is good: it lets your imagination do the rest.