Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween ( 1978 )


AKA : The Babysitter Murders

Ready with the instinct to survive this night
If you haven't seen it, drop everything and watch it now. If never heard of it, you are on the wrong blog, you should be ashamed of yourself. This film was and still is one of the leading films in horror cinema. Without this significant film the horror genre would be very different today. Its been parodied, imitated, and inspired, not to mention ranked high in the horror world as the most successful independent horror film EVER.This low budget film took audiences by storm, and spawned 10 sequels spanning over 30 years, in addition merchandise in almost every department and a legion of die hard fans. I'm talking about John Carpenter's classic "Halloween". His first appearance on cinema screen has marked the legendary boogeyman, Michael Myers as one of the top ranking kings of modern horror. So since we are so close to the night itself, it would be sacrilegious not to give this cinema wonder it's well earned mention.

Peering from the dark stairwell
Well in case you have been living under a rock for a good portion of your life, ill give you the basic plot. Our story starts 15 years back on Halloween night in Haddonfield, Il, a young Judith Myers is babysitting her younger brother Michael on Halloween. Well babysitting is taking it lightly. Its more like she invited her boyfriend over for a little "trick and treat" if you know what I mean. Young Michael waits till the right moment when his sister is alone and violently murders her. Fast forward 15 years to the future on Halloween night. Michael has been locked away in a institution and under the care of his doctor, Dr. Sam Loomis. Loomis has spent years studying Myers, and come to the realization that Michael is just not mere psychotic, he is the purest form of evil, and Dr. Loomis is determined to keep him locked away for life. On the night of his transfer Michael Myers escapes from Dr. Loomis's ever watchful eye into the night where he first started his murder spree. He heads back to his Hometown of Haddonfield, Ill. As our audiences find out, Michael disguises himself and lurks in the shadows of Halloween night, hunting down his last remaining sister, Laurie Strode and killing off all of her closest friends. But hot on his trail is Dr. Loomis, determined to stop Michael once and for all.

Michael disguised as a ghost
"Halloween" was produced on a mere budget of $320,000 and grossed in over 240 million since 2012. Written by John Carpenter and then wife Debra Hill. It also launched the career of director John Carpenter who went on to make big horror hits as "The Thing" "The Fog" and "Christine" to name a few. Another star who rose to fame rooting from this film is Jamie Lee Curtis who played Laurie Strode, who made her acting debut here. Veteran actor Donald Pleasence became solidified in his role as Dr. Loomis, and became a staple in the sequels to come much like the prime antagonist Michael Myers. After viewing Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13" independent film producer Irwin Yablans and financer Moustapha Akkad sought Carpenter to direct them a film that would give audiences the same impact as "The Exorcist". Akkad funded the $320,000 to Carpenter in trust that he would make due with the money provided, and give the audiences nightmares for years to come. Halloween was shot in 21 days in spring of 1978 in South Pasadena, California and released just in time for the Halloween season. It was a mission accomplished. Audiences everywhere were scared to death, and all that had seen the film spread it by word of mouth to everyone they knew, and that helped jump start it to instant "must see" status. It helped build the film to spread across the word over the next year. The world had a new boogeyman, a new icon in Michael Myers.

"Halloween" Facts !

The original mask to be used was a Emmet Kelly Clown mask, but instead used was a Star Trek Captain Kirk mask ( played by the Price line negotiator himself, William Shatner ). The crew simply shaved off the sideburns, widened the eye holes and spray painted it white. In certain shots you can see the flesh tones of the original mask underneath the white paint.

Michael Myers was referred to as "The Shape" in the final credits.

Several people played Michael Myers, including John Carpenter, Debra Hill, and actor Tony Moran among many others. 

According to screenwriter/producer Debra Hill, the character of Laurie Strode was named after Carpenter's first girlfriend.

As the film was made in spring, the crew had huge difficulty in procuring pumpkins

Michael Myers' full name is never mentioned in the final film. In fact, the only time anybody refers to him by name is in the opening scene. 

Dr. Sam Loomis is Michael Myers' psychiatrist. Sam Loomis is also the name of Janet Leigh's ( Jamie Lee Curtis's mother ) secret lover in Psycho.

For its first airing on television, extra scenes had to be added to make it fit the desired time slot. Carpenter filmed these during the production of Halloween II against his better judgment.

John Carpenter composed the films creepy and recognizable score in 4 days.

Showdown of good versus evil
This film deserves all the stars I can give. My first viewing as a child gave me chills and cemented in my mind that the boogeyman just might be out there. Michael is relentless unstoppable force of evil. The intense feelings of claustrophobia and pure fear are prevalent throughout the film. The audience connections with Laurie as she is the good innocent girl caught in this tangled nightmare. The cinematography is excellent, especially the opening scene which is one continuous shot from the killers point of view. The music adds to this fear you get while watching the movie, and without it, the film would not be as frightening. So all in all this is the must see Halloween horror movie for everyone. You may too find yourself the boogeyman really out there ?

German poster art

Added bonus ! You can actually catch this film this Halloween season on the big screen starting this Thursday till Halloween in select theaters !

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