Our movie of the month for October 2018 is obvious enough to almost be embarrassing. But it’s October, and we agreed that it should be a horror movie. We agreed that our selection is one of the best horror films of all time. And we also all agreed that we’re all three pretty excited about the new version of this film coming out later this month.
Often cited as “the first slasher film”, it actually appears on many Internet lists as being the greatest horror film of all time. It put Jamie Lee Curtis on the map. It put John Carpenter on the map (and Greg doesn’t love anybody if he doesn’t love John Carpenter). It has scared the bejeesus out of people since 1978.
Without further ado…
Three Nerds’ selection, October 2018: Halloween (1978)
Who Directed It: John Carpenter
Who Wrote It: John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Who’s In It: Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tony Moran
What does everyone else say about it: Rotten Tomatoes score: 93% (critics), 89% (audience), IMDB user rating: 7.8 (out of 10)
Where you can see it: DVD/Blu-Ray
The Nerds Weigh In
Karen: I’ll admit that horror isn’t really my favorite genre, which depends entirely on the theme. Sci-fi horror? Yep. Psychological horror? Sometimes. Religious horror? Nah, doesn’t appeal to me. Halloween makes my cut, for reasons that are probably the same for everyone; it’s scary as hell but it’s also fun to take that ride. Growing up in small town Illinois, Haddonfield felt a little like home, and that just added an extra layer to the terror. Laurie Strode became a small town warrior of sorts in my eyes through that proximity. I can’t wait to see what she’s got in store for Michael Myers 40 years later. Give him hell, Laurie.
Aaron: I was five years old. Asleep on the living room floor at the babysitter’s house. The babysitter was watching HBO as I slept. I woke up for an unknown reason. The first thing I saw was Mike Myers pushing a woman’s face into a hot tub. He turned the heat up. Eventually, the water was so hot that it burned her face off. I was completely and utterly traumatized by witnessing this. I have since learned that this sequence is actually in Halloween II, but the very thought of Mike Myers (regardless of which installment he appeared in) kept me from ever watching the first one until I was well into my twenties. With the possible exception of that clown doll in Poltergeist, Mike Myers is, for me, the scariest horror film villain of all time. He might have fucked me up for life.
Greg: Carpenter had some not-very-nice words to say about Rob Zombie’s Halloween reboot and its one and only sequel. Carpenter, and others, didn’t care for there being so much backstory to The Shape, which, in a way, weakens the evil behind the mask and lends a sympathy of sorts to it. Carpenter was also not a huge fan of the way-over-the-top violence in the Zombie films. I’m stuck in the middle, between two directors I love and between an original that can’t be beat and a remake that I thought did the original at least a modicum of justice.
Lil Bit O Trivia – Halloween
1. Even though the movie takes place on Halloween night in Illinois, it was actually shot in early spring in southern California. This meant that the filmmaker had to make the area they were filming in look like the Midwest in autumn. To do this, the crew had to buy paper leaves from a decorator, paint them in the desired autumn colors, and then scatter them in the filming locations. To save money, though, after a scene was filmed, the leaves were collected and reused. Over and over and over. Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter note on a DVD audio commentary that the trees in the movie are quite full and green. There are even some shots where you can see palm trees. Have you ever seen a palm tree in Illinois? Neither have we.
2. The 1978 version of Halloween is widely regarded (with some dispute) as the very first slasher movie. The events that unfolded in Haddonfield, Illinois (aka Southern California – see fun fact #1) occurred well before that fateful night at Camp Crystal Lake, and long before anyone fell asleep on Elm Street. 1978 was more than a decade before Ghost Face terrorized a high school and one of those kids from Party of Five. Halloween‘s claim to the title is only disputed by some because Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was made and released four years earlier. The question remains: Is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre really a slasher movie? Or is it solely a dark retelling of somewhat true events? You be the judge, but it sounds way cooler if we say that Halloween is the first slasher movie.
3. John Carpenter the horror director is also John Carpenter the horror fan, and if you watch closely, he pays tribute to one of his favorite horror/science-fiction movies, one which he would later, in fact, remake as his own a few years after Halloween (remade as The Thing in 1982). The original black and white The Thing From Another World (1951) plays on the TV in the background while little Lindsey is alone in the dark before The Shape unleashes real terror.
4. Speaking of Lindsey, the little brunette-haired girl whom Lori Strode is forced to babysit, is somewhat famous today (if you count reality TV stars as famous). Lindsey was played by Kyle Richards, who today is one of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Greg told the other nerds this fact, but he won’t tell them how he knows. . .
5. John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill wrote the movie in only ten days. They filmed it in only twenty. John Carpenter also wrote and recorded the score for the entire movie in. . . wait for it. . . three days. Those three simple notes, when put together as he did, resulted in something almost as terrifying as The Shape itself. Most horror films spend way more time in production (and are not nearly as effective).
What are your thoughts on this film? What would be your pick for the scariest movie of all time? Sound off in the comments!