Week 34: “Watching John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN on the Big Screen!”
October 29th marks the return of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) to the big screen curtesy of Fathom Events. I previously was able to take advantage of Fathom Events special screening of Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) and Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), so I jumped at the chance to see this film the way it was always meant to be seen.
I’m actually of the school of thought where most films should be experienced on the big screen. I’ve seen both good (The Descent, Crimson Peak, The Babadook) and bad films (Phantoms, Jason X, The Return of Texas Chainsaw Massacre) but regardless of the quality of film I always enjoyed them better on the big screen than when I subsequently viewed them a second time on DVD or television. Halloween has the distinction of being one of those films that if you hadn’t seen when it was originally released then you would love the opportunity to one day do so. I jumped at the chance…as any horror fan would.
Halloween, for me, is one of the best slasher films that has ever been crafted and it would influence every subsequent slasher that would come after it. Not only that, but it would burn the name “John Carpenter” into my subconscious because his name was above the title of the film as with most of his films. Even today the film has an effect on audiences that is undeniable.
When I stepped into the theater the audience was about half way filled with others wanting to catch a glimpse of the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the audience was filled with fans who had never seen the film on the film screen like me. So, in a sense, we were all having a communal experience not seen since ’78 when the film was originally released. I actually had goose bumps when I realized that I was about to finally experience one of my favorite horror films as if was the very first time.
Halloween was special to the horror genre. It was a raw and uncompromising look at pure evil as personified by Michael Myers and hunted down by the altruistic yet jaded Dr. Sam Loomis. Innocence and purity was personified by Laurie Strode who had to overcome pure evil in a night that belonged to the Boogeyman. Most other slasher films relied on gore and a body count whereas there is very little gore and a low body count in this film (unlike subsequent sequels). Carpenter’s film relies on mood, atmosphere and most importantly suspense, which is the saving grace of the film and why it still endured to this day.
Watching the film on the big screen the suspense is still there. The mood is still there. And the atmosphere couldn’t be more terrifying. At ninety-one minutes the film is fast and effective still after all these years. If the film wasn’t enough the night opened with a brief interview with Carpenter himself and a history of the film. It’s great to hear him speak about his film over thirty years later.
Overall, Halloween is still a great film and watching it on the big screen has made the highlight of my theatrical viewing experience of 2015 as I hope it has for everyone else who was able to see this film for the first time or once again.