As I said when I reviewed 2018's Halloween, I don't really "get" the attraction of this franchise (barring the standalone, batshit crazy Halloween III: Season of The Witch).
I guess I prefer my slashers to be of a supernatural bent, such as the demonic Freddy or the undead Jason.
However, this year I thought I'd give it another go, as I've only seen the original once and - again, except for Season of The Witch - I didn't see any of the sequels until 1998's Halloween: H20, which I have vague memories of reviewing for the newspaper I was working for at the time.
Kicking off where the franchise began with John Carpenter's 1978 Halloween, I have to say that - upon only my second viewing - I still don't understand why this movie is so lauded, beyond the fact that it pretty much launched the slasher sub-genre of horror into the mainstream.
Clearly it established many of the tropes we came to associate with - in my opinion - the far more interesting slasher movies that followed, from the unstoppable antagonist to the horde of horny, one-dimensional victims the killer has to hack through to get to the "final girl".
At age six Michael Myers stabbed his 17-year-old sister (Sandy Johnson) to death when she opted to have sex with her boyfriend instead of babysitting Michael. The child was then sent to a mental hospital where he stayed for 15 years... until he escaped in 1978.
His doctor, Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance), paints a picture of Myers as a hollow shell, sitting mutely staring at the walls of his prison, for all that time. And yet somehow - and this point is even raised, but then brushed aside - in that time, under those circumstances, he has learned to drive.
Myers steals a car and heads to his home town of Haddonfield - stopping only to kill a tow truck driver and take his overalls.
Arriving in Haddonfield on the anniversary of the first murder, and wearing a white William Shatner mask, Michael (Tony Moran) starts lurking behind bushes, and cruising the streets in his stolen car.
His attention - I think - is caught by virtuous bookworm, and professional babysitter, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis in his first feature film), and on Halloween night he attacks a group of Laurie's schoolfriends who are supposedly babysitting over the road from where she is looking after eight-year-old Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews).
Having discovered that the gravestone of Michael's original victim has been taken, Loomis tracked Michael to Haddonfield and enlisted sheriff Brackett (Charles Cyphers), the father of one of Laurie's friends, in his hunt for the murderous escapee.
When Laurie goes to investigate strange goings-on at the house across the road, she draws the attention of Michael and he follows her back to the house where she has been babysitting.
While a large part of my attention was distracted by Michael's inexplicable driving skills, I don't think I'd appreciated before also how awkward and clumsy he was (knocking things over, dropping his knife etc)
As well as the plentiful Psycho Easter Eggs (the name Sam Loomis, casting Janet Leigh's daughter in the lead etc), I did enjoy the kids watching Howard Hawks' 1952 The Thing from Another World on TV, foreshadowing John Carpenter's incredible remake of that story in 1982 as The Thing.
The iconic music, also by Carpenter, for Halloween is another stand-out element, but otherwise the film does nothing for me.
It takes two-thirds of its 90-minute runtime to get to Michael's kill spree, then, despite the ultimate nebulous sequel-baiting denouement, Laurie's ordeal is resolved by having someone else (Loomis) run in with a gun and empty it into Michael's chest.
So, yes, I get that Michael is supposed to be "unrelatable" and I appreciate that Halloween created the template that other films would follow, it's just I think they did better, and more interesting, things with it.
FILMS WATCHED: 8
NEW TO ME: 5