It’s Spooky Season: John Carpenter’s “Halloween”

Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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6 Responses

  1. jason says:

    I love the movie. It’s incredibly creepy, and Carpenter managed to fudge a lot of details because he did other things right. Watching the movie when I was younger, I never really noticed that it was clearly filmed in the spring or summer, as all the leaves are green. In the various “making of” shows that I’ve watched, the cast and crew mention that they had something like two bags of leaves to use.
    But it doesn’t matter because, as you said, the movie works. I think part of the way the movie was kept prominent is that it’s easy to show on regular television, as there’s not much material to be censored. The first time I saw it was a showing on television, and it still scared the crap out of me.Report

    • Sam Wilkinson in reply to jason says:

      @jason Question: Is your last name Voorhees? Followup Question: If it isn’t, can it be?Report

      • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

        @jason But more seriously, yes! There is so much fudging around the corners to make the movie work – including the palm trees and the mountains in the background – but none of it matters, because it ends up working so well.

        There is an argument to be made that Halloween benefits from the same thing that so many other introductory pieces of art benefit from, which is the lack of resources that necessitates the creativity necessary to make the thing go regardless.Report

        • jason in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

          I agree. Carpenter and crew made it work, focusing on a simple story.

          (another point–the outside lockers and schoolrooms are pretty clearly California and not Illinois).

          I do get Voorhees memes from FB friends whenever the 13th falls on a Friday.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    My friend Pat loves horror movies. We had a Halloween movie night several years ago. He selected Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloweeen. I selected M by Fritz Lang. Pat’s response was “Damn You Lee, this is real scary not fake scary.”Report

  3. This is an excellent essay.

    I agree with you that American audiences demand exposition and explanation – whether it’s movies or real-life horrors – when there may be none. Japanese are much more accepting of ambiguity. Just look at mainstream success of Studio Ghibli, for instance.

    Stephen King wrote about this in 1982: