Halloween

Halloween ★★★★★

The definitive slasher if you ask me; a film so rich with atmosphere, suspense and chilling beauty that there's a sort of inherent charm and magic to what is really a bare-bones slasher story. The mystery embedded behind Myers' violent tendencies and fractured mind is set up perfectly; and his obsession with Laurie Strode is immediately fascinating. It's bizarre, though, because few films are tougher to celebrate verbally than Halloween. It's story is simple; elemental, really. It's minimal 300k budget doesn't provide for big special effects or star-power. But still, Halloween is touted by many (including myself) to be among the best horror films of all time.

It comes down to Carpenter's vision, I think, and his fundamental understanding of the genre and what audiences tend to latch onto. I love how Myers comes across Laurie completely by chance, and seemingly at fixates on her at random. That's terrifying, to think that she's a victim of chance; chosen to suffer because of some arbitrary moment. It sets up to be pure evil vs "pure good"; Loomis perfectly conveying throughout the film that Myers isn't just a psychopath; but evil taken human form. Relentless, not driven by grudge or some sexual desire, but just the need to destroy. It's such a graceful, elegant way to frame a villain. Just perfect.

Carpenter and Cundey's aesthetic is *perfect* as well. Rich with oranges and blues, Cundey transforms California in the summer to suburban Illinois around Halloween-time; moody, dream-like and cozy as hell. Carpenter's shot-selections are the stuff of legend as well, varying from a silhouette of a boogeyman across the street, to Michael sitting up behind a crying Laurie, to the ghostly white-mask emerging out of the shadows; the movie finds thrills in the most organic, honest ways. Michael quietly observing the body he pinned against the kitchen cupboard remains one of the most fascinating, terrifying and layered moments in all horror cinema.

It's just a damn masterpiece; cozy in the weirdest way and the ultimate autumnal film. When I watched it for the first time in 2015 when I was around 17, I recognized it's mastery but didn't *love* it, if you get what I mean. I've seen it a few times since, and it's really grown on me. The experience of watching it in the fall months is akin to going to the beach in summer, or holing up in the house with some hot tea and a book in the winter. Now when I see the leaves falling, blowing around in the wind under cloudy skies; some part of me thinks of Halloween; anticipating getting home from work or school and watching this Carpenter classic. That's an associative power few films can tout at this stage in my life, and one I didn't really see coming. It retains the elemental power of a bed-time story, and the grimmest, most singular sort of appeal. I fall more in love every time.

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