The Poll Poll is only open for another week, so keep those votes coming in. Currently there is a tie between Imaginary Numbers and Candy. I don’t want to exercise my tie-breaking vote, but I will if I have to. Also, if there is a tie I might just make a poll about Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter or the Mars rovers.
In the spirit of Halloween, I watched Halloween last week. It falls into the category of Old Movies that Rock (old movies, by my definition, are movies that have been around long enough to inspire 8 or 9 sequels and a remake). Here’s my mini-review of Halloween, a movie that each of you, either separately or together, should watch before you die.
Wes Craven is a pretty awesome storyteller. He has done thrillers (Red Eye), psychological horror (Last House on the Left), monster movies (Nightmare on Elm Street, The Thing), satire (Scream), and slasher movies (this one). He makes movies that become bigger than just a film to see on a Friday night. They become part of the culture.
Part of the reason I want to see these movies is because I know the cultural reference but not the place where it originated. Is this what The Simpsons has done to us? We know so much about culture from the jokes made about it, but not from experiencing it firsthand. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing necessarily, it’s just a thing.
A masked guy kills babysitters on Halloween night. There’s the story for you in one sentence. It’s the details that make this movie, though. The scene in which you see the escaped lunatics milling around in the rain at night, lit only by a car’s headlights? Terrifying. The fact that Michael Myers seems to be somehow superhuman? That bit could have been overdone by other directors, or simply seen as careless filmmaking. Here, however, it serves to enhance the killer’s reputation. Halloween is told like a campfire story, exaggerations and all.
I can see why the studio wanted to continue the story, but I’m not interested in seeing the sequels. I love the insulated feeling of this movie; sequels generally broaden the canvas. It would dull the horror. I also like the ambiguity of the ending. I like the intentionally unexplained details, pieces left for the audience to work out long after the movie is over. It implies a bigger story without boring us with it.
One piece of advice a writing professor gave me was that the author of a work must meet the audience halfway. The author doesn’t force-feed the audience, but wants to give enough to sustain. I picture a mother bird feeding her babies. The image makes me laugh, because, according to the analogy, the story is regurgitated food that the audience devours. I’m digressing.
I was pleasantly surprised by Halloween (picture me sipping tea and exclaiming to my bridge partners “How lovely! He hacks up the first babysitter, then strangles the second!”). Seriously, though, I thought it was well-made. Hurray for scary movies.