Halloween: A Timeless Terror
37 years later, the horror classic can still spook new and returning viewers
I remember distinctly a moment when I was seven-years old.
It was a Saturday afternoon and my parents walked me down to the local video as part of our movie night ritual — but I could tell that day was special.
They picked out an old VHS of a film by John Carpenter called Halloween — a low-budget horror movie from the 1970s. I was oblivious to what I was about to see, but I became a new seven-year old that day.
In the 37 years since its release, Halloween has developed into a horror classic that spawned many sequels and remakes, and has retained a loyal fan base over the years. It also features the debut-acting role for the original scream queen: Jamie Lee Curtis.
The story follows the demented Michael Myers who has returned to Haddonfield to terrorize the local teens on Halloween, 15 years after murdering his sister.
What makes this film a classic at Halloween can be credited to its haunting score or terrifying imagery — but its real defining element is that its themes still resonate to this day. Looking out the window, thinking you see someone watching you. Feeling followed as you aimlessly walk home with your friends. The paranoia as you put the kids to sleep at your weekly babysitting job. The story remains relevant to teen audiences. It reminds them that their mindless sex and substance abuse can kill them.
Years later, Halloween still sends shivers up my spine each time I watch it. The film contains little to no nudity or gore, compared to contemporary horror that relies heavily on gore and sex to attract customers.
It has become iconic given that many TV shows and movies, like this year’s Scream Queens, pay homage to it as the original “slasher” film. Even little children today fear Michael Myers and dress as him on Halloween.
If you are looking for a good movie to enjoy this spooky season, curl up with a blanket and a good copy of John Carpenter’s Halloween. I watch it as a tradition each year on Halloween and I owe my love for horror films to Carpenter, Myers and Curtis.
In the wise words of Sheriff Brackett: “it’s Halloween; everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”