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Sunday, August 12, 2012

TEN: Ten Things I Noticed from seeing Halloween on the Big Screen for the first time, thanks to Atlanta's Splatter Cinema at the Plaza!

ramble alert!!!

that says halloween, i swear
no slides! hooray!

1. Halloween, being almost 35 years old, still can bring in the crowd. So nice to see how many horror fiends came out.

2. That being said, and you all know Carpenter is my boy, but I can not imaging the movie being able to rise in classic status if it had come out today with 2000 channels, Internet, instant streaming, and all the million of diversions. It's not just movie theaters and TV anymore. I think this one would get lost in the glut of "5 instant cult classics" that come out weekly. Not saying it wouldn't, and hard to say since Halloween is the face that launched a million ships, every horror movie steals from it. I'm just saying, this movie was not an immediate sensation, and was allowed to grow in reputation while still in the theater.

3. And! I never noticed how bear bones this movie is. It is really low budget, and seeing on the big screen really brings it home. Few locations and actors, and very talky and walky. People walking and talking, while some one is stalking. That's the whole movie. Not much going on. I know I'm seeing this through jaded horror saturated eyes, but really, this is not about telling a nuanced story.

4. I never noticed how much the camera is swarming around in the first half of the movie. The movie is designed to be more claustrophobic as it progresses, but man the camera is very dynamic, almost verite in the beginning. We are constantly moving.

5. Everytime Donald Pleasence opens his mouth, magic happens. He is batnuts insane, talking that cop's ear off. "More fancy talk", saith the cop.

6. Every man in this movie is a total moron, or a psychopath. I think Debra Hill is the magic ingredient to this mix. She adds this strong feminist undercurrent. Without her contribution to the script, this would be pretty nondescript horror film. The only real people in this movie are the women. The film focuses on the three teenage girls and as they slowly walk into the path of this truck.

7. Everyone has a date except for Laurie Strode. Even the kids are a pair. Laurie says that men think she's too smart. Everyone else paired up and are on their way to living happy little suburban lives. Debra Hill was producing Hollywood movies in her twenties. The idea of marrying some moron and getting him a beer while he watches the game would have made her puke. So here is Laurie, with this spectre date slowly getting closer. By Laurie striking at the Shape and defeating him, she is lashing out and rejecting the status quo. The Shape for me now represents the inevitability of life, of the excepted and the unexamined roles we take. Of birth, marriage, work, carriers, and just general conformity. The Shape is death by loss of identity.

I'm rambling film school bullshit, but that is what the Internet is for dammit!

8. I never noticed that the whole reason that The Shape even starts after Laurie is because she comes to his house to drop a key off for her dad who is in real estate. Some how I never made that connection, the plot entangled in my brain with the wacky stuff from the sequels about Laurie being his lost sister. It is scarier that this is just some psycho stalker, and him coming into her life is just a random bit of bad luck.

9. In the 70s I guess you could stalk around an elementary school and stare at the students while wearing a scary mask. Those were different times.

10. In conclusion, I love this movie, but now more because of Debra Hill then the Carpenter influence. Carpenter has always been better with a good collaborator at the script. They Live being a great example of having nothing to say once the first 20 minutes have played out, the first twenty being an awesome adaption of the the short story source material. Great movies are like this. They grow with you. I got a lot out of this screening but not for the reasons I was suspecting.

BONUS: The jack o'lantern during the opening credits is huge on the silver screen. I mean, BIG man!


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