I was eight years old when I saw the first television commercial for John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and it was galvanizing. At that age, my horror cinema experience centered mainly around the cadre of Universal monsters, and I loved them, but this was a shot across my bow that I could not ignore. I most likely couldn’t have articulated it at the time, but somewhere in the pit of my stomach I knew this was a bellwether moment. I was in on the ground floor of the next step in horror’s evolution. Of course, I wouldn’t see it for a few more years to verify that, but my instincts were eventually proven correct. My birthday being on October 28th, Halloween has been inextricably intertwined with my life since day one – as a holiday, as an idea, as a way of life. Thanks to John Carpenter, I now had what felt like my very own movie, as well. His film took all the voyeurism, mayhem and dread of terrors past and streamlined it into a potent, merciless new model for my generation. It brought me face to face for the first time with the idea of monolithic, intractable evil. It birthed the definitive Final Girl, an incalculably rich vein of cinematic discussion and debate. And that mask. Oh, that mask. Halloween is the stuff nightmares are made of and an October does not go by in this household without at least one viewing of it. A must!
What you’ll find in this episode: an exploration of the Final Girl concept, how much I hate Annie, driver’s education classes at the sanitarium, how horror has changed in the intervening decades, and not one, but two, Jo Anne Worley references.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out Halloween on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of They Live.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Raw Meat.
The New York Times takes a look at some of our favorite Final Girls.
The definitive home on the web for the masks of Michael Myers.
The Goodreads entry for Men, Women, and Chain Saws, Carol Clover’s excellent book about gender in the modern horror film.