Watching Halloween on Halloween
Odeon continues to do its best for film lovers by showing both old and new films at their theatres, but they have announced that from November 2nd they are closing all their cinemas down until they are allowed to reopen again. It’s a real shame. The cinema was an oasis for myself, Mrs. Reviewer and thousands of other people that could find solace in the darkness of the cinema — and let’s face it, the social distancing aspect in all their venues was a blessing. The last thing you need in a movie is some jerk sitting next to you, eating as loudly as possible while continuing with a running commentary on everything that is going on.
However, I digress. We saw Halloween last night, the original, and we were treated to a special introduction to the film by writer and director John Carpenter. It was a short mini-documentary, probably a Blu-ray extra, that told of the small budget, the time constraints, and the pressure they were under during the filming. It was a nice touch to show this, and Carpenter urged us all to watch the film at a cinema, as it was filmed, strangely, in widescreen, not a technique used by many at the time, for such a low-budget flick.
As far as a review goes, it’s hard to find new things to say about it. It’s a real game-changer for the genre, the scares are still there, there were more jump scares than I remember, and the creepy sightings of Michael hiding behind windblown sheets of washing and suburban hedges are all still effective.
It feels as if Halloween was a textbook study of how these films should be made, and despite some terrible and often insulting reviews of the film on its release, it went on to become one of the highest-grossing indie films ever made.
Needless to say, it was no surprise that Carpenter was being visited by corporate suits not long after its release, as they began to vie for his attention. Technically the film does suffer from pacing issues, and honestly, there’s about 30 minutes of story here and 90 minutes of movie, but the incredible synth score, again by Carpenter, and the performances from the cast hold it all in place. There are a couple of truly odd moments; Michael with a sheet over him and his victim’s glasses on is just odd, and some googly-eyed corpses made me kind of laugh, but there’s a reason the film has the rep it has — it’s because it really is very good, and you could do worse than re-watch it this year.