Tag Archives: Halloween

Monday Movie Mentions #24…

Halloween (1978)

Halloween_(1978)_theatrical_posterHalloween is one of the first mainstream movies to embrace the slasher subgenre of horror, so that can never be taken away from the production. The infamous Michael Myers is a formidable, if sometimes silly, antagonist whose single-minded nature is the driving force behind the movie, and this is of course where Jamie Lee Curtis began to earn her moniker as the scream queen of horror. However, its assured place in history to one side, on its own merits, in 2017, the movie is… well, not particularly great.

Wait a minute, I should walk that back a little. Halloween is not a bad movie. I can imagine it came as quite the shot in the arm when it was released in 1978, but for today’s audience with an attention span as long as a cookie-cutter pop song, used to buckets of gore and viscera on display, it’s just not a particularly engaging or scary one, and for a movie billed as horror, not being scary can’t be a good thing.

Halloween is never boring, but it does move at a very slow and deliberate pace, and it helps if you go into it knowing that. It’s a movie attempting to swim in mostly uncharted waters, so a lot of its various shortcomings can be forgiven under this umbrella. It has a style of presentation that relies on building a tense atmosphere throughout the running time, which it manages quite admirably with a still fantastic soundtrack, as well as a lot of genre tropes that have since become cliche.

Friday Fiction Fixes #23…

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – 1818

MaryShelleyIt’s Halloween weekend, so there’s no better novel to shine a spotlight on than Frankenstein – if not the grandaddy of the gothic horror genre, then it was certainly at the first family picnic. Not only is this story’s status as a dark masterpiece solid and well deserved, but it’s always up there in the discussion for one of the best novels I have ever read.

Mary Shelley published Frankenstein when she was twenty years old. Are you kidding me? Twenty. Just let that sink in. Completing a novel at that age is one thing; writing a very good novel at that age is another; and writing a very good novel in a genre that was still in its infancy when you sat down with your typewriter, is quite amazing!

Frankenstein is a morality tale that as well as being frightening, also has an unexpectedly good sense of humour, thanks to an extremely well developed central character who occasionally finds himself in completely inappropriate situations. The novel also possesses a surprising level of subtlety that I didn’t expect on the way in.

Shelley’s legacy would have been cemented right there, even if she had never written another word. Next year the novel will be two hundred years old, and if you can show me even half a dozen full length horror tales that are better, I’ll not only be very surprised – I’ll probably call you a liar as well.

And yes, we should all know by now…