Halloween ★★★★★

October wasn't awesome this year, but I did get to see Friday the 13th in the theater on Friday the 13th and Halloween in the theater on Halloween, so it didn't suck either.

There is magic in this film, magic that is a function of its essential simplicity. With its straightforward storytelling, unadorned style, basic dialogue, monophonic synthesizers, and a what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach to the scenario's horror, Halloween is a film that is charmingly, primitively devoted to being an instrument of blunt force trauma. This is not to say it is without subtlety, but that it is a film of mood and moments: the inside of Annie's car as twilight falls, the last rays of sun slanting through the windows; the interior of another car, this one carrying Sam Loomis and Marion Chambers down a backroad to hell beneath pitch blackness and torrential rain; Loomis again, duty-bound, standing in front of the hardware store waiting to talk to the sheriff, as Myers cruises by in his stolen car right behind him. If only he'd turned to look . . .

Lately every horror film I watch feels like a statement about youth: its loss, its preservation, its sanctity, its violence. Halloween is made by people who understand teenagers well--the push and pull of freedom and dependence on adults, the magnetism and repulsion of high school and its social scene, the seeming imperative to violate rules and norms for the sake of your soul. The way simple things feel complicated and complicated things feel simple. The life-and-death moments that happen in cars.

Cf. Frenzy