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November 2, 2010

Movie Review: Halloween (1978)

During this season of holidays and haunting, I was pleasantly reminded of one of the reasons that I began to become a horror movie fanatic and what prompted my own dive into the world of horror. In 1978, I was five years old. I was living with my father, and my stepmother at the time in Frankfurt Germany. As a child, I was very interested in both comic books, and reading in general. I remember crawling into bed with the latest version of Batman, or lingering in the Army Navy surplus store and wandering around the comic book racks trying to decide who to take home until my head spun.


My family traveled a great deal to sometimes out of the way places, so the aspect of sitting around the television set and watching my favorite show usually never happened mainly because there wasn’t any television where we were. But, on this occasion I was being treated to something new and wonderful. I crawled out of bed in hands of fall with the smell of leaves percolating throughout the air in heavy rustic doles.

“We’re going to the movies tonight.”
“Really? Which one?”
“You can pick any movie you like.”

And so, I hunched over my cream of wheat looking through the newspaper trying to decide what show I wanted to see. It was then that I saw the knife going through the air, and the pumpkin. I stared at it for a little while before I said anything. It was different than anything that I had seen before, and my eyes gravitated towards the advertisement.

“I wanta go see this one.”

Everyone shook their heads yes. I was never given boundaries as a child. For at five years old, I was allowed to see my first horror movie Halloween. Night could not have come fast enough for me. The day rambled on, and as I watched the sun loom in the sky I became more and more excited. My stepmother and I said goodbye to my father and drove out towards the Frankfort Air Force Base. It was a long drive from our little remote house to what appeared to be the normal functioning world. I stared out the window, and counted the flecks of rain as they dashed up against the wind shield and hit into the windows on our car. When we arrived, I made my way into the theater with everyone else and picked a seat.

The movie was quiet to begin with, and as I settled into my popcorn and my seat I did not know what was about to happen. It started with only a few voices that vibrated through the dark.

“Watch out. He’s right behind you.”
“Pick up the knife.”
“Run. He’s coming after you.”

But, I was not afraid. I was surrounded by my movie family, who were vigilantly and vigorously trying to protect our heroine. I watched as Michael Myers took over the screen with his presence, and I still wasn’t afraid. I held onto the arms of my seat, and sat encompassed in this bubble of people. No one was going to let anyone harm me. They were going to protect me, just as they had tried to protect the others. I was brought into the movie with the music hitting against my ears, and sliding down my back in small slits of panic. This darkened theater was my own ethereal gate to another world, where I could examine not only fear but fear without rebuttal. I could never get hurt in a horror movie, as I was hurt in real life.

Afterwards, I stumbled out into the crisp and clean air. The snow under my feet felt fresh, and new as if I was reborn and perceiving it for the first time. The lights of the theater grew dim around me, and my eyes waited for Michael to come out of the shadows. I’ve been waiting ever since.

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