They don’t really get much better than Halloween. The more times I watch this horror masterpiece from John Carpenter, the more I fall in love with it. Carpenter proves that you don’t need a large budget (just $320,000 on this one, and $20,000 was for Donald Pleasence alone), lots of blood, or virtually any special effects to create a wonderfully effective horror film.
The biggest kernel I took away from this most recent viewing is just how absolutely brilliant Donald Pleasence is as Dr. Sam Loomis. Yes, he brings the element of camp to the film, but he is so damn sincere about it that it doesn’t feel campy. Virtually every line the man delivers can be looked at as a classic line in horror history. Without his passion for the character, Loomis would be nothing.
Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, and Nancy Kyes – the three leading babysitters – are the perfect blend of beauty and vulnerability. Curtis aside, the acting isn’t award-worthy, but it doesn’t need to be: I believe these girls as teenage babysitters in a small town, and that’s good enough. Also, the way “The Shape” (Michael) towers over them, even with his skinny figure, is remarkable.
Whenever I watch Halloween, I immediately want to run out and make a movie myself. Carpenter is an inspiration for not only his vision, but his ability to make something out of nothing. His score proves that music is just as important as what is shown on the screen, and his incredible eye for screen composition does nothing but add to the viewer’s tension. Halloween is one of the greatest horror films ever made, and might be – just may be – my favorite movie of all-time.