Halloween: When the Boogie Man Came Home
“I killed him…”
“But you can’t kill the boogie man!”
One of the great “Fun Facts” of Halloween is that it had its premier in of all places, Kansas City, Missouri. As if it were 1978 all over again, I finally was able to experience the terror of Halloween on the big screen, in the heart of Kansas City. How wild! I’ve seen this film many times since I was a kid and with each viewing of it every year around the month of October, I appreciate it more and more. And why wouldn’t you? From that opening point of view shot where we don’t know exactly who we’re supposed to be and finally when we do realize it, we’re already sucked into the story of Michael Meyers and the story of Haddonfield, Illinois.
Halloween over time has lived up to its name in becoming one of the most iconic and important independently financed horror films ever produced. Just think about it. Think how cheaply this was made and look at the massive success that spawned millions of sequels after it. The one particular striking thing I noticed last night with this screening, was the quality of the script. There’s not much going on with it, but in reality everything is going on with it. The script is able to focus in on these kids without being overbearing and having us hate them. We may laugh at some of the shenanigans they do, but once Michael slaughters them, the shock and terror lingers on. We don’t even see adults for the most part. They’re not there to give anybody any warnings on Halloween night of what’s to come and what’s the expect. Sam Loomis is our voice of reason, yet he only warns the sheriff of the possibility Michael is on the attack. He’s too late to even consider saving the day from this monster of a human. Heck, on Halloween night, we don’t even see the two main kiddos going to trick or treat. Carpenter automatically sets us up to want to stay in homes with all the doors and windows locked for fear the Boogey Man will get us.
Once Laurie Strode exits the house, she also exits her innocence. She claims no boys will go out with her because she’s too smart for them. She smokes weed but only under the pressure of her friend. She’s the town’s good girl and well respected among her friends. On her way to the house across the street and up the stairs to discover her friends dead, and Michael waiting for her, she is a girl on her own. She now knows the struggles life can give to her as she has to save her life and the children’s lives from the Boogie Man. She’s attacked by Michael and though she fights back at him, thinking she kills him, she cannot be too hesitant. Carpenter again sets us up in the scenes between Laurie and Michael. There is no telling on what can happen next. And even when Loomis (as I will call it) helps Laurie by shooting at Michael, he misses. By missing and having Michael escape yet again, young Tommy Doyle screaming that you can’t kill the Boogie Man, is all too true.
Halloween is a significant film for the Halloween season. It warns us as to what is out there in life and warns us to pay attention to the details we may not even give a second glance to. The night Michael came home to Haddonfield ended up changing the lives of Laurie Strode and American audiences to witness the terror of a loss of innocence of what can get us in the night.