Halloween ★★★½

Halloween remains sharper and creepier than an expired jack-o-lantern. A film that hosts the most formidably foreboding group of followers since the original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. Many have claimed this to be the perfect slasher. Whilst I disagree with the subjective consensus, it is irrefutably influential and a milestone in the horror genre. Michael Myers slaughters his sister and is sent to a mental institution. Years later he escapes and terrorises babysitters on Halloween night. Carpenter is a renowned horror director, particularly for his inventive utilisation of prosthetics. The low budget of this slasher forced him to be creative. Surprisingly the blood and gore is minimal. The tension and suspense is upheld by what the viewers do not see, and it's incredibly effective. The vast majority of the film relies on Myers stalking his sexually promiscuous victims by appearing and disappearing in the camera's backdrop, or by the exhaustingly heavy breathing beneath his mask. These aspects complement Carpenter's astute directing in creating horror. The introductory POV long take is a perfect example to illustrate this. Curtis somewhat broke the typical "damsel in distress" cliché and stood confidently against a physically intimidating Castle. The noteworthy score also elevated the suspense even further, and remains memorable to this day. The film however is equipped with a double-edged knife. The simplistic approach enhances the realism of the situation, without conforming to exaggeration. Yet, it's because of this that the pace is stagnant for a large portion of the film, lacking character development for both the protagonist and antagonist. The constant stalking rapidly becomes tedious, finishing off victims with badly acted deaths. The final ten minutes then exhumed surrealism which detracted from the film's realism. Shot six times, stabbed three times and fallen off a balcony. His supposed invincibility makes him less remarkable, which is a shame. Is this Carpenter's best? No. Is this the best slasher? No. However it's certainly an appropriate film for Halloween.