I don’t scare easily most of the time. Okay, so there was the time a couple of weeks ago when a foggy morning and a stray cat meant I started running halfway through my warm-up because I spooked myself, but we’re talking movies here. When I watched horror movies as a kid, not many of them gave me nightmares. The two that I remember freaking me out the most were Carrie and Halloween. (And yes, I know Halloween is a week away, but I’m saving my favorite movie for next week.)
I can’t remember the first time I saw Halloween, but the time that sticks out in my mind is when I was in high school. My parents went out without me, and I decided to watch the Halloween marathon. I made some Pizza Rolls, turned out the lights, and settled in for some fun. As the movie wore on, I started noticing every creak in the house. Cats jumping in and out of the rocking chairs on our porch startled me. By the time the second movie started, I had turned every light on in the house and was curled up on the sofa in the fetal position. When my parents came across the porch, I screamed, “MICHAEL MYERS IS COMING TO GET ME!” Not my finest moment. And to this day, any time I go to a haunted attraction and there’s a Michael Myers, I get this flutter in my stomach. He scares me.
So why does he scare me, when other horror icons like Freddy or Jason don’t? I think it all comes down to a simple story. He’s a juggernaut of homicidal tendencies (like Jason), but unlike Jason he’s calculating. Sure, Jason is crafty, but Michael has a purpose. When Laurie is in the closet, her fear is palpable. Director John Carpenter does a fantastic job of drilling down Laurie’s showdown with her brother to raw emotion, an exposed nerve. Carpenter builds layers of terror, establishing an unsettling feeling in Laurie and in the audience.
And can we talk about Dr. Loomis? I love Dr. Loomis. He’s a voice of reason, but he comes off as completely batshit. One of the moments Mr. Geeky V and I howl at every time is his startling the neighborhood kids. Take a look at his face after he does it. Is he delighted in himself because he wanted to scare them, or is it that he thinks he helped them? You be the judge.
The first film is my favorite, but I enjoy the others as well. One of my favorite awesomely bad movies is Halloween III: Season of the Witch. No, it has nothing to do with Michael Myers, but it has everything to do with bad horror. It’s terrible, yet somehow it’s also kinda creepy. The nefarious plot to kill kids through some ancient Druid ritual and also microchipped masks is messy, but also sinister. Okay, so the Silver Shamrock song is creepy, and the kid’s mask filling up with creepy crawlies is kinda terrifying. However, there are also androids, and the main guy yells so much it’s unnerving. We get it–things are bad. And people wonder where the hell Michael Myers is. I think if it weren’t under the Halloween umbrella, it would have been better received. That, or it would have faded into oblivion as another throwaway horror movie. I love it, warts and all. And I want those masks.
So as you crawl into bed tonight, I leave you with this thought. Tomorrow is eight more days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!