Halloween Screen 12 articles

Halloween

1978

Halloween Poster
  • Halloween is a movie of almost unrelieved chils and of violence, conjuring up that unique mix of subliminal threat and contrapuntal physicality employed by Hitchcock... Carpenter's free, eclectic use of the subjective shot is enough to drive purists crazy: he uses it, though, as the basic resource of an unabashedly devious visual labyrinth in which every blank space, curve, and corner poses a threat.

  • A master of manipulating Hitchcockian point-of-view shots within a confined Hawksian community space. Carpenter is an advocate of straight-ahead storytelling strictly for its own sake. Aiming for a purified approach to genres, he uses only the minimal amount of topicality or psychology necessary to block out his his basic givens before charging ahead confidently, chewing up every inch of his carefully charted terrain.

  • John Carpenter's 1978 tour de force, perhaps the most widely imitated film of the 70s. As a homicidal maniac stalks the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois, Carpenter displays an almost perfect understanding of the mechanics of classical suspense; his style draws equally (and intelligently) from both Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock.

  • HALLOWEEN, still Carpenter’s biggest moneymaker, looks more impressive with each passing year: a perfectly coordinated succession of counterpoints between slow lateral tracking movements, subjective forward moves via the Panaglide, and sudden vertical jolts within the frame (the killer jumping onto the car, lifting up the hunky boyfriend), in which every object and every street-corner is perfectly described, the human action serving as a form of punctuation.

  • [Carpenter] further developed the intense storyline by creating visually outstanding scenes. Visual highlights of the film include the gradual emergence of the white masked killer from the shadows and the ubiquitous subjective point of view shots of the killer at the beginning of the film. However the real achievement of Carpenter, as a director and as a storyteller, was to create a memorable and truly frightening viewing experience.

  • John Carpenter’s third feature takes its stylistic cues from its masked killer, Michael Myers. It doesn’t run, it walks. The pace is leisurely, the better to let the movie linger on atmospheric details... The movie’s greatness lies in its mastery of pacing, composition, editing and sound effects, the basic building blocks of all cinema, horror especially.

  • Every scene exploits the dynamics between good versus evil, day versus night, obliviousness versus alertness. If Halloween's plot seems perilously thin, it only serves to accentuate Carpenter's direction—along with his legendary, minimalist synth score—as the main attraction. He's less a storyteller here than a poet of violent intent.

  • I'm struck once more by the elegance of this picture, the manner in which the camera can glide so smoothly that it's not until halfway into any given track that you realize you're on a conveyor belt feeding an incinerator and struggle against its unstoppable movement.

  • What Halloween has (and Carpenter’s 1976 Assault on Precinct 13, too) is a very particular combination of flourish and minimalism—that is to say, it’s a matter of style. The flourish is in the insidious stalking Steadicam, the fact that, as perspicacious Village Voice critic Tom Allen observed, the film “owes more to the expressive possibilities raised by Vincente Minnelli in the Halloween sequence of Meet Me in St. Louis than to any films in the realistic school.”

  • [Michael Myers would] make his face go blank and then he'd sort of sway faintly from side to side, to suggest "unhurried walking." The movie takes its cues from Michael's walk. It is directed by Carpenter in thoughtfully composed CinemaScope frames, in takes that are often quite long by modern horror cinema standards, with a simple, synthesized score that's deliberately, monotonously repetitious and enormously effective for that very reason

  • I was struck, perhaps due to recent heartbreak and the anxiety of my impending return to the Hell we call “dating,” by how lonely Laurie Strode is. Much has been made (though rarely with any eloquence or conviction) of her ostensible virginity being integral to her survival, metaphorically, and the advent of that irkesome term “Final Girl.” To me, this eschews the palpable ache of Laurie’s solitude.

  • It should be remembered a primo model of stripped down simplicity... The film’s greatest sophistication is that it trains you how to watch and gooses you accordingly: each darkened doorway or window becomes a conscious red herring, a place where danger could come from. Like rock and roll, it’s a formula that sounds so easy, but only the purest of its practitioners can get it right.

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