Thursday, October 31, 2013

Scary Movie Month, Day 31: The Final Chapter


My favorite moment in Halloween isn't a death scene (though "can't I get your ghost, Bob?" is pretty great), it's not a scare, it's not even a line of dialogue, it's the spectacular grin that Loomis gives after he scares the kids off the porch of the Myers house. Donald Pleasence just looks so perfectly pleased and thoroughly full of himself at that moment that it gives me a similar grin every single time.

I can't even tell you how many times I've seen this movie (or how many times I've bought it thanks to a seemingly infinite number of "special edition" releases on various formats) but man, it still works. It's so good I even forgive it the ultimate movie sin of killing a dog on screen (RIP Lester).

From the spare, frightening score to that horrifyingly blank Shatner mask, everything still works. The fact that the focus is on tension rather than gore certainly helps, but it's still a staggering achievement for a movie to still feel tense after countless viewings.

This was my first time watching the new 35th anniversary blu-ray and it's absolutely stunning, easily the best I've ever seen the movie look, maybe the best it's ever looked. It's far from a flawless movie, there's plenty of camera shadows, a puff of Carpenter's cigarette smoke from offscreen, lots of lush greenery for Illinois in the fall, California plates on all the cars, etc....but none of that matters at all. The movie casts a spell and it's exquisitely paced, practically tightening around the audience until we can barely breathe.

Thanks to everyone who's been following my Scary Movie Month ramblings. I've enjoyed writing them and chatting with a bunch of people about all the scary movies I've been watching. 16 of the 31 movies were new-to-me, which is a happy accident and exactly the balance I was hoping for. The only thing I love more than horror movies is discovering new horror movies to love, and I can already tell that a few of those 16 will be entering my rotation. Hell, I already can't wait to watch Dead & Buried again. Of course I don't confine my horror watching to only Scary Movie Month, but 11 months is still gonna be an awfully long wait until next Scary Movie Month.

Maybe I'll watch Halloween II tomorrow so the wait won't seem quite so long. Then Halloween III the next day. Then....

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