Halloween (1978) – A Herald for John Carpenter’s Innovations


Hello everybody and welcome back to a movie review. Well, sort of…

Recently in PLP, we started on a unit focusing on horror in various different forms. We are studying the book Frankenstein and watching multiple horror films. All of this will lead to a class-wide production of a short horror film. This post is my reflection and analysis of the original Halloween directed by John Carpenter in 1978.

The first thing I want to talk about is the horror of the film. What actually makes it scary? Well in the case of Halloween, it’s the unknown. There is so much unexplained in the movie that it makes Michael Myers that much scarier. There is no apparent reason for his obsession with Laurie or other babysitters. Not only was his interest in them unnerving he was also good at stalking his prey. He was able to hide well and always gave a good scare to both his target and us the audience. He was able to read these humans very well even though he’d hardly seen a human for 15 years. Michael was also more interested in giving his target a good scare rather than going for the easiest or most efficient kill. This is apparent multiple times in the movie where he rigs up a giant trap just to scare Laurie when she comes exploring, or when he put on a white sheet to disguise himself as Bob rather than just going up and killing Lynda. The scariest part about Halloween and Michael Myers is the fact that once he’s chosen you as his target, there is no escape. He will kill you. It’s this thought that has you checking every dark corner in your room, or making sure your feet are under the covers at night.

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The cinematography in Halloween is perfect. John Carpenter used what is known as the POV shot multiple times in the movie. The POV shot is where the shot we are seeing is a representation of what a character is seeing. We see this used right at the start of the movie when we are in the shoes of a 6-year-old Michael Myers who puts on a mask before going upstairs and killing his sister. Another time this shot is used effectively is when Laurie is walking up the street with her friends and sees Michael behind a hedge, and when she looked back there he was gone. We get this instant feeling of dread or nervousness as we just saw him there and someone else is walking up to go look at him. However, the camera work is not the only part that’s great in the production of the movie. The music and sound effects are the strongest part of the whole movie. The theme that plays every time Michael is in the shot or close by still puts me on edge a week after watching the movie. Carpenter also adds to this classic with the sound of heavy breathing that we associate with Michael. When everything is put together this is one truly horrifying movie.

As I’ve mentioned a few times so far in this post, the movie was made in 1978. In this brief era, there was a real fear of serial killers in America. Do the names Ted Bundy and Charles Manson ring a bell? The thought of someone coming to your neighborhood and killing a handful of people for no real reason was a real one. People were afraid when someone new came to town. Michael Myers reflects this perfectly. Really all Michael is, is a serial killer. The only thought in his head is murder, and it doesn’t really matter what gets thrown in front of him, he will go through it. The way John Carpenter used these real-world fears to create his monster is not unique to him. It is very common for horror films to be based on a topic that is current. If the movie didn’t reflect a current fear it just wouldn’t be nearly as scary.

This wouldn’t be a PLP blog post on analysis if I didn’t compare Halloween to something else, would it? Well here it is: Even though Halloween is one of the first of its type and a true trendsetter in the horror genre, there were influencers who came before and had some similarities. For example, Frankenstein is a very different style of horror and was written eons before Halloween came out, both ask some similar questions. The biggest one in my opinion is asking what a human is. Both stories do but in almost entirely the opposite way. Frankenstein is a story about a creature who was created and mostly just wants to fit in and be a human, however, he’s much too ugly to be a human. So the book asks why can’t he be a human. He can talk, he can read, he can understand emotion, he really is a human in a body made up of other bodies. Whereas on Halloween the question is targeted a Michael and is asking if he still is a human. Where the creature in Frankenstein could talk, we never hear Michael say anything in the entire movie. There is really only one thing in his head and that is killing. So this begs the question, is he still a human?

However, even with these similarities between the two, there are obviously a lot of differences as you would expect when they were written almost 150 years apart. The biggest one is the gore and overall disgustingness of it. The same thing applies to Halloween and something is written more recently. As a society our fears have numbed, what used to be scary back in the 1800s usually doesn’t cut it anymore. There was no need for blood or really gory deaths in Frankenstein because just the thought of a creature coming and killing people was haunting enough. Halloween makes us gulp when Michael stabs someone with his knife into a door and just leaves him hanging there. Michael does things with the dead bodies he’s made that I would never want to encounter in person. However, Halloween lacks the amount of blood or the really crazy killing scenes today’s horror features. As I said above times change and in that time we all became a little bit more psycho

In conclusion, Halloween is a great movie and definitely not something I would want to watch again. Which in my opinion is what makes it a great movie. Even when I know what’s going to happen, I would still be terrified. Whether it be the music, the angles, or the lack of a reason for murder, Halloween does everything horror is supposed to do. John Carpenter’s movie will and already has gone down in history as an all-time classic horror film.

Hocus Pocus: In Defense of an Iconic Halloween Film

There’s a reason why every year, October 31st is marked by annual re-runs of Hocus Pocus and why the film remains so popular among other generations. While there have been mini-sequels and new versions that failed to capture the magic of the original, there is no denying what made Hocus Pocus such a beloved Halloween classic — Linda Cardellini, Thora Birch, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Let me first start by saying I am not here to bash any remake(s). You do you, Hollywood!

Halloween is arguably the greatest holiday of them all. The magical mix of candy, costumes, scary stories, and the annual orgy of consumerism that follows each Halloween make it one of the most successful holidays in consumer history. Halloween has become an iconic holiday for a number of reasons. But one key reason is its ability to capture our imaginations with profound ease and take us back to childhood. This year marks the 29th anniversary of one such film: Hocus Pocus.

Michael Myers Haunts Pop Culture Again In New Halloween

The ghosts of Michael Myers haunt pop culture again this month, thanks to the new Halloween movie franchise. The horror icon is having one of his most celebrated reigns in pop culture, with the second installment of his new film series hitting theaters on Friday night. But perhaps because he’s been a part of pop culture for so long or because we’re seeing him face-to-face again, there are even more questions surrounding Michael Myers than ever before.

The character of Michael Myers has been a haunting pop culture for almost three decades now. He’s appeared in Hollywood films, television shows, and comic books, but most recently he’s haunted the internet. This fall, the new Halloween film comes out which promises to be Michael Myers’ best ride ever. How did we get so close to Michael Myers again?

The cult classic horror franchise Halloween has been a staple in pop culture for decades, and Michael Myers is still one of the most notorious villains ever to walk the face of planet Earth. Whether you’re watching older movies with your friends, or older movies that don’t feature said villain in any capacity, there’s something creepy going on around every corner where Michael Myers is involved.

John Carpenter’s Halloween Was the Film that Revolutionized an Industry

Halloween or Halloween is undoubtedly one of the best horror movies ever made, which is why in this article we’re going to talk about John Carpenter’s Halloween. This film left a lasting impression and revolutionized an industry that was once considered limited. The idea of making movies with no limitations has now become something seen more and more often in Hollywood as well as other places around the world. It’s something we’ve seen combined with horror entertainment in different ways over the years such as when George A. Romero made his landmark zombie movie called Dawn of the Dead (2004).

John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece, Halloween, was the first slasher film to ever be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing. That alone couldn’t have been enough to make this film a hit. However, it would take a lot more than just a cool genre and its innovative turning of the tables on typical horror movie tropes to do so. The fact that the director was experimenting with original elements throughout his film (slow motion as well as mask-less kills) is what really supported this title early in its run.

John Carpenter’s Halloween was the first major horror film released in the late 1970s. The film helped establish the slasher genre, which became a major subset of Hollywood in the 1980s and 1990s. Five years before that, Carpenter had written one of his most requested films: In the Mouth of Madness. The author does an excellent job analyzing John Carpenter’s career within the context of context, and how he became an influential movie producer and director.

1978’s Halloween Was A Skeleton Key To John Carpenter’s Filmography

Image courtesy of Wikipedia. When it comes to horror movies and the director who made them, John Carpenter is one of the most influential directors in Hollywood. His repertoire includes iconic films such as The Thing, Escape from New York, and Big Trouble In Little China. But something that has gone unnoticed over the years by many fans is just how important 1978’s Halloween was for his career as a filmmaker.

John Carpenter is synonymous with horror and terror. He’s directed some of the most popular films in history — including Halloween (1978) and The Thing (1982). But what about Carpenter’s filmography as a whole? Was his 1978 film Halloween a representation of his entire career as a director?

1978’s Halloween was released on the 11th of November, a Friday. It was put into production the previous year and it’s director, John Carpenter, already had a name for himself in Hollywood. He had directed Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and Escape from New York (1981). His hit film of the 1980s was Prince of Darkness (1987), which starred David Naughton. Even though he had such success with horror films and even had an Oscar nomination in his early years, he never took any more chances with his career by continuing to direct films in the same vein as Assault on Precinct 13 (1976). Instead, he has since directed films that have been praised for their more mainstream appeal.

When director John Carpenter returned to the helm of Halloween in 1978, he was stepping into a world of expectations. His last film, The Thing, was already a sensation in those days and his next effort would have to be exceptional if he wanted to create a legacy out of the one-two punch that was already on its way to becoming legendary. It’s no exaggeration to say that not only did Carpenter surpass his own expectations with this movie (more on that later), but he also managed to introduce new audiences to many aspects of horror for years afterward: memorable opening credits, pop-culture references, and of course a chain strapped around Michael Myers’ neck.

Hocus Pocus

16 thoughts on “Halloween (1978) – A Herald for John Carpenter’s Innovations

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