Photos from Halloween – John Carpenter, 1979. Well, you didn’t think I was going to post about Miracle on 34th Street, did you? Seasonal appropriateness aside, Carpenter’s film is the seminal work of the slasher genre. The good that comes with this film is worth the havoc it wrought. Carpenter, working on a shoestring budget, creates a lean narrative that takes a little while to get moving, but once it does the scares come in waves and the tension escalates at every turn. Few villains are quite as iconic as Michael Myers, whose white mask, superhuman strength, and ability to move quickly from place to place without ever having to run established him as the archetypal slasher antagonist. Myers is most frightening because he is faceless and motiveless; he’s a sociopath bent on killing teenagers. Though one can speculate about a possible moral aspect to Myers’ murders (he does seem to pick on teens who have transgressed by that naughtiest of sins, premarital sex), there are enough holes in this theory (Jamie Lee Curtis’ character is a most certainly a virgin) to hold him at the distance of a single-minded killer. But he’s more frightening that way. Though years of slasher inundation may have dulled the edges of some films in the genre (A Nightmare on Elm Street has stood up particularly poorly to the test of time), Halloween remains surprisingly sharp and jolting.
And that damn music? Well, we’ll never be able to escape that. Just remember when you want to criticize John Carpenter for some of his lesser works (Ghosts of Mars Ghosts of Mars Ghosts of Mars Ghosts of Mars a movie starring Ice Cube and Natasha Henstridge on Mars with Pam Grier and a ghost monster warrior dressed like Marilyn Manson…and Pam Grier gets beheaded ten minutes in…and I think Jason Statham is in it…and this was a good idea why??), the director was responsible not only for the creation of one of horror’s most enduring figures but also for that infernal melody which he composed himself. Quite the man this Mr. Carpenter.