Right around this time every year, stepping outside becomes more of a scarf situation than a t-shirt one, and the Grizzly Peak-residing families spend hours adorning their professionally trimmed trees with little ghosts and bats with battery-powered eyes. Halloween is just around the corner, but this year, we can expect the ghouls and spirits to be wearing masks as they haunt us from a six-foot distance. This pumpkin-spice garnished holiday is traditionally spent going door to door for candy, but this year, we have to consider alternatives. And what better option than to stay home with a blanket and to watch the perfect Halloween movie?
When choosing what movie to watch on this night of sugar-high induced fear, there are several factors to take into account. First of all, it is imperative you know your audience. Are you going to be staying home with your little brother? If so, you may want to consider Kenny Ortega’s Hocus Pocus, or other movies better sorted for younger audiences. Alternatively, films like The Blair Witch Project or Nightmare on Elm Street might be more appropriate for an evening spent with friends. But, what if you want a little bit of both? A good scare with an easy to follow plot line? Have no fear — or rather do, as it’s Halloween — the perfect movie is here.
John Carpenter’s Halloween is the quintessential Halloween movie. Set in a small town in Illinois, the film follows teenage babysitter Laurie on a typical autumn day. Kicking the movie off with unmatched suspense, we see her being followed by the indistinct shape of a man as she goes about her evening. She hangs out with her friends and runs some errands, all while misleading jump scares keep the viewer on their toes. The film continues in classic horror-movie style, with a villain who only attacks at nightfall, suspenseful chase scenes and dark shadows on the wall that could be a killer, or a cat. The movie’s end is as gratifyingly gruesome as expected; but that, you’ll have to see for yourself. Besides a little bit of backstory and a couple of side characters, the film seems to omit all that isn’t frightening. And as far as character development is concerned, Halloween’s exceptionally illogical protagonist may not be the best candidate, but her struggles are what adds to the suspense.
More than anything, this movie is a classic. Although it’s claim to fame might be a little tarnished by it’s age and poor production quality, it remains to this day one of the most iconic and renowned Halloween films of all time. Furthermore, what some may call “plot holes” or “unrealistic” only contributes to the comedic aspect of the movie, highlighting the constant screaming and stabbing so hilariously unmatched in it’s senselessness that one may view this movie as a mockery of the horror genre rather than a part of it.
This movie, throughout the years, has inspired articles, a remake, and countless parodies. It is a source of entertainment and critique for people of all ages and levels of understanding in film, and it’s famed soundtrack has become one of the most widely-recognized pieces of “scary music.”
All in all, there is no better time to watch Halloween than on the day of its namesake. It’s appropriate for a wide range of ages — although the covering of eyes is recommended — and isn’t so complex that it doesn’t accommodate for bathroom breaks or the loud unwrapping of candy. Screaming is guaranteed, but I promise it will be followed by laughter, and a couple sighs of relief. A little scary, a little funny, altogether the perfect combination for a night of fun and fright. And if you ever feel yourself on the edge of your seat, as if somebody’s watching you … feel free to call the ghostbusters.