Sometimes there’s nothing like a good scary movie. Who would have thought that being scared could be so much fun? Let’s face it though. Even better than scary movies are movies that are meant to be scary, but just aren’t. We’ve all had the experience of stifling a giggle during a scene that’s supposed to be dramatic and terrifying.
Perhaps the best of these type of movies is “Halloween”. This horror classic is perhaps the least scary horror film ever made. Yes, it is a classic and was hugely successful (and has inspired several sequels). The thing is, it’s just not scary.
What is it that stops “Halloween” from being scary?
Perhaps the biggest thing that keeps “Halloween” from having any scare factor is the complete lack of suspense. For me, the build up is normally scarier than the actual event. This is why “X-Files”, for example, was so successful. It used darkened sets and small glimpses to suggest danger. Once you actually saw the alien/monster/conspirator, the suspense and scariness disappeared. In “Halloween” the anticipation is missing.
I can remember watching “Halloween” as a teenager with my siblings. My little sister commented that all Laurie (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) had to do to stay safe was run when she started to hear the organ music. Every time the bad guy (Myers, played by Tony Moran) is coming after someone, bad organ music swells in the background. The effect is more humorous than funny (and the style seems to be stolen from “Jaws”, which had been released three years previously). Yes, music can be used to enhance a mood. Some of the soundtrack is actually creepy. It just isn’t scary with the obvious theme song for Myers.
The other problem is the acting. I have nothing against any of these actors in other movies. But with the story and script they were given to work with, let’s just say that the acting barely qualifies as acting. For example, look at the scene when Laurie (Curtis) is on the phone. Twirling your hair around and around does not make you an innocent teenager. It just makes you annoying. (Ditto on her laugh in that scene). The only thing funnier than the original are the spoofs where she answers the phone to a character from another film.
Let’s face it though. Stalking around in a white mask is hardly a subtle acting performance. Myers to me just isn’t convincing. Of course of all of the town he picks the cute teenagers. When is a Hollywood psycho killer going to start stalking the teens with severe acne or weight problems? No, he picks Laurie and her friends. And of course her father is also the sheriff. She couldn’t have had a dad who was an accountant or something. Her dad is a policeman who joins in the hunt for Myers in an attempt to save his daughter’s life. Will they succeed? (From the amount of sequels, even if you’ve never seen “Halloween” you could figure out that both the victim and killer survive to face each other again.
Is “Halloween” scary? Absolutely not. Is it worth watching? Surprisingly, yes. It’s still really good entertainment as long as you’re willing to laugh more often than you jump.