Monday, October 31, 2016

Soul Bossa Nova.



We're finally here at the end of 31 days of horror so thought I'd finish up with this little seen cult classic from 1978.


It was fantastically remade a few years back which you can check out here (don't forget to stay around for the frankly heartwarming comments) but surprisingly I've never reviewed this before.

Hopefully this will persuade a few more people to search this lost gem out as it deserves much more love and acknowledgement than it currently gets.

So without further ado I present....

Halloween (1978).
Dir: John Carpenter.
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Castle, Will Sandin, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Loomis, P. J. Soles, Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews, John Michael Graham and Sandy Johnson.

It's Halloween, everyone's entitled to one good scare.

It's Halloween night 1963 in smalltown Haddonfield, Illinois where Mr and Mrs Myers have left their pretty-lipped 6-year-old son Michael in the care of his older sister Judith whilst they hit the town for an exciting night of apple dunking and bad dancing.

Bored with spending the evening gazing lovingly at himself in the mirror whilst decked in his patented creepy clown costume little Michael decides to go look for his sister in order to have a quick game of Connect 4 before bed but is shocked to find her lying underneath a hunky football stud in the process of putting something in her.

Obviously confused - and a wee bit aroused by all this sweaty thrusting (and who can blame his? As a 10 year old watching this I was bewitched by the button-nosed charms of Sandy Johnson myself) Michael decides that he too would like to stick something in his big sis.

Unfortunately he chooses to use a kitchen knife much to his parents dismay upon their return home.

I mean do you know how much it costs to get cream carpets dry cleaned?

"I've got something to put in you!"


 It's not too surprising then to find that Michael is grounded for a week and loses his TeeVee privileges before being locked up in the world famous (probably) Smith's Grove Sanitarium for mini-mentalists.

Jumping forward 15 years (look it's not One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, no-one is really interested in all that boring psychoanalyst shite and life in a loony bin bollocks - unless you're Rob Zombie that is) and famed head-shrinker, the vaguely Crippin-esque - yet disturbingly cuddly -  Dr Sam Loomis (Pleasence) is heading to the hospital in order to take Michael to a court hearing where he'll be sentenced to life imprisonment on the grounds of being the maddest madman who ever lived.


Seeing as Loomis is a proper psychiatrist with a degree and everything we can't really dispute his findings.


Tho' we can debate whether the skinny fit, beige turtleneck sweater he wears in the TeeVee cut of the movie was really a good look for a man with such pronounced manbreasts for years.

In fact, some of us have already.

Upon arrival at Smith's Grove Loomis is sightly perplexed to see the inmates wandering around the grounds with their arses hanging out and leaps (as much as a portly Englishman can leap) from his car to investigate, discovering too late that the whole thing is a massive ruse perpetrated by Myers in order to affect an escape.

It looks like the by now not so little Michael is heading home to Haddonfield for a wee bit more of that violent stabbing stuff he enjoys so much.


"I love you.....could it be magic?"


Realizing that wandering around town in a polyester gown that ties up the back might not be the best thing for instilling fear in the town's populace (and knowing how cold October gets) Michael - in a blatant attack on the price of car MOT's - kills a local Quick-Fit employee and steals his uniform before driving home to Haddonfield and breaking into one of those pop up Halloween in stores you get in town that sells overpriced rip-off 'Waking Ded' costumes for under a tenner in order to top off his costume with a terrifying mask.

Unfortunately they're all out of horror themed headwear and, with this being 1978 there are no official 'Halloween' movie masks available so Michael must fashion his own from what's available which in this case is a Don Post Bill Shatner mask, probably due to Shatner (or at least Captain Kirk) also being notorious for sticking it in things.

Which to be honest is a pretty scary thing.

Tho' not as scary as the court case between Don Post Studios and Cinema Secrets regarding the aforementioned mask back in 2000.

But I digress.

Inside, well William Shatner's mind obviously.



As October 31st dawns and deciding he's got time to kill (as opposed to teenagers) before the evenings fun begins Micheal decides to spend his time stalking the woolly tight wearing, bush haired babe that is Laurie Strode (Curtis) who has - in a bizarre twist of fate only seen in movies - just dropped off a key the Myers house for her estate agent dad.

Laurie is soon spooked by a shadowy figure and sure that she's being followed by the (future) star of TJ Hooker but her friends Annie (female perfection made flesh Loomis) and Lynda (Soles) reckon that a lack of boyfriend action has affected her brain causing her to fantasize about America's sexiest TeeVee hunk.

Meanwhile Dr. Loomis, being a clever bloke and having read the script, has anticipated that Michael is heading to Haddonfield and arranges to meet with Annie's dad, who just happens to be the Sheriff (Cyphers), in order to get a surveillance watch put on Michael's old home.


Sheriff Brackett thinks that Loomis is talking out of his arse but promises to keep an eye open for any strange folk hanging about the bins looking suspicious.


Which if nothing else means that the director of the fucking awful Halloween 2, Rick Rosenthal, wont be able to cause any mischief.

As night falls the teens - well all except good girl Laurie - are busy trying to re-arrange their babysitting plans in order to have some of 'the sex'.

Annie, being frankly magnificent has already organized dropping off her charge Lindsey Wallace with Laurie - who is spending the night babysitting a large-headed ginger boy in a spacesuit named Tommy (a character who may or may not be important in the sequels, I really can't remember) - before heading over to pick up her boyfriend Paul for a wee bit of fondling and biting on the sofa.

Unfortunately not long  after dropping Lindsey off poor Annie is strangled before getting her throat cut by Michael who's been hiding in the back of her car.

Bastard.

"French Polishers? You may just be able to save my life!"


While playing - a really boring - game of hide-and-seek with Lindsey, Tommy catches a glimpse of Michael carrying Annie's prone yet still really sexy body into the Wallace house, and, being a bit of a freak himself is convinced that he's just seen "The boogeyman".

Laurie tho' is unconvinced.

Having arranged to meet Annie at the Wallace house (they must have a huge sofa) Lynda and her boyfriend, the big binned Bob arrive to find it empty so - as you would - decide to have a shag in Lindsey's parents bed.

It's Ok, it's not like they're in it at the time.

After a few minutes of self conscious thrusting Bob heads downstairs to get some drinks but Michael has been watching and  impales Bob on the wall with what must be the longest kitchen knife known to man.

Go on, rewatch the scene and tell me that's not a wee bit excessive in length for something primarily used to chop carrots.

Anyway, showing that his years institutionalized haven't damped his sense of humour, Michael dons a bedsheet and Bob's glasses in order to give Lynda a good giggle before killing her too which he does by strangling her with a telephone cord (remember then?) whilst she's chatting to Laurie.

Meanwhile back in the cat and mouse bit of the plot, Loomis has come across (well it's a slow night) the car Michael had stolen, confirming his suspicions that his former patient has indeed returned to Haddonfield.






"Hello life savers? You may just be able to polish the French!"
Unsure whether the noises on the phone she heard was Lynda having an orgasm or being murdered (she's had a sheltered life), Laurie heads over to the Wallace house to find out only to find her friends dead. 
Which is nice.
Suddenly dear old Michael pops out from behind the fridge and slashes at our heroine who understandably legs it back to the Doyle house screaming something about the star of The Devil's Rain trying to kill her.
Luckily the door is almost immediately opened by Tommy who, after sitting thru' the Howard Hawks/Christian Nymby version of The Thing From Another World on TeeVee has decided to go talk to this films director about staging a remake.
There's no time for that chat now tho' (or to think what might have happened to Carpenter's career had Manos: The Hand of Fate been on instead) as upon entering the house Laurie picks up both Tommy and Lindsey before running upstairs and hiding in a cupboard. 
With Michael approaching the house and Loomis in hot pursuit the scene is set for a Samhain showdown like no other.
A showdown that will change the course of horror cinema and launch the slasher genre on the world good and proper.



What can you say about Halloween that hasn't been said a thousand times before by proper film types who don't rely on cheap laughs like "Shite In Mah Mooth!" to brighten up their reviews?

Shot for a meager $300,000 over a period of four weeks, the original 'psycho stalks a babysitter' idea came from producer Irwin Yablans and financier Moustapha Akkad who, after viewing Assault on Precinct 13 sought out Carpenter to see if he fancied giving it a shot.

Carpenter, having a wee bit of free time jumped at the chance to not only direct but also to write the script (alongside Debra Hill) as well as compose the music, sowing together the majority of the casts costumes, painting and cutting out the autumn leaves (it was shot in spring) and lending Donald Pleasence his dad's coat.

And all for a pay packet of £18.60.

"Do I make you horny?"



Released on October 25, 1978 (probably I need to check) Halloween went on to make over $70 million worldwide and opened the bloodied floodgates for a slew of imitators and launching the careers of not only Carpenter but Jamie Lee Curtis too as well as giving a career renaissance to dear old Donald Pleasence, who on the back of his work with the director went on to become elected the first non-US born President of The United States in 1981.

But that's another story.

Lean, mean and peachy keen Halloween is still the come to film for anyone wanting to see how to make the ultimate suspense movie, from its pitch perfect performances to it's minimalist soundtrack and unflashy yet stylish direction, Carpenter's first foray into horror has never been matched or equaled and for many of us is why we are horror fans today.

Oh yes and have a thing for spiral permed brunettes in men's shirts.

And for that we salute you sir.

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