Ha ha!

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Monday 31 October 2011

Burl reviews Halloween! (1978)

Ha ha, it’s Burl here to review a seasonal classic! It’s hard to imagine the landscape of cinema without this movie in it – it’s so basic and primal, it feels like this was the movie that had to be made before any more complex horror pictures could be attempted! Of course that’s not how it works, and glad I am of that, but still and all I do mean that as a complement to this fantastic low-budget horror phenomenon!
I don’t need to tell you the plot, do I? Ha ha, babysitters are stalked by a masked madman! Yes, that’s it! Mr. Michael Myers puts on his unpainted William Shatner mask, gets himself a kitchen knife and starts poking away! He puts a poking on his very own sister in the movie’s opening moments, and you’ve got to feel sorry for her because after all, her boyfriend just gave her the quickest rogering known to man, or should I say to woman, ha ha!
I’ll tell you, when it comes to movies like this – and there were an awful lot of them in the years following this one, let me assure you! – I always enjoy the part before the killings, where the characters are just hanging out and doing their thing! And these babysitters are a pretty likeable bunch, real classic 70s gals! It’s great that a couple of obviously popular girls hang out with a donkey girlscout like Jamie Lee Curtis! Ha ha, and John Carpenter sure was lucky to find her too, because who else could have pulled off saying “Well kiddo, I thought you outgrew superstition” to herself! Very few!
I like to think that if I was in high school with Laurie Strode, I would have taken her out on a date, not like that Ben Tramer! He obviously didn’t know a good thing when he saw it, and anyway, didn’t he get totaled in Halloween II? I think he did, ha ha! So I could have been the one if only I’d been there! And another thing, isn’t Annie a peach? She was great, even if she was the kind of girl who would babysit for the sort of people who do their laundry in a shed! And then the way she got stuck in the window was maybe not so believable, but it was pretty cute! She’s such a laid back gal, and she does funny jokes as well, like when she says “I have a place for that,” or, about her cynical cop of a father, “He shouts, too!”
Of course what everyone remembers from the movie is the scenes of Michael attacking Laurie in the house, and those are pretty darn good! I’ve seen this movie so many times I can’t even remember what my reaction was the first time I saw it, but I like to think I was right in there appreciating the suspense! The scenes where Michael’s white mask just melts out of the darkness are creepy no matter how many times you see them, though!
A lot of people give this movie some guff because it’s not very gory! Well, the sequel made up for that a little bit, and anyway, I never missed the gore, not really! Sure, a little bit of tomato paste and some Special Makeup Effects might have been nice, but when you get the great performances, the nice photography and the fine direction, what more do you want, really! Mr. Donald Pleasance, who once essayed the role of Blofeld in You Only Live Twice, was excellent as the grump of a doctor who wanted to keep Michael locked away forever and always!
Anyway, these are a pretty scattershot bunch of observations, because after all everyone else has reviewed this movie too, but it’s always fun to watch and to think about, which I do just about every Halloween! I don’t even mind that it was shot in Los Angeles in the summer instead of Illinois in the fall, because they do get some dried leaves and denuded trees in there, and there’s only occasionally a palm tree or bit of California architecture lurking in the deep background! I award this marvelous horror picture four post-coital beers served up by glasses guys in sheets! Ha ha!