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30 October 2014 @ 05:14 pm
Movie Reviewed: Halloween (part 2 of 3)  
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Scene 28: Over at the Myers’ old place, Brackett pulls up with Loomis under the certainty of the doctor that Michael came back home. They find the still warm remains of an animal, which Sam takes as Michael’s dinner. Brackett offers that a man wouldn’t eat a raw animal like that [especially since it looks like it may’ve been a skunk] but Loomis tells him they aren’t dealing with a man.


Scene 29: Upstairs, they visit the room where big sister was killed and Sam slips into Michael’s head for a moment. A piece of the gutter falls loose and smashes the window near him. His response is to immediately pull his gun, ready to shoot.

Sheriff Brackett gives him the stink eye, while Sam has to admit he may look a bit un-doctor-like, being so ready to off his patient like this. The Sheriff observes that Loomis just looks scared and Sam admits to this easily. He tells Brackett about his attempts to treat the boyhood Michael, only to realize after a few years that there isn’t anything behind Myers’ eyes but evil and he’s been fighting to keep him locked away securely ever since.


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Loomis offers to wait for Michael to return to the house while the Sheriff makes himself scarce. It’s unclear if Sam is going bother trying to capture Michael.


Commentary: Donald’s acting in this scene is wonderfully quiet, but intense. But at the same time, he is giving off the vibes of a man who maybe has been involved with Myers a bit too long. But his speech about his history with Michael was very well delivered… a mix of exhaustion and determination to intercept his patient and stop him before he can get started on whatever he’s doing back in Haddonfield.


Scene 30: At the Doyle’s, Laurie is reading King Arthur to Tommy who gets bored. He tells her that he’s not into Arthur anymore, since he discovered and started hiding under the sofa - super hero comic books. He suddenly asks her about the Boogeyman, but the phone rings before she can wonder what brought that up.

It’s Annie.


Scene 31: Over at Lindsey’s, Annie is about to make popcorn when the family dog Lester pushes the pantry door open and comes in. He has a burr in his butt and is barking frantically but Annie takes it as his not liking her [possibly from prior experience?] and complains to Laurie she’s about to be ripped apart by the family dog.


Scene 32: She calls to Lindsey, but the child is engrossed in watching horror movies which I’m pretty sure was supposed to be on the ‘do not do’ list. She doesn’t respond to Annie’s calls to get the dog out of the kitchen. In the meantime, Michael is doing the heavy-breather stalk outside the house.

Michael moves away as the dog gets more insistent, and Lester calms down enough to leave a petrified Annie standing unmolested. Annie tells Laurie that she’s the only person in the world that Lester doesn’t like and she hates him.


Scene 33: In between switching viewpoints between Laurie and Annie, we learn that Annie acted on behalf of Laurie by calling her crush-object Ben Tramer and questioning him about his plans for the dance.

Obviously Laurie is mortified, but Annie is happy because Ben was definitely interested in a date with her friend. Meanwhile, Tommy looks out the window and sees The Shape staring back at him from across the street.


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Commentary: This is such a great image, but it’s actually out of place. You can tell that this shot was from sometime out of continuity with the film, because there are no lights in the Wallace home. This scene must’ve been shot for later, after Annie and Lindsey are both no longer in residence at the house. Even with Lindsey sitting in the dark, hypnotized by her horror movie watching, the kitchen light is on and the house isn’t THAT dark right now.


Scene 34: Tommy immediately rushes to Laurie to get her attention and tell her that the Boogeyman is outside of the house. Naturally when she looks, there isn’t anyone there.


Scene 35: Back with Annie, we hear heavy mask breathing as we watch Annie through the door glass. She’s trying to convince Laurie that she has to meet with Ben and see where it goes, despite her fear of embarrassment. She ends up spilling melted butter on her clothes and tells Laurie she’ll have to call her back.

She whine-shouts to Lindsey for her mother’s robe, but the kid doesn’t hear her at all -- still lost in the horror movie she’s watching.

Annie strips down to her panties and socks before grabbing a spare shirt hanging on the kitchen door with other dry cleaning. From outside, Michael steps forward in a bit too much interest and ends up knocking a hanging planter down, smashing it on the sidewalk and alerting Annie. But she blows it off after a moment of puzzlement.


Scene 36: Outside, Michael returned to the corner of the house, out of view but able to hear Annie complaining inside. From around the house comes Lester, growling. He starts barking at The Shape.


Scene 37: Inside, Annie is sprinkling baking soda on her shirt. She yells to Lindsey that Lester is barking and getting on her nerves, again. A moment later and Lester whines into silence.


Scene 38: Outside, we see Michael’s and Lester’s legs. Lester is being held off the ground, and goes limp -- apparently strangled to death by The Shape.


Scene 39: Over at the Doyle house, Tommy and Laurie have settled in to watch The Thing From Another World [the not-Carpenter remake because that’s still in the future].

Tommy is still hung up on The Boogeyman. Laurie tells him that his bully was just trying to scare him; they end up jack o’ lantern carving.


Commentary: It’s amazing to me that this became such a classic, with so much time dedicated to ‘domestic scenes’ that further characters but don’t actually further the plot. Back in this time period, this would’ve been more acceptable than now when movie pacing is expected to be faster, the deaths more in number and the soundtrack dedicated to making as much noise for jump scares as is possible [which consequently is why they’re no longer scary -- overuse has made all of the noise more nerve-grating in a nails-on-blackboard way than truly scary; movies have become about the ‘startle response’ which has been confused with making a movie scary].

But even now, Halloween remains popular as a classic though I can’t see younger viewers actually enjoying the very slow pacing toward the showdown between Laurie and Michael [Oh, please -- not a spoiler, who do you think is the final girl - Lynda?]. I like the movie, but even I’m wondering what the hell is taking so long and why so much time is being spent on talking, talking, talking about mundane things. I can like characters without seeing every moment of their dull lives played out before me.



Scene 40: Across the street, Annie has to take her clothes out to a dedicated laundry shack to wash them. The door sticks and when she gets in, she also finds that the light bulb is burned out. She sighs at the way her night is turning out.

We see the door bang in the slight breeze and she glances over, but then goes back to finding detergent. When we see the door swaying again, The Shape is standing on the other side of it.


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Annie doesn’t see him, but seems to sense being watched because she starts the usual “hello, who is there” stuff before deciding it’s her imagination. She goes back to washing her one shirt and one pair of pants with enough soap for about three loads.

The door blows shut in the wind, and sticks enough to lock her in… poor, Annie. Fate is not kind… and it seems really petty, too. Annie yells for Lindsey, but since the kid didn’t hear her only a room away, she sure isn’t going to hear her yelling now.

In the house, the phone rings which Annie… somehow… hears. She shouts for Lindsey to answer the phone as she expects it’s the grounded Paul. On the other side of the laundry shack, we see Michael peering in at her back through the opposite window.

Annie whines at herself and cross the little shack to the window we just saw Michael standing at. She crawls out through it.


Scene 41: Inside, Lindsey answers a second call and it is Paul. He asks that she run and get Annie, who Lindsey was listening to, because she did hear that her babysitter was headed toward the laundry shack. Paul sends her off and Lindsey agrees… then hangs up on him [which is awesome].

She jogs out to the laundry shack. Inside Annie has managed to get her foot stuck in the shelving unit at the window and is hanging half-in/half-out of the window.

The situation is resolved in a moment. Annie tries to get Lindsey to promise not to tell anyone about this, but she only gives her a sly smile before walking away. They head back toward the house together.


Scene 42: The phone starts ringing again and Lindsey races ahead. She answers with “She got stuck in the window, she’ll be right here” [which is awesome].

It’s Paul calling back. He informs Annie that his parents left, leaving him to ignore that inconvenient grounding. Meanwhile, the back door has been left ajar [in October… in IL] and we see Michael again skulking like a professional creeper just over her shoulder where she fails to look.


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[But at least she has her wild hair to justify her lack of peripheral awareness.]

Annie and he make plans for her to come and pick him up to bring him back to the Wallace’s… where you’ll remember that Lynda and Bob are supposed to be showing up eventually.


Scene 43: Annie plots to ditch Lindsey at Tommy’s house with Laurie so she can party/sex it up with Paul.


Scene 44: Over at the Doyle house, Annie whines at Laurie so she’ll agree to watch both kids and leave Annie’s night free. Michael continues to creep just out of sight.


Scene 45: Over at the Doyle’s, Laurie has stewed about Annie’s interference in her non-love life and wants her to call Cute-O-Liscious and tell him she was just fooling around but Annie refuses, unless Laurie will watch Lindsey.


Scene 46: Annie goes to the garage only to figure out she doesn’t have her car keys when the door is locked. She goes into the house to retrieve them.

When she returns she grabs the door handle without thinking and the door opens right up -- no longer locked. The windshield is also steamed up… Annie doesn’t notice these hints… alas.

As she puts the key in the ignition, she notices the fogged up windows but it’s too late. Michael grabs her from the back seat and slowly strangles her but not enough to kill her, only terrorize her.


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He then finishes her with a knife slash to the neck.


Commentary: So, we finally have our first on-screen death of somebody associated with Laurie Strode at 54 minutes in. The scene is pretty harrowing for what it is, but unfortunately Nancy gives us one of those goofy-faces-of-death that undercuts the horror of her murder.

But I like that Michael’s killing of her starts off echoing his killing of the dog before he turns to the knife. We’ll see these two modes of murder continuing as Jason hasn’t yet shown us how many different household items can be used to kill somebody. The film doesn’t suffer any for not having each death be by a new implement.

What I like about this film is that we did get so much character work that we actually know these people. Annie was a little smart-assey, but she wasn’t an awful person and it’s a loss to see that Michael’s circling ended as it was destined to… but, really -- even I think that the character build up was stretched to breaking: Again, more scenes of Sam getting more and more manic and Nurse Chambers being pulled into his panic over the course of the film would’ve done wonders for helping us not notice just how long we’ve gone with very little happening on-screen.

It is just amazing that the film hasn’t been left in the dust by now for more flashy fare.



Scene 47: As Annie is dying, the kids are watching This Island Earth. Tommy slips behind a curtain in a [very lame] attempt to scare Lindsey. He spots The Shape carrying the limp body of Annie back into the Wallace house.

He has a panic attack, insisting that the Boogeyman is outside but of course, Michael has already gotten into the Wallace’s and Laurie has had enough of Tommy’s ridiculous fantasies. She warns that if he doesn’t stop this nonsense, she’ll turn off the movies and send him to bed.

Tommy whines about not being believed, but Lindsey offers that she believes him. Laurie looks at the ceiling and half-laughs at herself over how quickly her taking Lindsey’s side in stopping Tommy from scaring her turned to her being the bad guy in the room.


Commentary: I just realized that I haven’t mentioned anything about Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s because Nancy as Annie has really taken more of our attention and she has had a lot more of a personality. By design, Laurie Strode has been presented as painfully shy and goody-two-shoes, often seemingly a doormat to her friends -- though they don’t treat her maliciously.

This is important of course, so that Laurie discovers her inner strength when she really needs it in order to survive. But back to Jamie -- she really is wonderful in this role as the innocent babysitter who recognizes that she’s a bit of a plain-Jane and it too easy to push around. She’s got a sweet smile and a good sense of humor about herself. Annie has gotten the flash, but Laurie is a very likeable heroine and Jamie Lee Curtis does a wonderful job, especially as we move into the final act.



Scene 48: Meanwhile, Loomis is in the wrong place - still hanging out at the Myers, waiting in anticipation for a return that isn’t going to happen. Some kids come along to dare each other to go up to the front door of the local haunt. It happens to be Tommy’s three bullies - though Sam can’t know that and has no reason to care.

One of the bullies is dared to go in, but before he can show his friends he’s not chicken, Sam scares them away by whispering to them from the bushes. He gets an amused grin.

Then he, in turn, is startled by Sheriff Brackett returning to put a hand on his shoulder in silence. The Sheriff is doubting-Thomas of Sam’s insistence that Death Has Come since it’s been a very quiet night apart from the usual Halloween shenanigans. But Sam impresses on him that he watched Michael for 15 years staring at a wall without seeing the wall, just waiting with inhuman patience for this particular night for some unknowable reason.

The Sheriff offers that he’ll stay the night wandering the bushes on just the off chance that Loomis isn’t crazy. He has no idea that his daughter is already a victim.


Scene 49: Over at the Wallace’s, Lynda and Bob finally show up with plans to use one of the beds upstairs for sex [So GROSS… how are they going to explain changing the sheets… and I’m going with that they ARE planning on changing the sheets].

They find the Wallace’s “totally dark!” and empty of Lindsey or Annie.

They find the nearest couch to start making out on, leaving Michael to watch them and presumably having flashbacks to dear Judith.

[Though we never get into Michael’s head, so he really could be utterly blank and empty the way Loomis believes him to be.]


Commentary: Weirdly, we never do see the mentioned Paul - even though he’s apparently close enough to walk over to the Wallace’s if he wasn’t so lazy. You’d think he’d be wondering just where the hell Annie is since she’s supposed to be on her way to pick him up but we never get any more references to him.


Scene 50: Across the street, Laurie, Tommy and Lindsey are performing an impromptu Halloween ritual over the carved o’Lantern [which Laurie did ALL of the work on, and it seems a bit late to bother with carving a pumpkin on the actual only night left to place it out].

Laurie glances across the street where Bob’s van is parked, but otherwise everything seems quiet. She gathers the kids for more moviemarathoning, when the phone rings. This time it’s Lynda looking for Annie, but her mind is put at ease on learning that she’s on her way to grab the errant Paul.


Scene 51: Learning that Lindsey is gone for the night, and ergo they don’t have to be careful - the two immediately head for the random bedroom [presumably the parent’s].

Shortly after the two are rolling around in bed. The phone rings, interrupting Bob’s groove temporarily. When it stops, he takes the phone off the hook and then gets back to business.

[Let’s assume that this was Paul.]


Scene 52: As the two are getting busy, we see Michael’s shadow passing over the wall. Obvs the two don’t sense anyone else in the room with them as they’re too engaged since Bob is nearing end-time.

Afterward, Lynda sends him off to the kitchen to grab a beer for her.


Commentary: This sex scene is so ridiculous. It’s awfully truncated, Lynda has just got to be faking, and it’s just awkward and badly framed with Bob looking particularly silly thrusting - apparently - into the mattress rather than hitting the target.

With it this badly done, it doesn’t seem like a real commitment was made to it, with the exception of P.J. Soles - who of course gives us a brief nipple shot. It was really unnecessary and clumsy.



Scene 53: Bob wanders into the kitchen where he notices that the back door is still ajar. He assumes that Annie and Paul snuck in and is setting him up for a joke. We hear heavy breathing, and Bob finds The Shape.

He’s pinned to the wall with casual, unrushed speed by Michael who them takes a moment to curiously stare at Bob as he bleeds to death, pinned off the floor by a butcher’s knife.


Commentary: I’ve never really liked this scene. The lead up to Bob’s murder is good, and I like the actual death and the way that Michael just watches Bob die in shock. But then we get the shot of Bob hanging by the knife through his chest and the logistics of that never felt possible to me.

The shot of Bob’s body pinned off the floor always looks fakey [How is Bob’s head not falling forward? How is that knife not pulling out of the wall? How is that knife blade sticking far enough into the wall to pin anything, when a quarter of the blade hasn’t penetrated through Bob’s torso?] and I really wish they’d done something else with it, though I’m willing to admit it does make a striking image.



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Scene 54: Upstairs, Lynda is filing her nails when “Bob” finally returns with a sheet-ghost draped over his head. At first Lynda laughs, but then she’s annoyed that he didn’t bring her beer with him. And then she gets pissy that he’s playing the silent act and carrying the little joke too far to be funny.

She bratz at him that she’s going to call Laurie and forget him. As she’s dialing, Michael strolls up behind her.


Scene 55: Laurie is crocheting when the phone rings. When she picks up, she only hears the sounds of a woman making weird noises. She guesses it’s Annie fooling around, since she was supposed to call Laurie back about the bedtime for Lindsey.

What is really happening is Lynda is being strangled to death with the phone cord [while showing us boobs, because of course]. Laurie is shouting at Annie over teasing her as Lynda dies. Michael picks up the phone and heavy breathes into it.

This freaks her out a bit. She hangs up and goes to the window where she sees the downstairs lights flash on and then off again in quick succession. She dials over to the Wallace’s with no answer.

Unnerved, she goes to check on the kids while wondering how seriously to take the weird call.


Scene 56: Meanwhile, Loomis is still hanging out at the empty Myers. He is antsy at Michael not showing up where he was sure the loon was headed. In frustration, he looks up and down the block and finally notices what he should’ve seen right off the bat… no not the theme song, I’m gonna assume he’s not hearing that… but the parked station wagon from the hospital!

He jogs down the block to check on the car and then looks wildly for any trace of his quarry.



TBC