In class we have been discussing and dissecting the movie Halloween to go along with our horror unit. Most importantly in this post I will be emphasizing on the continuity and change, as well as a break down of the real horror in the movie.
The horror in Halloween is represented in may ways, however I think the concept that makes it so terrifying is the idea of the unstoppable and the monster itself. Late into the movie we find out that Micheal Myers is unable to be stopped by Laurie. Specifically, when Laurie’s attacks Myers with the sewing needle, the audience and Laurie both find out together that Myers is unstoppable in other words, cannot be killed. This concept is terrifying due to the fact that the viewer will never get the release of being able to feel safe again. This is represented at the final scene when Laurie and viewers believe Myers is dead but look back and he has disappeared. This plants an idea in the audiences heads that he is still out there and makes you wonder, will I be the next victim?
Another concept that contributes to the horror in Halloween is the appearance and the slow and stalk like movements of Micheal Myers. Throughout the movie you always have the unnerving feeling that he is stalking you. The other factor that makes the movie so terrifying in how simplistic the monster is and the expressionless mask that covers his face. The fact that the monster is just a human wearing a mask, captures the viewer with the thought that anyone could be a psycho killer. In a way the more simplistic the monster is, more realistic the story and monster may seem.
You may wondering why does he kills these innocent people? The motivations for his killings are pretty murky but when you start to delve into his backstory, you can see that Myers has been neglected in the past by his family and doctors. The fact that the Myers was sent to a mental hospital and never got a treatment, gave him the feeling of neglect of his family. This would motivate him by wanting revenge or trying to disrupt happy families.
In many movies you just think of the story line and the acting of the characters however, Halloween uses unique camera techniques (POV shots) that enhance the horror in the movie. The way the camera is used enables the audience to have perspectives of both Myers and Laurie. You get to see through the lenses of both characters which allows the audience to have a better understanding of the characters and perspectives. Moreover, from having the camera following under the mask and through the eyes of the Myers, gives the illusion that he is watching you. The other camera technique is by filming a panorama of the surrounding with the monster out of sight. This creates the uncertainty of where Myers is lurking and when he will next attack, “he seems to slip right past in the background of several scenes, watching characters who rarely take notice that they’re being watched”(The British Library).
The victims of Myers murders were coincidentally related to gender and promiscuous activities, from looking back into the 70’s was an era where women’s power started to creep up.
In every horror movie there is always a reason for choosing a specific topic. By researching the time period gives you a backstory of what the movie may have been based off. For Halloween, I believe it is commenting on the freedom women have because of the birth control that was invented late 60’s. Suddenly women had more freedom which many men and people of the older generation opposed this new creation. Back to my point before, Myers murdered the women when they were taking part in promiscuous activity. Therefore, Myers is reflecting and portraying the many of men’s opinions in the 70’s of the thought that women now have more freedom since birth control was invented.
To go along with our horror unit we have been reading the story of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This gave us a perspective of what horror was like back in the 1817. From reading the novel and watching more recent horror movies, there are many correlations and differences between the two.
During the time period Frankenstein was written was among a new discovery of electricity and the idea of bringing back the dead. With that in mind, Frankenstein is all about creating a destructive human like creature and bringing back the dead. In both movies the monsters aren’t out of the ordinary crazy creatures, they are both humans the only difference being one is dead and one is alive but the concept is still there. The comment on society in both movies is along the lines of acceptance and being accepted in society. The creature in Frankenstein and Micheal Myers both experience neglect by society which is what influences their killings.
Furthermore I found the movie a lot more appealing than the book and this is due to the pacing. Frankenstein took more time into exploring the characters and the setting where as in Halloween the first scene is a murder which already intensifies the movie. Frankenstein is significantly more reflective, for example when the creature looks at his reflection vs Myers, the creature has more emotion where as Myers doesn’t delve into his emotions. In Frankenstein you definitely get a better backstory of all the characters and understand their motivations unlike Halloween where there isn’t much backstory of Myers and why he is targeting all these innocent people. However, we don’t see the same suspension and intensity in Frankenstein as we do in Halloween.
Overall I think that it is fair to say that Frankenstein was the first story that influenced horror today. Also in combination Halloween has guided the horror film industry with it’s unique techniques that make the movie truly a horror film.
Chosen Article citation:
“Mary Shelley – Author of Frankenstein.” The British Library, The British Library, 15 Jan. 2014, www.bl.uk/people/mary-shelley.