It was October 1981. I saw 1978’s Halloween for the first time. I had just turned three years old, 3 weeks prior. The first memory of my life was watching this movie with my dad, because I largely slept through it, I think. It had premiered on NBC that October and I agreed to watch it with him, while my mom and sister were watching some TV movie in another room. It was Dad’s night with the son back in those days and Mom’s night with the daughter in a different room.
I do remember waking up to see, as I now know as a strong female character, Laurie Strode, utterly bereft of some type of ordeal she had just been through. But, in the background, someone with an unmarked face, sat up, looked forward and turned his attention toward her. He stood up, as did she. I immediately ran to the room my mother and sister were in, looking for their comfort, as my dad was asleep.
As I laid with them, I heard it. I heard the gunshots Dr. Loomis was firing off. I heard the breathing. I heard the scary music. I knew Halloween was forever etched in my mind.
It took until I was 13 years old to take in the movie again completely. 10 years after the nightmare I had first experienced in 1981. At this point? I was old enough to see it. I was strong enough to watch it. And I was strong enough to combat the very first fear I felt in life. I fell in love with Halloween. I immediately consumed all the sequels, but I’m not bringing them up here, because there is no point in it. They don’t exist.
40 years later, after the events of the 1978 Babysitter Murders, 2018’s Halloween opens with a pair of Podcasters entering an asylum in which, Michael Myers has been held in captivity for the past four decades. There are ticking clocks in the background, odd behavior from patients there, as the podcasters await to interview their “star.”
It builds complete suspense that has been missing from Halloween movies since the original.
Then, magic begins as the opening credits reveal a dead pumpkin coming back to life as the Halloween theme and credits play.
Things happen that I don’t want to reveal until people have the chance to see the movie. But when the pendulum of the clock swings toward Laurie Strode’s territory, things really get moving.
This film is not all about Curtis’ Laurie Strode fighting Michael the entire time with some weapon. Her tour de force performance comes in the form of her having to live with this ordeal for the last 40 years and suffering from PTSD, a trauma all of our modern-day Veterans know all too well.
But the very backbone of the movie is completely nuanced on Curtis’ performance. The greater thing is that the movie is completely sold in a moment where Karen Strode, Laurie’s daughter, finally rises up to the challenge. Karen is played by Judy Greer, an actress who has long played the background “mom” role in movies like Jurassic World and Ant-Man. Here, she plays the mom role again, but she’s front and center.
Filled with the suspense we haven’t felt in years. The surprises we haven’t seen in decades. Halloween delivers, as a completely merciless thriller.