Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mini Review: Halloween (****)

Directed by John Carpenter
Cast: Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews, John Michael Graham, Nancy Stephens, Arthur Malet, Mickey Yablans, Brent Le Page, Adam Hollander, Robert Phalen, Tony Moran.
1978--91 min.
Rated R (violence, language, nudity)
Reviewed by The Teen Critic on November 2, 2008.

John Carpenter's classic "Halloween" is drenched in the kind of suspense that few, if any, horror films today even dream of reaching. The music score is quite possibly the most iconic in film history, creepily showing up at moments of dread or unbelievable terror. That all of the horror film cliches are ticked off the hypothetical list isn't surprising--this film created those cliches. The POV of the killer, the going-to-the-place-where-you-heard-the-strange-noise scenes, etc., are all included but done so well that you forget you can predict exactly what's going to happen. Everyone knows the spare, no-subplots-given story: When he was 6, Michael Myers brutally stabbed his sister to death and was put into an insane asylum. Seventeen years later, Michael returns to his hometown to wreak more havoc.

"Halloween" is a masterpiece. There is no other way to put it. It's one of the great cinematic experiences and must be viewed in the dark on the namesake holiday (or the day before or after) for full effect. It is a film of sheer tension, one to give you nightmares, but it's also simply a great film. The performances by Donald Pleasance, as Michael's guilt-ridden doctor, and Jamie Lee Curtis, as the lion's prey herself, are close to flawless, while relative no-name Tony Moran plays Michael cold, calculating monster. The stark cinematography by Dean Cundey, the fluid filmmaking by Carpenter, the film editing that cuts from one scene to the next as slowly and methodically as Michael himself, and that irrepressible musical score--all aspects of "Halloween" make for a pitch-perfect filmic experience that ranks as the best horror film I've seen.

No comments: