Halloween ★★★★½

Beautifully made, and technically unimpeachable, but there's always been something overly controlled, something overly schematic about this, that prevents it from being a horror classic on the level of, say, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre(which felt truly real, truly terrifying). There's a small but noticeable sense in which Carpenter is showing off a bit with his perfectly choreographed camera movements (the scene where Michael stalks young Tommy outside the school is scary, sure, but all I could think was Look how perfectly centered the kid is through the car window!). This comes with the territory with Carpenter films, I know, but at least he was able to loosen up (with an increased level of violence and panic in The Thing, with humor in They Live). I can recognize the film's importance, its compositional genius, but my admiration must always be a bit tempered, even though the ending (Dr. Loomis finally calling Michael "the boogeyman" followed by Michael disappearing suddenly, his breaths reverberating over various empty spaces, thus indicating that he has passed from the temporal realm into that of pure myth, legend, the kind of figure who parents half-jokingly say will "get you" to their children when they don't eat their dinner or do their chores) is just perfect.