Scene 57: In the meantime, Laurie is still bothered by the weird call and the fact that Annie hasn’t gotten back to her. She decides to slow stroll over to the Wallace’s which seems to dark and quiet for Annie and Lynda’s plans of partying.
No one answers to her door buzz, knocking or calling for Lynda and Bob despite his van being parked out front. She walks around to the back yard. There she finds the back door open again, even though we saw Bob close it.
She enters, calling for anyone. She’s about to open the door that led to Bob’s death when she hears a noise, she continues into the living room instead. Still thinking her friends are probably only playing some stupid prank on her, she still doesn’t feel like she can leave until she finds her friends and puts a stop to their mean game.
She wanders the dark house and goes upstairs.
Scene 58: At the end of the hall, single room has a light on through the cracked door. When Laurie opens the door, she finds Annie’s body laid out on the bed with Judith Myers’ headstone.
With a whimper, Laurie falls back against the wall. Her bumping it shifts Bob’s body in the closet which falls, hanging upside down and swinging into view. She screams and throws herself backward against the opposite wall. A cupboard door opens to reveal Lynda.
Laurie screeches and stumbles out into the hallway, where she backs into another wall and stands frozen and crying. Next to her is an open door with the deepest shadow in creation. Michael’s face mask suddenly appears from the shadow and we hear heavy breathing.
Laurie stumbles forward, not seeing him as he steps in behind her and raises the knife. She slashes at her, cutting her arm and sending her flailing over the banister and tumbling down the stairs.
Commentary: That image of Michael appearing out of the dark is fabulous! But more, the image of his taking a step right up behind Laurie is phenomenally tense. This sequence of “finding the bodies” is a little too rushed and looks it by how convenient it is that Laurie repeatedly bumps into walls that are right where her friends’ bodies can pop out… and it also seems like a stretch that Michael would bother hanging Bob upside down in a closet but the immediate aftermath scene with his attacking Laurie is aces.
Scene 59: Laurie lies for a moment nursing her leg at the bottom of the stairs, when she sees Michael standing at the top of them. She gets up and limp-rushes away, only to find the front door stuck closed.
She retreats to the kitchen, locking that door behind her but she finds that a rake has been leaned against the door knobs of the glass doors, so they won’t open either.
She huddles against the glass doors until The Shape’s fist comes through the locked kitchen door and fumbles with the lock. Finally, Laurie breaks the glass doors and pushes the rake out of the way so she can rush out into the night.
Scene 60: Outside, Laurie is screaming for help, but nobody seems to bother coming out at least long enough to tell her to shut the F* up….
She bangs on the next door, where a light is on. The porch light comes on as Laurie continues screaming for help and banging at the door. An old lady checks out the window, sees Laurie on her porch and turns the porch light back off, ignoring her and sending her away.
Commentary: This scene did strike me as a little ridiculous. The woman could’ve at least shouted through the window that she was going to call the police or something. Who would just turn off their porch light, close the blinds and ignore the woman screeching at the top of her lungs on the front stoop -- especially in a town as small and apparently family-orientated as Haddonfield??
This seems really contrived to me to keep Laurie isolated and fighting alone -- I also find it highly suspect that NONE of the neighbors come out to find out what the hell is going on with all of her racket. This part could’ve been handled a lot better with a little thought scripting wise.
Scene 61: Laurie makes it across the street, only to find that she’s lost the house keys in her tumble. Across the way, she sees The Shape just making his way casually around the Wallace house.
She continues to bang and scream at the Doyle door for Tommy to wake up and let her in as Michael continues his stroll across the road toward her. Tommy sleepily lets her in, but is immediately panicked at seeing her state. She orders him upstairs and turns off the lights as she goes for the phone.
She’s finds it’s already dead. Worse though, is that she can hear his heavy breathing indicating that he may have earlier already arranged for a way into the house. A billowy curtain at a doorwall indicates she should be scared crapless.
She ducks down at the sofa and fumbles for a crocheting needle, begging him to please stop. We see Michael stand up from behind the sofa. He stabs at her, but misses while she connects with the needle to the side of his neck. He stumbles back as he yanks it out… all silently. Laurie watches him collapse outside of her view.
Commentary: And what makes this such a terrific sequence is the combination of the acting by Jamie Lee making all kinds of terrorized noise contrasted with The Shape who whether he’s murdering, or getting serious injury is utterly silent, implacable and unknowable.
We’ve had to wade through a lot of “down time” to get here but from the time Laurie makes it into the Wallace house to the end of the movie, this film rocks it.
So, Laurie sees Michael collapse on the other side of the sofa from where she’s crouched. She grabs the butcher knife and moaning, pulls herself up onto the sofa to look for him.
He’s lying, apparently dead, on the carpeting. She collapses back against the sofa, staring at the knife he was going to use on her before tossing it away.
Commentary: It’s become a cliché that the final girl must throw her weapon away when she should be using it, but in this case it’s not so egregious. I find myself forgiving Laurie’s lapse here pretty easily since Jamie Lee’s acting let’s us see Laurie’s utterly exhausted shock. She’s not thinking straight, she believes she’s just killed somebody, and her friends are across the street all dead. I think it’s pretty forgivable for her to not want that knife… HIS KNIFE… in her hands.
Scene 62: Outside, Sam Loomis continues to wander the block looking for signs of Michael’s presence. He’s joined by Sheriff Brackett driving up in the patrol car wondering why he wasn’t still at the Myers’ house. Loomis tells him about the car proving that Michael really is in Haddonfield and close by. He sends the Sheriff to drive around the neighborhood while he continues on foot.
Scene 63: Over at the Doyle’s, Laurie stumbles up the stairs for the kids. She tells the kids that they’re going to take a little walk, but Tommy is afraid to go downstairs because of The Boogeyman. Laurie tells him that she killed him, but Tommy says that she can’t kill The Boogeyman… which proves to be correct, as Michael has followed her upstairs.
She sends the kids into a side bathroom and has them lock the doors. Meanwhile, she opens up the veranda door to trick Michael into thinking she left out that way, while she takes refuge in the closet. She uses a tie to bind the doors shut.
Michael slowly creepers in his casual way down the hallway to the bedroom.
Scene 64: Unfortunately, The Shape doesn’t buy the veranda ruse. He starts trying to get into the closet as Laurie huddles in the corner. As he gets tired of tugging on the door and starts punching his way through the slats, Laurie continues huddling and whimpering.
As Michael tears his way inside, she grabs a wire hanger and unravels the handle of it. She gives it to Michael’s face… maybe even right in the eye, causing him to drop the butcher’s knife.
She grabs this and with a teary grimace, sends it right up into his gut, yanking it out as he falls to the bedroom floor.
Commentary: And I totally raise a power-fist and cheer her on. I fall in love with Laurie Strode right here and adore Jamie Lee Curtis’ acting in this scene. She’s not the kick-ass heroine, she isn’t suddenly a super-soldier, and she doesn’t just blow off that she is fighting for her life with quips or dry-eyed cynicism… she’s a wreck, even as she’s keeping her mind moving on how to fight back and survive and it makes her relatable and more admirable.
Laurie Strode is absolutely one of my favorite final girls, and I’m so glad that in the end she conquers her demon-in-flesh, except for that pills and alcohol nightmare involving some stupid, reality show thing where the nightmare killed her in the beginning and then didn’t let her wake up so she had to keep watching it. Pill & Drunk Nightmares Are The Worst and we’ll not speak of it again.
Scene 65: Laurie gathers herself, and then armed with the large knife in a two handed grip, makes her way out of the closet and around Myers’ prone body on the floor.
Believing that the gut stab killed him, she tosses the knife away again and rushes to the bathroom to gather up the children.
Injured, exhausted and at the end of her adrenaline surge, Laurie sends Tommy and Lindsey out of the house and down the block to a mutual neighbors to make them call the police and get them over there. She collapses against the door jamb.
Commentary: Okay, and this is where I’m going to jump on the fan-wagon in criticizing the character to throwing away the knife again. Where the first time around, I’m totally onboard with her emotional reaction to tossing the weapon that nearly killed her twice away from herself, here after she’s encountered him not-quite-dead after a stab wound to the neck, I just can’t let it slide again. It makes zero sense that the police wouldn’t have to pry that knife from her death grip under these circumstances.
I also don’t like, despite the visuals, having Jaime Lee keeping her back to Michael when she’s basically still in the room with him. It just doesn’t make emotional sense to me that she wouldn’t have her eyes glued to him in shock at this point.
Carpenter really needed to get her away from this door way for this scene to work logically for me. I could see her stumbling with the kids to the foot of the stairs, then have her realize she can’t walk any further and send them off. Then she’d collapse against the wall, squeeze up her eyes tights and sob for her friends. I don’t see her staying in the room with her attacker, one who has already sprung up after she thought she’d killed him, and sit there with her back turned toward him. But of course, this is needed for the ending -- but it’s clearly an action Laurie is taking because the script says so and not because it sensible, human behavior.
Scene 66: We watch Laurie with a growing sense of urgency as she tries to gather her breath again, while Michael lies on the carpet over her shoulder. Of course he sits up, silently and turns his head to look at her.
Commentary: But it’s a testament to how emotionally invested in Laurie that I’ve become over the past 20-ish minutes that I’m actually tense and afraid for her, despite the ridiculousness of the scene’s set up. This movie is prior to the Final Girl phenomena, so it was still possible that Laurie wouldn’t make it out of this in one piece and it would be Sam Loomis that would be the Final Guy Hero taking out the big bad after the girlie-girl gets herself killed off.
And I desperately didn’t want Laurie to die.
Scene 67: Outside, Dr. Loomis sees the kids running off down the block and screaming their little heads off [which apparently nobody bothered to check out either… this block is full of lazy, patient people who will not be bothered no matter what the provocation outside].
Sam look around for the Sheriff while considering going into the house.
Scene 68: Inside, Laurie has regained enough strength to stand up, leaning against the wall. She still refuses to look behind herself.
Michael stands as well and stalks up behind her as she stumbles out into the hallway.
Michael grabs Laurie from behind - she’s spun around - and he starts strangling her to death!
[And yep -- this completely worked on me. I remember muttering at the screen in complete rigidity for Sam Loomis to get off his fucking ass and get into the house to save her, while simultaneously wanting Laurie to kick for all she was worth to Michael’s berries. This scene actually had me sweating under the arms and even now I still feel my heart rate increase when I see him with his hands around her throat.]
As Laurie is being choked out, we see Sam rushing up the stairs. Laurie tears off Michael’s latex mask, distracting him for a moment.
He stares down at the cowering Laurie as he puts the mask back on. In the meantime, Loomis doesn’t even bother calling his name or ordering him away from her. He just points his gun and fires, sending Michael spinning back into the bedroom.
Scene 69: As Laurie sits in a weeping heap in the corner of the hallway, Loomis confronts Michael in the bedroom where he somehow is continuing to stand despite all of his injuries received this evening. Sam keeps shooting, filling his chest full of bullets and sending him falling off the balcony to the yard below.
Scene 70: Laurie, in shock, asks after The Boogeyman and Sam offers that it was he.
Sam goes to the balcony to look down at the monster finally killed, only to find an empty yard. He gets a look of shocked disbelief, before his eyes suddenly say “of course, a gun wouldn’t kill him”… in the meantime, the night is catching up with Laurie again and she collapses into sobs.
Sam looks out into the empty night.
Meanwhile, from the staircase we hear the sounds of heavy breathing which then fills the entire house… and then the whole block….
[And I have a delicious chill down my spine….]
The Good: The theme music written by Carpenter for this film is simple, but memorable and I love the way that it is used (or not) throughout the film. In fact, I like that the incidental music is used sparingly throughout.
I liked the beginning POV throughout the entire opening scene until Michael rushes out into the night, when suddenly we're not in his head anymore, but far away and looking down on him... you could see this as a metaphor for Michael's mind... he's suddenly no longer there and has left just this blank behind.
There is so many scenes in the camera's eye that are really beautifully framed and leave an impression - John has an excellent eye for composition.
Although I like the retcon of Laurie into Michael's sister later, in this film I love that we never get any reasoning for Michael's obsession with Laurie and her friends except that he saw the Strode girl on his family home's front porch. That's it... that was enough to start stalking her.
I really liked the relationship between Laurie and Annie. In fact, I just love Laurie and Annie both.
I really liked also the number of times that we see The Shape hovering threateningly, or passing by our characters who just miss noticing him by simple chance that could've aborted the horror for Laurie and the murders of her friends, if only....
I was really taken with Donald's delivery of his dialog when speaking to Sheriff Brackett in Judith's old bedroom; it was quiet, and too intense and you could see Brackett's wondering if Loomis wasn't a bit too involved in his patient to be objective.
I love almost everything about the Laurie and Michael running battle for survival.
I love how Michael never vocalizes throughout the movie, even when he's being jabbed with knitting needles or stabbed and shot.
The Bad: The sequence of Judith's stabbing was severely let down by some ... uneven... acting.
There is also a problem at the end of this sequence where the pull back from Michael and his parents is held for a comically long time.
I do have a hard time looking past the weird neighbors not bothering to check on a girl screeching her head off in a town as peaceful as Haddonfield is supposed to be.
I'm not a fan of "it's not over" endings and never really have been so I don't like the ending for Michael, a run of the mill psychotic, simply shrugging off killing injuries or the "maybe Michael IS the boogeyman" implication. I loathe endings that are sequel bait [even though Carpenter had no intentions of a sequel in mind].
Other Thoughts: Mentioning the holding shot up there in The Bad? I want to put general pacing here. There is some problematic issues with shots going on too long, focusing for too much runtime on mundane things, and having too little for Sam Loomis to do while tracking Michael down. We also spend too much time on Michael wandering and staring but not actually doing anything of note. This last though is mitigated nicely by the interesting shots of Michael's legs or shoulders... always keeping him from us by a skewed perspective or framing that keeps him just out of reach of really seeing by the audience.
I really wished for some of Nurse Chambers' sarcasm to break up the Sam Loomis searching scenes.
I love these characters and the effort to make sure that they're fully realized people before Michael shows up in their lives, but it's undercut by really going on and on and on with their little dramas that makes the film too long and creates long stretches of - well, not exactly dead space, but really slow pacing with nothing to break up the lack of tension. This is a horror film, after all.
Y'know that confrontation between Michael and Laurie... I could've done without Laurie tossing the knife away the second time and the awkward way she keeps her back to the fallen Michael so she doesn't see that he's not quite dead, again. It's not enough to put in the bad, but I can acknowledge that it's seriously silly.
About that ending: While I hated that the movie doesn't have a proper ending, I have to admit that I really liked the sound of the heavy breathing filling first the hallway and then the entire Doyle house before expanding even further to encompass the Wallace place and the old Myers residence. That was a wonderful, chilling ending.
What we really needed is far more Dr. Sam Loomis ranting after Michael's escape and prognostications of doom, because Donald is fun during these -- but alas, most of the wildness is being saved for the unplanned sequel.
The Score: I love these characters [specifically Annie and Laurie] but I get way too much time with them just going through their day. I love The Shape's stalking, but there are too many scenes of it. I love Dr. Loomis' hints that he may have gotten a little loopy himself, dealing with Michael for so long, but we don't get enough of it.
For every scene that I loved, there is a problem that keeps me from giving this film a higher score. I want to love every minute of it, but can't because of the very long middle sequence when things are hinted at, but is repetitive. Simply put, there isn't enough here for a 90 minute movie, no matter how interesting the directing is.
3.75 out of 5 stars is all I can give this one: And I hate that, because this should be a 4.50 easy.