When it comes to horror movies, there are few that I consider legendary pieces of cinema, just because there has been an influx of so many that just aren’t that good. However, in my eyes, there’s been a resurgence of amazing horror films, such as the best Blumhouse horror movies, or all those amazing A24 horror flicks. From where I stand, though, none of those super good horror movies could have been made if it weren't for the groundwork that was laid out before them.
I’m talking about early slasher films, the ones that we all know and love, and one of those, for me, was (and still is) Halloween. It was one of the first horror movies I ever watched, with my mother on a chilly fall afternoon as it was playing on TV, and those films have been a staple in my life ever since, especially that first movie.
In my endless mission to get ready for spooky season by rewatching all the Halloween movies in order, I recently saw the first one again, and I had some thoughts that I just had to share.
This. Opening. Slaps. Every. Time.
The opening to a horror movie is one of the most important scenes that a filmmaker can master, for many reasons. Often, at the beginning of a horror movie, you really have to set the tone to know exactly what you’re getting into, and that’s what Halloween does.
We don’t even start with the movie. All we begin with are the credits and that iconic score by director John Carpenter in the background, with that unsettling piano and orange block letters written across a black screen with just a glowing jack-o’-lantern being our only source of light. I could do a whole piece on just the music in this movie alone, but paired with these opening credits, it’s truly amazing.
I’ve watched this film countless times, and yet, somehow, I always feel myself quiver in anticipation whenever I watch the opening credits, and it still sends a shiver down my spine.
I Still Can’t Believe This Was Jamie Lee Curtis’ First Movie
You want to talk about the epitome of a classic scream queen? Jamie Lee Curtis is that. She is the definition. There have been many scream queens that have come and gone in movie history, but Curtis is and will always be the ultimate leader of them all, because she is so good in this film.
While Curtis did have some work in Hollywood prior to her role in Halloween, such as portraying Lt. Barbara Duran on the Operation Petticoat series, her feature film debut was playing Laurie Strode, a name that is still prominent in the Halloween franchise to this day, where Curtis is currently playing her in the most recent sequels.
I’ve seen Jamie Lee Curtis in so many roles after her part in the famous horror franchise, from Freaky Friday to Knives Out to Everything Everywhere All At Once, but no one can deny how impactful this movie was on her career, and the legacy that she's made in Hollywood. She wasn’t just a scream queen - she’s a survivor, and I think that’s why I love Laurie the most.
While This Is A Great Horror Film, Some Of The Deaths Are A Little Cheesy
Look, I’m not expecting X levels of gore in a slasher film from 1978. I know that movie companies were a lot less lenient in terms of showing blood back then. It was a different time and a different world. But, dang, some of these deaths are so cheesy.
As much as I praise the opening of the movie, that first death where Michael kills his sister, Judith, is very cliché and not necessarily scary. There isn’t a lot of blood, considering how seriously Michael stabbed her, and I feel like it would have been a little creepier had there been more leeway for a little bit more gore. Some of the other deaths feel campy as well, like how Michael strangled Annie and “slits her throat” despite us not seeing any blood.
However, the cheesiness of the deaths is made up for by the brilliant score behind every single one, creating a suspenseful environment. While the characters are disturbed by the deaths and the villain, the audiences are terrified by the score adding to the horror, until they scream at the teenagers to “Turn around!” before they meet their untimely end.
Michael Myers Is Truly One Of The Most Terrifying Horror Movie Villains
I can’t get over this man. I just can’t.
There have been so many amazingly thrilling horror movie villains, ones that have also lived on in the minds of scary movie lovers. We could talk about Freddy Krueger, Pennywise, even the shark from Jaws, if you want to take that into consideration, but nothing, and I mean nothing, comes close to Michael Myers.
For years, he has always been the person who truly terrifies me. Michael, to me, is so human. Unlike many other scary creatures we have seen in horror movies, he’s just so menacing and terrifying just standing there. He doesn’t need any chainsaws like the family in Texas Chainsaw Massacre or sharp teeth like Pennywise. All he needs is a mask, a jumpsuit, and a big ol’ chef’s knife.
He doesn’t even run. All he does is walk; those cold, lifeless eyes through the mask staring at his next victim, watching them endlessly and planning their demise. He’s calculated and menacing and just his heavy breathing sends chills down my spine every time I’ve seen this film.
It also doesn't help that Michael seemingly can’t die. This man has been beheaded, stabbed, and shot so many times, but as Laurie Strode and Dr. Loomis have said, Michael is pure evil incarnate.
That Ending Is Iconic In So Many Ways
The Halloween ending is one of the best horror movie endings of all time. It really comes at you out of nowhere after this heavy cat and mouse game between Michael and Laurie, ending when Dr. Loomis comes into the house and shoots Michael down. He supposedly falls to his death, but in the next shot, we find him gone.
We see Laurie crying, Dr. Loomis looks utterly terrified that Michael could be anywhere, and several different shots of past locations we have visited throughout the night, showing us that Michael could be literally anywhere. That is how you set up a sequel. We knew nothing about Michael, not really, and yet, now, we want to know more.
How did he survive all those gunshots? Where did he go? Is Laurie going to be okay? Why is he hunting down Laurie specifically? There’s so much that goes unanswered and it’s all laid over Michael’s heavy breathing, before cutting to black and making me want to watch the next movie. It’s iconic in every sense of the word and I love it so much.
At the time of this writing, in August 2022, Halloween Ends is right around the corner, and I’m looking forward to probably the end of Jamie Lee Curtis portraying Laurie, but Michael will always come back. We know it just as much as she does. But I’ll be in the theater regardless, enjoying this horror film until the very end.
Then I'll probably want to come back home and re-watch the original all over again.
If you want to watch Halloween, check it out on AMC+ through Amazon Prime. It’s time to get ready for spooky season.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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