I was around the age of 16/17 when I first watched Halloween. The movie was being shown late night on BBC 2, as part of a season of Saturday night horror films.
While I had heard of Halloween and was vaguely familiar with Michael Myers, at that point in time (the late ’90s) I knew very little about the movie. In fact, my knowledge of horror movies in general was pretty poor at best and was only starting to improve thanks to my interest in Scream (1996), Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the like.
Halloween changed everything – and I mean everything. Watching Halloween (as well as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960)) kick-started a huge fascination with the horror genre which continued with the likes of Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Omen (1976), Child’s Play (1988) and so on.
I distinctly remember that first time I watched Halloween. It was late, I was in bed, I had the TV turned on, and the volume turned down (well, it was late), and I was scared shitless for 90 minutes.
From the opening sequence to that final scene where Michael disappears, I could not take my eyes off the TV screen. The simplicity of the movie, paired up with John Carpenter’s nerve shredding score, had me transfixed.
I remember clearly being terrified as Laurie Strode wandered the streets of Haddonfield, while being stalked by Michael Myers. Of all the scenes in the movie, that is what freaked me out the most as the ‘monster’ was moving around during the day!
DURING THE DAY!
Still to this day whenever I watch Halloween I get creeped out at the sight of Michael Myers walking around Haddonfield in broad daylight, watching and waiting to strike.
There’s also something truly sinister about the scene where Michael is stood in the backyard, amongst a collection of newly washed sheets (see above). It’s casual. It’s natural. It could happen in anyone’s backyard.
Oh sweet lord, it could happen in my backyard!
OK, I don’t have a backyard but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry about this happening one day.
IT COULD HAPPEN!
Anyway, back to the ’90s… a couple of days after I first watched Halloween I ordered the movie on VHS from the Britannia Video Club (remember the Britannia Video Club, kids?). The video was a double-feature with Halloween II (1981) and I watched that damn tape countless times over the next few weeks.
Jeez, I must have worn that tape out, but I couldn’t get enough. This was horror on a scale I simply wasn’t familiar with, but I knew it was something special.
Over the years I upgraded my Halloween tape to DVD and more recently I switched to a HD digital copy. In fact, while typing up this post that digital copy has been playing in the background.
Even after all these years, there’s something about Halloween which really gets under my skin. Always has, always will – it is just so damn scary.
The original Halloween was a game-changer for me as it demonstrated just how good horror could be. I’ll never forget the first time I watched it or how truly scared I was.
If you want to check out the original Halloween for yourself (and if you’ve never seen it, you really should), the movie is currently available on Blu-ray.
Halloween the 40th anniversary edition Blu-ray is available on Amazon UK and includes a bunch of bonus features, including a commentary track from John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis, as well as TV spots, trailers and a featurette.
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