A restored and remastered digital print of John Carpenter‘s Halloween will play on big screens across the globe on Halloween night. SpectiCast (an event cinema marketing and distribution company) has joined forces with Compass International Pictures and Trancas International Films to bring Carpenter’s horror classic back to the big screen. The new digital print was created under the supervision of cinematographer Dean Cundey and it’s sure to show-off the film’s glorious anamorphic visuals of Carpenter’s 1978 film. This is the type of horror movie that needs to be a shared cinematic experience on the big screen. Cundey’s cinematographer and Carpenter’s sense of space make this a wonderful movie to look at.
From the panaglide-shot opening, Halloween is all about atmosphere. Carpenter creates tension as we creep through a family home, seeing through the eyes of a young Michal Myers. It’s an iconic moment and it works at setting up the tone of the film perfectly. We then cut to fifteen years later as teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is preparing to babysit on Halloween night. It’s also the night that Myers decides to ‘return home’. Myers escapes from his mental institute, pursued by his psychiatrist, Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasance) – the only man who knows how evil Myers really is.
It’s a simple (and now overused) set-up, but Carpenter and co-writer Debra Hill wring every bit of tension from it. Myers (known as The Shape) is now an iconic horror character, up there with classic Universal Pictures creatures like Dracula and The Wolf-Man. Myers is a fabulous creation – we never see his face (he wears a modified William Shatner Halloween mask), his characterisation is through movement and simply from what Pleasance’s says about him. It’s this simplicity which creates most fear. We can tell that there’s no humanity within him. I’ve always felt that James Cameron lifted a lot from this film for The Terminator – there’s a killing where Myers impales an unlucky teen against a kitchen cabinet which Cameron lifted for Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Carpenter’s film literally shares the same DNA as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (Curtis is the daughter of that film’s star, Janet Leigh). The films deal with psychiatric horror, the killers in both could live in the real world. They are flesh and blood monsters and that’s what makes them terrifying. Psycho and Halloween are also similar in that they imply their violence rather than show it. This makes the audience fill-in the blanks and because of this you believe they are much more gratuitous than they really are. Carpenter’s nerve-tingling scores helps to ramp-up the suspense, again adding another shorthand to modern horror’s lexicon.
Producers Irwin Yablans and Moustapha Akkad hired John Carpenter to direct Halloween off-the-back of his low-budget hit, Assault on Precinct 13 and Carpenter delivered a film with much more depth and nuance than the pair could ever have hoped for. It’s a film that resonated with audiences, leading to sequels and remakes – none of which match the power of the original.
Halloween will be screened in selected Odeon cinemas across the UK and Ireland on 31 October 2014.
For more information on screenings visit Halloween Movies