By Nick Maylor
Happy Halloween to all of our readers. So… could I have been any more obvious in my choice?
I doubt it.
For this site, I recently reviewed this year’s direct-sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher film which can be read here. I really enjoyed the new movie as it harkened back to the tradition of the first; before Michael Myers became Laurie Strode’s brother and we were subjected to all the complicated mess of the sequels and rebooted series from Rob Zombie.
In the original film, the script referred to Michael Myers only as “The Shape”. He was a vapid vessel for pure evil; simple and terrifying,
This was why that mask was so scary; it was plain and emotionless. Those in the know will already be familiar with the story behind that famous mask; it was a modified Captain Kirk mask modeled after William Shatner.
It was chosen amongst a few options (Including Mr. Spock and Richard Nixon) because it was the plainest; something the audience could paint its own fears onto. Moving like a shadow amongst the victims of the night: The shape was pure terror embodied. It was evil personified. John Carpenter made a classic that started a genre on a shoestring budget and the film still holds up today. That music that we all know is still scary. Michael Myers set the standard for every Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger that would follow. The slasher genre owes its existence to John Carpenter’s film and viewing it hindsight will demonstrate why.
Of the sequels, Halloween II and Halloween H20 are the best;l no surprise due to the inclusion of Jamie Lee Curtis. However, not until this year’s installment did anything really feel the same as that original film.
I highly recommend that you revisit this original entry and/or anything from the series. Even Rob Zombie’s reboot has its merits despite pulling the curtain back in the same ill-fated way that Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (2001) did with Darth Vader. It doesn’t necessarily make things scarier when you see the monster as a child. Nevertheless, today is about spooks and scares; the inner terror we all feel at the unseen horrors of the world. Much like Jaws (1975) did with the shark, Halloween (1978) showed us that the scariest things are not the guts and gore of modern torture-porn. That which is most horrifying is the unknown; the things that lurk in the shadows. Nothing managed to instill that sense of fear the way The Shape did in 1978.
Go revisit it and check out this year’s worthy follow up.
Trick or Treat?
Nick is an actor/writer/comedian/musician from Hamilton, ON Canada. Having been a film nut since the early days of his life, Nick has had an obsession with cinema and popular entertainment. Nick has written for thecinemaholic.com and is the current Foote & Friends “expert” on all things geek/superhero/comic-book related. Nick is the host/producer of the official Foote & Friends On Film podcast. Nick met John when studying acting at the Toronto Film School, for which John H. Foote was director and Film History professor. The two have been arguing ever since.
Follow Nick on Twitter @NickMaylor