FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Nov 9, 2019

BLOODvember Day 9: HALLOWEEN (1978)

I've seen Halloween so damn many times that I practically have every moment memorized, and it's been, like, four dogs' ages since it remotely scared me. I appreciate it so much that I almost don't appreciate it, you know? Like yeah yeah, Halloween's a favorite, Michael Myers whatever. I'm always going to cite it, but I sort of take it for granted, I guess.

That's not to say that I don't want to talk about it, because I do–especially considering the news that Kyle Richards will be returning as Lindsay Wallace in the next Halloween, which I refuse to call Halloween Kills because that's the stupidest title I've ever seen. I could talk about Kyle Richards getting bangs for the movie all day!

But when my mind goes to Halloween '78 these days, my thoughts immediately turn to Laurie, Lynda, and Annie, walking down the street after school, complaining about homework and teasing each other. Or maybe it's Annie and Laurie in the car, getting high and listening to Blue Oyster Cult. Michael Myers is almost secondary, an afterthought, lingering at the edges of my memories...which is kind of perfect, really, considering that throughout the film he's constantly lingering at the edges. He lurks like a motherfucker! Behind a corner or a hedge or a bedsheet on the clothesline, he's there and when you look back he's gone. Sometimes the characters (Laurie, mostly) spot him, but mostly he's only seen by us, standing in the background, just watching. It's what makes the movie so dang intense: we're aware of him, but no one else is. We know he's going to strike–it's a slasher movie, after all–but we don't know when.

One scene I love combines all of it: the lurking, one of the girls and her Debra Hill dialogue, and Kyle Richards's bangs, and that's the laundry room scene.

Annie goes to the detached laundry room to wash her pants, and Michael is there. He's at the door, he's at the window, he's everywhere. Annie is alone and vulnerable. She locks herself in and Lindsay, inside watching The Thing from Another World on TV, can't hear her calling for help. Why does Michael bide his time instead of killing Annie right then and there? Who can say why he does anything? He's a real creep!


CashBailey said...

I didn't see HALLOWEEN until I was about 14. I just never came across it at any of the video stores I had growing up. But one day a new one opened up and it had stuff I had only read about but was dying to see, like HALLOWEEN, DAWN OF THE DEAD and Argento's TENEBRAE.

Even on a crappy pan-and-scan VHS this shot chilled me to the bone. Nowadays people see this movie as quaint and boring, but back then I was totally ("Totally!") on the wavelength of the people who sat in the cinema and had the crap scared out of them.

Astroboymn said...

For some reason the laundry room scene is the scariest scene of all (or rather WAS, the first dozen x times I saw it). Annie has no idea Michael is like, right behind the door, heavy breathing, but we do and it was just nerve-wracking waiting for the ax (well, knife in this case) to fall.