Movie Review: Halloween (1978)

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here. The final review in my Month of Spooks series. I’ve had fun with it, but as you know, all good things must come to an end (for this year at least, wink wink). So let’s go out with a bang by talking about the movie with the perfect title for this occasion.

Ladies and gentlemen… this is “Halloween”!

Fifteen years after he killed his sister and got sent to a mental hospital, Michael Myers manages to escape, returning to the town of Haddonfield to kill once again. So now we have our slasher plot. And I think it’s actually pretty great. While this is kind of the grandfather of slashers, setting up several of the cliches of the genre, but it also does it with a lot of subtlety, relying more on slow tension-building rather than just jumpscaring the audience every five minutes. It is a slasher… but one with nuance and subtlety as it’s primary ingredients, and that’s why the plot holds up so well here.

The characters in this are likable and interesting. First up we have Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, a high school student who just wants to have a chill and enjoyable halloween night. But as we all know, that takes a bit of a left turn when a certain someone comes to town. She’s a nice, fairly normal, and relatively crafty young woman who I liked following, hoping she would make it. And Curtis is really good in the role. Next we have Donald Pleasence (R.I.P) as Sam Loomis, the doctor who tried helping Michael for years, but ended up giving up in more recent years when he saw that Myers was beyond helping. He knows that Myers has to be taken down, but there’s also remorse behind his eyes, as if he’s sad that he failed at helping Michael, making him a compelling character. And Pleasence is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Nick Castle, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by John Carpenter, and it’s really good. Heavily based in synth, it creates an atmosphere that just oozes suspense and uneasiness. There are a couple of the more typical horror stings that aren’t great when repeated a couple times, but for the most part the score here still holds up very well. And man, that theme is still exquisite.

As you all know, this movie was written (with the help of Debra Hill) and directed by John Carpenter, and he did a great job. Remember how I mentioned that the story relies more on subtlety than on just blatant horror bullshit? Well, that translates to Carpenter’s direction as well. It’s slow, subtle, and generally helps create an eerie vibe that absolutely creeped me out. Adding to that is the cinematography by Dean Cundey, which not only looks great, but also helps sell the almost uncanny vibe of Michael Myers’ stalking.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

So yeah, “Halloween” is still great, 40 years after its release. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Halloween” is a 9,78/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Halloween” is now completed.

The night HE came to my blog.

Movie Review: Escape from New York (1981)

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Raise your hand if you like 1980’s/1990’s action. Okay, now let’s all sit down and relax… good. And while you sit down and relax, let me review a 1980’s action movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Escape from New York”.

The year is 1997 (Hey, the year I was born!) and the USA has gone to shit. Because of ultra high crime-rates, the entire city of New York has been turned into a maximum security prison. Then one night, the US president (Donald Pleasence) crashes into the giant city and gets captured by crazy people. So then a police chief named Hauk (Lee Van Cleef, R.I.P) decides to send in criminal & manly-man Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) into the city to go in and save the president. The idea I personally think is great, turning a familiar environment into a hostile and dark place for the sake of entertainment… genius. Problem is that for some reason I never really felt invested in it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea and the pacing was very good, but I jsut didn’t feel that invested into it. So let me put it like this, the plot was good, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should’ve.

The characters in the movie are colorful, entertaining and Kurt Russell decided to try to do his best Clint Eastwood impression. And you know what? All those factors come together so well that I can’t really criticize it. Sure, it’s cheesy but it is also incredibly fun and entertaining. Kurt Russell in this movie is really good in this movie as the macho manly-man Snake Plissken. Is he cheesy with the Clint Eastwood voice? Yes, but I still enjoyed it a lot. And I can’t help it, whenever I see Lee Van Cleef on screen in a movie I just have to smile… I love that guy. And Ernest Borgnine is a million flavors of fun in this movie as well. Every character in this movie is entertaining and every actor does a great job.

Fun fact: the score for the movie was done by none other than the director, John Carpenter. And it is the typical synth-based sci-fi/thriller soundtrack that you would maybe expect at the time. Not that it’s a bad thing, I did rather enjoy the music in the movie. It fit in very well and was used to really good effect.

Like I said, this movie was directed by John Carpenter who delivered a very well-directed and tense style to the movie. However I feel like the movie could be a little brighter because a large amount of the time it was difficult to see. I’m not saying that it should be really bright and happy and colorful and such, I am just asking for it to be a little brighter so I can see the action going on. That is anotehr thing, the action… it’s fine. Nothing special, it’s fine action.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. Roger Ebert never made a review of it. But it does exist on imdb.com at least and has a score of 7,2/10. Weird, the movie only exists on two of my regular sites…

“Escape from New York” is a decent action movie with a pretty good plot even though I wasn’t very invested in it, it had fun characters, good music and good direction despite being a bit too dark. Time for my final score. *Cough* My final score for “Escape from New York” is an 8,88/10. It is worth buying.
Worth buying

Review of “Escape from New York” is completed.

If you look closely at the plot, you’ll notice that this movie definitely inspired parts of the game “Batman: Arkham City”.