Halloween ★★★★★

I forgot how cold and sleek Halloween feels with blue light slicing through blinds and those crazy Panaglide long takes. My boy JC kicks the film off with a slow push into a jack o'lantern over his tense repetitive score then jumps right into a POV extreme long take complete with indoor/outdoor lighting changes, a mask filter, and a cheated bloody stabbing? DAMB. Way to cineflex right out of the gate, J. Carp!

Carpenter can deny all he wants. He claims he set out to makes a "drive in picture," but Halloween feels almost like an experimental art project from a USC film school grad. Those takes that linger far too long to create a sense of dread, the simplicity of the locations and premise, the efficiency of the narrative and scares. Halloween is a spare, mean picture. Every shot escalates drama or advances the story. A masked figure emerges from shadow, a fist slams through a door, a girl scrambles down a suburban street at night screaming. Kill scenes focus on life draining from the eyes of victims, faces frozen in pain or fear, instead of any overt gore. 

Stripped to primal elements, Halloween almost feels like a deconstruction of the slasher before the genre had been firmly established and a slew of copycats picked up the knife. It’s a movie more concerned with the process and aesthetics of stalking’n’slashing than delivering sharp jolts, though plenty of those pop with synth stingers to please the drive-in crowd. That Carpenter, what a craftsman!

I also like Halloween's chilly depiction of small town America. The gliding subjective camera hinting at something sinister lurking amidst the middle class homes and high schools and general stores. A killer might peer around a shrub, but if you bang on a neighbor's door for help, he'll turn out the lights and ignore you. The people of this community are alone together. They might smile and wave to you on the street, but at the end of the day they struggle with their own inner lives and drama and would rather not be disturbed. If you ask me, Halloween feels scariest BEFORE Michael Myers even arrives in Haddonfield, Illinois. Just those long frigid takes of Jamie Lee Curtis walking through her quaint town as THAT SCORE builds and repeats 'til it almost becomes an all consuming drone is enough to give me chill bumps!

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