Halloween ★★★★½

Hooptober 2017: 7/38 - Directors, John Carpenter

Afterthoughts: Well, it would hardly be October without watching this film!

At the tender age of 2 years old, I sat on my father's lap as he settled down to watch a film that would haunt me for many years to come. John Carpenter's music terrified me, and whenever I heard it (my dad seemed to watch this film a lot when I was a kid), I would run to my room and muffle my ears by tightly wrapping a pillow around my head.

I avoided horror films like the plague until I was about 13 years old, when I decided it was finally time to confront my fears and force myself to watch Halloween once more, and it's been one of my favourite films ever since.

I think Halloween has had much greater influence on me than I previously gave it credit for, something I don't think I quite realised until this rewatch. That music, which haunted me for almost half my lifetime, is now very pleasing to my ear, and if I sit down at a keyboard and improvise something, my fingers are often drawn to playing something in the way of those eerie, droning tones Carpenter created for Halloween.

I can't wholly credit Halloween for this, because my love of The Lord of the Rings (amongst other things) is probably more deserving of attribution, but I've got a somewhat unhealthy affinity for and obsession with sharp objects, particularly swords and knives. As well as this, I love masks and the concealment of identity. I'm also a bit of a sucker for a creepy stalker observing his unsuspecting victim, seemlessly disappearing into thin air when spotted, which now I think about it, probably had some influence on my student film I made 8 years ago (Skhizein).

All these iconographic elements featured in Halloween seem to have stuck with me, and whether their origin can truly be traced back to this film, I'll probably never know, but it's an intriguing thought I hadn't had before last night.

The film itself has a lot of flaws: including dozens of continuity errors and physical implausibilities, and in places, bad acting and writing. But who cares, Carpenter created a masterfully suspenseful film that brought horror into the homes of contemporary suburbia, and heavily influenced the emergence of a subgenre that would come to dominate the following decade with endless sequels and copycats.

A film I'll never grow tired of watching, because every time I come back to Halloween I find out something new; whether it be about its impact on me personally, or something within the frame I hadn't noticed before. There are not many horror films that are quite as iconic as Carpenter's classic, and there probably never will be.

One Depraved Month in Hell: Michael & Lorna's Hooptober 2017

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