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(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
"What's the point of you doing a review of HALLOWEEN?"
Yes, and that is what this review will be about: Not the movie but its legacy.
Recently, a DVD company sent me the latest brand spanky of HALLOWEEN. This one was completely remastered (again) not just for picture quality but also for sound (again). Now in addition to Dolby, it had a THX soundtrack!
Now I should be able to hear that repetitive soundtrack so well that it will become virally ingrained in my mind -
Beep! Boop! Boop! Beep! Boop! Boop! Beep! Beep! Beep! Boop! Boop! Beep! Boop! Boop! Beep...
...cannibalizing the brain cells I'd set aside for remembering the soundtrack to THE EXORCIST -
Deet. Doot. Doot. Deet. Doot. Doot. Deet. Deet. Deet. Doot. Doot ...
And for all I know, that THX enhanced Dolby might be a real wowser on a state of the art entertainment system that has true 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. I have no idea. I'm not sure, exactly, how many movie companies, in addition to sending out free review DVDs, also send out free state of the art home entertainment centers. I will tell you this, however. Whichever movie company sends me a state of the art home entertainment center will get an automatic bump of 1 extra shriek girl on every damn movie they send me. You, dear reader, have been forewarned.
Still, since I don't have that state-of-the-art, blah, blah yet, I'll have to tell you that on my regular TV - which is a pretty decent 32 inch - the THX and the remastered picture give me no noticeable difference from my HALLOWEEN 25th Anniversary double disc DVDs, released by the same company a few years ago. What's more, even though the 25th Anniversary DVDs used old laser disc voice-overs for their commentary, the commentary was still excellent and informative.
What I wasn't sent was the all new HALLOWEEN Blu-Ray. Not that it would matter on my system (which I wouldn't mind seeing replaced, hint! hint!). But if you are the kind of person who actually has a state-of-the-etc., then why would you even waste your time with a new, but standard, DVD when you could get HALLOWEEN in all of it's High Definition glory as only BLU-RAY can provide?
Could it be that, perhaps you don't want to spend the extra money on HALLOWEEN because your deep dark secret is, that as a Horror Thriller fan, you've never actually SEEE-E-EN HALLOWEEN?
I don't mean watching it on a TV channel. That edited for TeeVee crap don't cut it. I mean watching the actual John Carpenter cut, which is the original theatrical release version, of HALLOWEEN - which you can only see on DVD (and some old VHS and Laser disks).
Once you watch the original HALLOWEEN it will slowly but surely become clear why this movie is such a classic. As the story slowly, excruciatingly unfolds you will understand why HALLOWEEN to this day sells so well that you can go to any store and buy so many different formats of it. You will understand why it continues to sell well - all on its own - without being bundled with another title.
HALLOWEEN starts in 1963. Now lots of stupid Horror movies start last year or one hundred years ago or yesterday or what the hell, and that prologue makes no difference at all. But writers John Carpenter and the late Debra Hill didn't swing that way. If their movie was going to have a prologue, it had to be an absolutely vital prologue. Our first glimpse of Michael Myers, as a small child (Will Sandin), is just that vital. It sets the tone for everything the adult Michael Meyers does (much later in the movie) without ever saying exactly why.There is a mystery that is never quite explained about Michael Myers (Tony Moran: HALLOWEEN II). It's that mystery, not knowing what he is capable of, not knowing the borders or the limits, that adds to his horror. This was intentional on John Carpenter's part and he always referred to the adult Michael Meyers - not by name, but by description. He calls him, "The Shape" (Nick Castle: Writer/Director; ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK)*.
Unlike most modern, unimaginative Horror which doesn't seek to scare so much as gross you out with fake blood and rubber appliances, John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN took the Horror one step further with Thriller, thrills as in he really set out to scare you shitless! And then, so that you never knew when the Horror and Thrills would hit, he baited you, kept you waiting in Suspense. Finally, he gave you an unfathomable insight into the secret workings of the thinking of The Shape, as it silently viewed its handiwork, or snuck up in novel and disturbingly thoughtful ways.
The psychiatrist who is chasing Michael down and trying his best to alert the complacent authorities is Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance: 1984 , THX 1138, DRACULA , HALLOWEEN II, PHENOMENA, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, HALLOWEEN 4). You won't get any psychoanalysis from Loomis. He spent 15 years observing Michael and has come away with a terrifying and unshakable belief : "I realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply ... evil."
Loomis refers to Myers not as "he", but as "it". Though he tracks Michael down, he is so terrified of his runaway patient that he carries a gun.
Michael, aka, "The Shape", returns home to Haddenfield, Illinois, and the abandoned family house - now rumored to be haunted - where he murdered his sister. There he silently watches the neighborhood and its inhabitants. Eventually he drives a car around town, following a trio of girls who live around his old home. He slowly narrows his focus, for reasons known only to him, to three girls: Lynda Van Der Klock (P. J. Soles: CARRIE, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS), Annie Brackett (Nancy Kyes aka Nancy Loomis: THE FOG , HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH), and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis: THE FOG , PROM NIGHT, TERROR TRAIN, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, HALLOWEEN II, HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, VIRUS). There doesn't seem to be a reason to it. What Carpenter conveyed in effectively simple ways was that these three girls, unwittingly crossed the path of a homicidal maniac, locking themselves into his cross hairs.
For the rest of the movie, the story is mainly told through the point of view of Michael and the most naive of the three girls, Laurie Strode. Unlike her friends, Laurie doesn't have much of a social life, and spends most of her time watching the world go by. On one frightening Halloween night, she sees a very evil part of the world stare back.
Of all of the remakes he could have chose to tackle, Rob Zombie picked one of the most powerful Horror Thriller movies of all time. We'll see if he has what it takes to beat the man who has earned the title, The Master of Horror.
HALLOWEEN gets all Five Shriek Girls.