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Old 15th September 2014, 02:23 PM
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Default John Carpenter’s Halloween: Does It Stand The Test of Time?

John Carpenter’s Halloween: Does It Stand The Test of Time?
By Travis Desmond

The title of the article asks the question which hardcore horror fans will roll their eyes at, but consider it from another perspective before you come to the conclusion that we’d all like to be true. What I’m doing here is asking you to consider it from the perspective of either:

1. A fan of horror who has seen modern movies, but never seen the John Carpenter classic.
2. A non-horror fan who was told to watch this movie because it’s a classic.

I realize of course that I’m narrowing the fan base down a bit, but I’d like to get away from the type of fan that I am and likely the person reading this is. I bring this up, because a couple of years ago around Halloween, they re-released the original classic to theaters again. Excited and giddy, I brought my wife who had seen the Rob Zombie Remake and a lot of modern horror (though she doesn’t consider herself a horror fan) hoping that she’d see the greatness of the John Carpenter original. In fact, it was the same scenario for a friend of mine who brought his wife with him as well. To our dismay, both women were considerably underwhelmed by the original. Rather than enjoying the creepy vibe, pacing, atmosphere, and tense nature of the original, they found it boring and not at all scary. Now before you go looking for our lives to lambaste them for their opinions, try to take emotion out of it and think about what it would be like seeing the movie for the first time NOW after having seen all the things we’ve seen since our childhood.

Would Halloween still be the landmark classic that it was at the time if it was released today? Realizing of course that it likely wouldn’t hit the theatres with such a shoestring budget, I just want you to analyze the film in terms of the slow pacing and suspense-heavy scenes that were set forth. Fans would go into this movie with the idea that they’re about to get a violent slasher movie with over the top kills like they are accustomed to rather than the suspenseful movie that was put forth. Many fans might come away from such a movie with the same opinion as our wives, that it was a boring movie and ignore the atmosphere John Carpenter created all together. While we as horror fans who grew up on this movie can enjoy everything the movie was, could we really ask someone to do that if they were seeing the movie for the first time after being desensitized by so many other modern day horror movies?

I truly believe the answer to that question and the question I asked in the article is “no.” As much as I hate to say it, for us horror fans, the movie stands the test of time, but to someone who hasn’t seen it, I’d say it’s unlikely they would understand our love and nostalgia for the movie. Granted, there’s nothing anyone can do to take away from the greatness of the soundtrack, but most fans today would likely fail to see the way it was shot (the shadows, the coolness of the mask, etc…), what they created on a small budget, and the creepiness of a killer with no backstory like Michael Myers was at the time. Again, the movie stands the test of time for ME and for horror fans alike but to modern audiences without the experience of having seen this movie in the 80’s or even the 90’s, I’d have to lean towards the negative.

If you want my personal opinion on the movie and my rating (as well as Vic’s) you’ll have to tune into our episode on Monday September 8th at 9 PM EST! You can listen to the episode LIVE or in our archives. Just find us on Facebook by searching for Travis and Vic's Drunken Horror Adventures!
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Old 15th September 2014, 02:29 PM
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If you read into the hype then no it won't stand to the test of time, but if you watch it in the mind set of it's a 1970's slasher horror film like any other then I think you will enjoy it.
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Old 15th September 2014, 03:36 PM
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Still creeps me out. When he sits up near the end, with JLC in the foreground etc....
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Old 15th September 2014, 03:43 PM
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Halloween is in my top ten films of all time so I might be a tad biased here but I think it's still as affective as it was back then. I think horror fans of all generations can appreciate the suspense and atmosphere of Halloween.
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Old 15th September 2014, 04:10 PM
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I've removed the duplicate thread of this.

As for my thoughts.

Halloween definitely stands the test of time. I still watch it every October and love it every viewing.

My reasons for this are difficult to explain as films like this, Texas Chainsaw, Zombie, The Thing, etc have a certain feel, a certain mojo with them that is impossible to reproduce nowadays. It's almost too simple - lingering camera shots, subtle, yet haunting memorable themes and classic monsters that are now a part of film history and can never be bettered.

If it didn't stand up and nobody watched it then it wouldn't be on tv every year nor would it's sequels. It must always rate highly on the audience appreciation index as well.
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Old 15th September 2014, 04:39 PM
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I took me a few viewings to really get into it, but now I love the film. I also liked HALLOWEEN II
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Old 15th September 2014, 07:03 PM
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Halloween still stands the test of time despite the awful 70s clothes. I still watch it every October 31st, along with my other Halloween fave, Creepshow.
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Old 15th September 2014, 07:11 PM
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I think the fact that horror fans both young and old are still talking about it 36 years after it was first released proves that it has indeed stood the test of in a great many respects. It was also one of the blueprints for the US slasher craze during the '80s, and spawned many sequels and homages.

Plus, it's a film I really like too, which is also a positive!
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Old 15th September 2014, 07:32 PM
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I agree, it's a classic in more ways than one, so many great scenes and one of the best examples of how to use a score to great effect. It's interesting to hear that the film was rejected for distribution sans music!

And, like others have said, I watch this every Halloween, even if I'm out gigging etc, I always sneak a viewing in and have done for years now
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Old 15th September 2014, 09:22 PM
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See I think we're all really biased. I'd love to see a screening of this movie for people who haven't seen it (which is hard to do, but still). I will say this, I showed it to my step-sons and while it didn't scare them at all, they enjoyed it. I dunno. It's interesting to think about how different things are now vs. 1978 when it comes to slasher cinema.
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