Friday, December 14, 2012

Carpenter Week: Halloween

Back again all with the continuation of Carpenter week and hey why not touch base on his greatest success rate for a flick that cost all of $320,000?  By helping redefine a scary movie in the slasher genre prior to the success of Friday the 13th, its predecessor brought terror, mystery and horror to the small town of Haddenfield Illinois.  So grab your mask, get your hefty bag for candy and hey let’s stay out til midnight.  This is Halloween.

Spoilers have the blackest eyes…The Devil’s eyes.

With the horror genre of the 70’s, directors and writers went from the absurd to the brutal evil that resides in humanity.  With the draw of Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and follow up Eaten Alive, Bob Clark’s thriller Black Christmas and Lucio Fulci’s monstrous Don’t Torture a Duckling this time line started to reshape Horror as we knew it and made the monsters a bit closer to human with still a primal driving force to kill victims and destroy lives as they knew only how.   John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 gave him the credibility that he needed to start on his filmography that he decided we let’s create a ghost story and flesh it out on the big screen with the working title The Babysitter Murders.  When executive producer Moustapha Akkad hears this title he cautions Carpenter that we don’t want the MPAA (Motion Pictures Association of America) losing their minds over such a title due to how much flack Tobe Hooper received and maybe it was better low key.  With the amount of money and time constraints already there Carpenter decided let’s get this done and over with unaware of the impact this film would have on generations to come.

Our story is about a young man raised in an asylum by the name of Michael Myers (Tony Moran of James at 16, The Waltons, California Fever and The Lucky Break) who after brutally murdering his older sister with a butcher knife, looms in the ward waiting. For 15 years he has remained silent and almost inert that the staff of said hospital doesn’t view him as a threat let alone a risk.  His doctor, Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence of You Only Live Twice, The Great Escape, Dracula 1979, Escape from New York, Alone in the Dark and Prince of Darkness) has urged the head of the mental institution that Michael is not to be taken lightly, is scoffed at and mocked by his higher ups.   As a result, Myers escapes from the institute grounds, steals a car and peels out.    Myers returns to his hometown and proceeds to wreak bloody havoc on the night of Halloween.  That’s right, kids the boogeyman is on your streets.

Good girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis of Prom Night, The Fog, Terror Train, Halloween II, Trading Spaces, A Fish Called Wanda and True Lies) is relegated to babysitting on Halloween night while most of her friends are out partying, engaging in hijinks and of course pre-marital sex.    Watching not only her charge Tommy Doyle but her friend Annie’s (Nancy Kyes of Assault on Precinct 13, The Sea Gypsies, The Fog, Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch) little sister Lindsey so she can have some alone time with her man.  Dr. Loomis desperately trying to get the Sheriff to see the terror that has been unleashed on his town must stop Michael at any cost, even his own life.   A horror classic to be sure and of course one that gets rented over and over for the holiday.  Heck Zombie’s version while with a different spin really tried to make it the homage this film deserved.  

Last tidbit is the mask for Myers is a William Shatner mask from Star Trek: The Motion Picture spray painted white.   Yes, Shatner is the face of evil. Dun dun dun!