UNITED STATES—Halloween is only a few more days away. While many of us will be taking the kiddies trick-or-treating or attending festive parties, many of us will still attempt to get in at least a few scary movies before the family-oriented holiday season kicks off. If you turn on the tube right now, there is a bevy, and I mean a bevy of horror flicks to choose from. You have the Michael Myers saga, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Chucky and a ton of others horror icons looking to deliver some scares.
This raises a question that has been heavily debated for years. What is the scariest film of all-time? Yeah, that is not an easy question to answer. For many it all begins with Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” I mean I’ve been dying to see a filmmaker craft a film nowadays with a black-and-white element. For many, the film was scary when it was released back in 1960, but nowadays it’s more so the twist in the flick that has so many talking, especially if you haven’t heard about the twist.
Others pinpoint the supernatural element when it comes to crafting scares. One flick ranking at the top is “The Exorcist.” While it’s unlike anything ever seen in cinema history, it’s more dramatic and shocking than it is scary if you ask me. So what are my picks? Is it “Friday the 13th,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Hellraiser,” “The Shining,” “Child’s Play,” I mean the list can go on and on. The film that till this day that still delivers the scares in my opinion is John Carpenter’s 1978 classic “Halloween.”
Yes, “Halloween” ranks high on many people’s list when it comes to fear. Just a tidbit, I was watching the classic last week in a dark room and about 20 minutes into the film I decided to turn on the lights and stop watching. Was I scared, slightly, but at the same time I just wanted to ensure I didn’t have any nightmares for the night.
The premise is quite simple; a masked killer stalks a babysitter and her friends on Halloween night. This is a formula that was beaten to death by a series of horror flicks in the 1980s that gave rise to the horror genre. What is worse is the fact that those movies had no element of originality at all.
“Halloween” has a level of simplicity and character development that runs throughout the flick. We have Jamie Lee Curtis who is impeccable in her performance of heroine Laurie Strode. She senses something off in the very beginning of the movie and that dread carries on throughout the film until the climax.
We have the incredible Donald Pleasance portraying Dr. Samuel Loomis. Loomis is that character who the audience knows will take a bullet to stop the menacing Michael Myers. There are so many occasions where he comes close to coming face-to-face with this evil, but is slightly a few seconds too late.
The reason “Halloween” is the scariest movie of all-time is because of two things: Michael Myers and John’ Carpenter’s creepy score. Yep, that music alone might be the best score I’ve EVER heard in cinematic history. The movie starts with that creepy tone and it carries on throughout the movie to heighten the level of suspense and dread for the audience.
The icing on the cake is our villain Michael Myers. We get a tinge of his psyche in the opening sequence where 6-year-old Michael fatally stabs his sister. He’s then locked away in a mental institution for nearly 15 years, when one rainy night he escapes and heads back home to Haddonfield.
Once home he begins to stalk the residents of this quiet town, and soon fixates his horror on Laurie Strode and her friends. We also have the element that the killer is no dummy he carefully stages situations to catch his prey, heck he even teases the kids in the movie to call his bluff and let the adults know about his existence.
The ending of “Halloween” is classic; the villain is shot multiple times and appears very much dead. The audience soon realizes Michael is still alive and kicking. This is a movie that ends where the villain is not banished away, something that is all too common in most flicks. All I can say is if there is one flick that you must watch to get a great scare its “Halloween.” Be certain to turn off the lights, but let’s face it how many of us can actually do that?