Halloween ★★★★½

"You will not be saved by the Holy Ghost...." - The Complete Carpenter Project

Plink-plonk-plonk-plonk plink-plonk-plonk-plonk plink-plonk....Rowr...rowr....rowwwwwwwr.

John Carpenter and his themes, eh? It surprises me that more directors don't have a go at putting together their own soundtrack. After all, they would know better than anyone else the precise sound they are looking for in their films. It's perhaps why Carpenter's soundtracks, when he was behind them, sound as fitting for his films and as perhaps any other soundtracks in film history.

Music and sound, or the lack of it in some scenes, play a huge part in Halloween. In 2014, this comparatively bloodless slasher film can look quite tame when compared to may of the efforts that have come along in the last 36 years. But what it lacks in blood and body-count it makes up for in the sheer bloody-mindedness of the plot and, indeed, of a couple of the main characters.

Michael Myers himself relentlessly stalks poor Jamie Lee Curtis something rotten, appearing and disappearing seemingly into nowhere before he finally begins a physical pursuit of her to follow up the psychological pursuit he had adopted to that point. He then resists all of her attempts at fending him off and ensures that Halloween would become one of the most influential films in history as a result. The seemingly indestructible killer coming back from 'the dead' several times before the film is finally done.

Then there's Donald Pleasence, completely sure of the fact that Myers is going to be going back to Haddonfield to kill someone. He never doubts it in his mind and he hangs around the neighbourhood in ways you wouldn't be able to do in these post-Operation Yewtree days just in the off chance he sees something happen that seems untoward. He doesn't care if anyone believes him, but he knows he's right - and he is.

Halloween relies on atmosphere and some really good performances to work its magic alongside that soundtrack that really does still prove to be so unsettling after all these years. There's seemingly no build-up here either - we see the young Myers commit the crime that would land him inside and then we are plunged into the present day as Pleasence panics over what could be about to happen with Myers.

It sacrifices characterisation for atmosphere and setting you on edge, a decision that proves to be a masterstroke from Carpenter. Halloween is still a quite fantastic film that continues to influence and chill in equal measures.

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