In the PLP Humanities class we are studying a very interesting topic that I wouldn’t have thought I would be studying in high school. This unit which is called Monster In The Mirror takes us on a journey to help us understand what draws people in society to horror movies. What about these movies interests us and makes us stay? The movie that we were shown first was the classic movie that started the infamous slash era in horror movies. The iconic classic directed by John Carpenter, Halloween.
The movie Halloween does a great job of leaving the viewer with a sense of fear. Michael Myers, who is the killer, has escaped from prison and is back again for more. He was locked up 15 years prior for killing his sister on Halloween night. Michael, who upon his escape, returns back to his childhood home which had been abandon for many years. He becomes infatuated with a girl named Lory. This is where one of the big fears arises. The fact that Michael had no relationship with Lory and knew nothing about her makes it seem like there could be a Michael that is after you. It doesn’t take anything special or you don’t need to have any special relationship to the killer. This was a new concept when the movie first came out because this was just before the first big epidemic of serial killings happened, for example Jeffrey Dahmer. Another factor of why the movie is so scary is the fact that Michael Myers does not die. This monster of a man is invincible in the movie which makes the viewer feel as if there is no end and that they will never be same. This was one of the first movies that started the category of the ‘super-fiend’ killers.
Halloween, as mentioned previously, was a pivotal movie in the horror movie scene. It paved a lot of new paths for different types of horror movies. One category of this was the obscene killings. As a viewer, while watching this movie, you are always left to wonder what is it that connected Michael to Lory and her friends? This makes the viewers wonder what about themselves could connect them with a killer? What is the real reason Michael is attracted to a Lory? The true answer is uncertain, which leaves it up to the viewer to interpret the real answer.
The POV shot has become a staple in not just horror movies but in any type of movie today. The director, John Carpenter, was a major contributor to the success of this shot because of how he used it in this movie. The point of view shot was used very wisely in this movie to help give the the viewer a sense of the monster’s thoughts and feelings. Another type of filmmaking that was used was a part that might get overlooked but is a very crucial resource. Music has a major role that a lot of directors use in horror movies to help set the mood. Sound is one of them thought to be scarier than watching something because the brain uses these sounds and creates its own personal fears and creates its own image of the worst possible scenario.
Some of the different current events that took place around this time period were evident in the film. For example the infamous Milwaukee cannibal or Jeffery Dahmer started to wreak havoc around the same time. 1978 was relevant because it was around that time that the world really got a sense of the first serial killers and the horrific acts that they were committing.
I did some research online about the movie Halloween and it seems to me that this movie is beloved throughout history. The article that I read online was 7 Reasons Why John Carpenter’s Halloween Is One of the Most Beloved Horror Films of All Time. The article listed points I mentioned above such as the director’s excellent use of music to draw the audience in before the big scare. Another great point was up until this time, horror movies always had an ending or a part to help the audience understand a conclusion. This was unlike Halloween where John Carpenter chose to leave a lot of the endings and outcomes to the imagination.
The original book of Frankenstein is considered the earliest version of a type of media relating to horror. The book is what would be considered now to be somewhat of a love story but there are many aspects of these two stories that are the same and many that are different. The two characters in the stories that feel neglected and forgotten about share the same view in terms of lashing back. Michael Myers and the monster both feel as if they are forgotten about and can’t seem to find someone that connects with them. This drives them crazy and causes them to lash out. Another point of similarity is that in their stories both Michael Myers and the monster seem to observe a group or a single character and get attached to them. The observations cause them to become obsessed with the character and the study how they move and what their actions. Some differences are that Michael Myers seems to be killing for the sake of fun, whereas the monster is reacting to an emotion that causes him to lash out.
The story Halloween has frightened men and woman of all ages for over 40 years. The fact that it is still able to have the same effect on people today, after all that time, is nothing short of a magnificent feat of cinematography.