By Nupur Kudapkar
As a longtime horror fan who gets scared easily, I had high expectations for the classic horror movie, Halloween. Although it has certain elements that prove genius for the time, I see why people think it is so scary.
The film proved terrifying for a plethora of reasons such as the classic score, the director John Carpenter, and of course, Michael Myers himself. The score of Halloween added the element of thrill and suspense to the film. Carpenter created the score on his own and has been praised internationally for his usage of five-four time. He did this to expose the audience to a sense of unease and set them on edge since five-four time sounds strange. The score that Carpenter produced changed the shape of thriller and horror films as we know it. Not only did Carpenter implore his amusing score, but he also made the movie terrifying through his use of camera angles. Anyone who likes horror knows how crucial the foregrounds are to the film, they allow the filming camera to establish the situation, then pan the camera to one side, and as it pans around something unexpected looms up in the foreground. Within the film, there are many examples of Michael Myers looming in the background unbeknownst to the characters. Lastly, the star of the movie, Michael Myers, truly made this film spooky for some viewers. When creating the face of horror for a movie such as Halloween proves difficult especially when the character looms in the background rather than talking and interacting with the other characters. Carpenter covered Michael Myers’ face in a seemingly expressionless mask, and due to this, he became the shape of horror to the characters.
Although the film proved terrifying for some, I in particular did not find it scary and rather boring towards the end since there was not a lack of screen violence and the shape of Michael Myers. I don’t know if this is because of my exposure to modern horror films but I do acknowledge that for its time the movie proved terrifying. I feel like horror movies prove especially disturbing when the killer is shown committing the act of violence. Yet on Halloween, this was rarely shown, the violence was kept to a minimum and was often done off-camera while the character screamed. When the camera went back to the character, they were dead. Since all the characters died towards the end, it became a bit boring when all I was seeing was him stalking the characters and minute up to when Michael Myers came up to his victims but then the killing itself was never truly shown, only the dead bodies after. Another aspect of the film I didn’t quite appreciate is the fact that in the ending Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) tried to kill Michael Myers three times before succeeding. It became quite frustrating when she tried to kill him but he just kept getting up, so I begged the question (in my mind), Why doesn’t she make sure that he’s dead??. Michael Myers himself did not prove quite as terrifying as hoped since all he did was loom in the background and never did anything quite psychologically thrilling. All I got from the movie leading up to his killings was him driving by in a car a few times past the main characters and appearing in front of them. His actions proved more creepy than thrilling or scary, leading me not to be scared at all.
Today’s horror movies have instilled an expectation of gruesomeness. Modern horror movies have desensitized the younger generation since they are used to more gore, darker twists, and better special effects. Although Halloween was revolutionary for its time, I believe that it does not hold up to today’s modern standards.