Directed by John Carpenter
Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Jamie Lee Curtis is the lead, a bookish, nerdy girl who gets the attention of an escaped psychopath. Mike Myers starts stalking her and her babysitting charge Tommy in a completely unsubtle but fully spooky way. I may have said ‘oh you creeper!!’ a bunch of times.
There are lots of beautiful long shots in this film, which is something I’ve loved in film since I watched all that Hitchcock years and years ago. Blair suggested it was to do with having a fast turnaround for the film and not much budget, bit of which are totally legit reasons for using the long shot.
The seventies clothes are amazing, all these huge chunky platforms, knee socks in yellows and dark colours and high waisted pants and skirts that are back in fashion now. The hair is mostly feathered, although sassy Lynda (my fave character) has a cute curly haired pigtails thing going on. The scenery is beautiful, all American suburbia with big old trees and a porch on every house.
The film riffs off, or possibly was the inspiration for, a number of urban legends my sister told me. The man on top of the car, scratching at the window, the call coming from inside the house, the babysitter in peril, an escaped psychopath on the loose, body of a boy strung up… it’s epic nightmare fuel, and despite the age of the film still intensely spooky and disturbing. Also the mask is creepy, but thankfully (to me) it’s not clowny or ghosty enough to be as terrifying as the masks in Saw or Scream. (I’m still too afraid to watch Scream.)
It’s also the earliest use of ‘Don’t fear the reaper’ by Blue Oyster Cult in a horror film.
Does it make me love the people? Yeah, you see enough at the start of the characters having their ordinary days to care about them and Donald Pleasance as Dr Sam Loomis is amazing. I was rooting for him right from his first scene.
Laurie is an exceptional heroine, resourceful and quick witted. She does everything in her power to protect the kids in her charge and refuses to give up at any time. She attacks the killer with a steel knitting needle, a coathanger and his own knife and although she’s terrified she keeps on trying to win – sending the kids to call for the police and fighting to the last possible moment.
Bechdel test: Oh yeah, pretty early on Laurie, Annie and Lynda talk about homework, what their plans for the night are and who they’re babysitting. Laura and Lynda both also talk to the little girl Lindsey and Laurie answers a question for a woman teacher, so it’s actually pretty great for this.
Tommy Doyle: Laurie, what’s the boogeyman?
Laurie: There’s no such thing.
State of Mind: That was a solid, satisfying movie which didn’t traumatise me badly at all! I feel great! *locks all doors and never opens curtains again*
A neat article on io9 about the Bechdel Test