Friday, April 22, 2011

30 Day Horror Challenge: Day 30

There are many horror films that I would consider to be favorites. Many of them are already on this list. Others didn't make the list for whatever reason. One film that does deserve a special mention is Incubus from 1965. It is a horror film that stars William Shatner and does demonstrate what a good actor he can be, when not being campy. To create an other-worldly feeling for the film, the movie is done entirely in the universal language of Esperanto. The director forbid any dubbing for foreign markets and the movie was considered to be lost for many years. In 2001, a restored print was made from a vault find with French subtitles. There was really no place on this list for it, but I think everyone should see the film once.

As for my favorite horror film... everything was pointed in one direction. There are many movies that I revisit regularly, but only one tops the list indefinitely. It is a film that I consider to be as close to perfection as a horror movie can become. All the elements fell into place and a juggernaut was eventually launched. There have been a few that have come close to this film and a few times it has been almost equaled, but never surpassed.

Your favorite horror film of all time.
Halloween (1978)

What made Halloween so frightening was that there was no rational explanation for Michael Myers behavior. He was a good kid who one day decided to kill his sister, while his parents were at a party. There was no reason for the killing. It just happened. The thing that I both liked and disliked about the remake was the back story for Michael's behavior. It took away the mystery and made the character a little less scary.

A thousand and one movies have imitated Halloween, but there is no substitute for the original 1978 film. It's such a simplistic story, but that simple story makes the impact of what's on the screen stand out and excel past the basic plot.

The actors chosen to portray each character was right on the money. I can't imagine anyone else playing Dr. Loomis than Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis was absolute perfection as Laurie Strode. The actors playing the kids and teenagers felt genuine and natural. That goes a long way.

No one will ever duplicate the gait of Nick Castle as the Shape. Every nuance, every gesture, was brilliant. He was able to convey a childlike curiosity, a soulless killer and a frightened man who needs to hide behind a mask, all rolled into one. The choices he made defined the character of Michael Myers and everyone since has failed to imitate him in precisely the same way.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the film is the original score by director John Carpenter. It is now a staple of every Halloween celebration, but without it, this film would not have the same feeling of uneasiness to it. It is the most important element in the film. It ties everything together and makes it work.

I can respect the original line of Halloween films because it is the only set of films to have a precise timeline for each movie. Characters age properly and everything that came before is acknowledged in some way, up until H2O. Even that stuck to the timeline fairly well. The sixth installment could have been better and the bootlegged "Producer's Cut" is proof of that. Sequels aside, this is the best film in the entire Halloween line and everything begins here. Watch often and have fun with it.

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