Halloween, Directed by John Carpenter
Compass International Pictures, October 25, 1978 (US)
Screenplay: John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, and Brian Andrews
Whoever thought that one night a year of witches, ghosts and goblins is fair is a dum-dum!
Picture a young boy named Michael, living in an Illinois suburb with a blond mop of hair teased high but sprayed red, in a white and blue polka dot clown costume, gluttonously picking through a pile of Krackles, Kit Kats, Smarties, M&M’s and 3 Musketeers dumped on his bedroom floor thinking those thoughts. A separate mound of unwanted goodies lies pushed to his side. The image is stolen from my past.
Now, imagine the same young boy a scant few years older, scrambling around his bedroom frantically searching for every stray quarter lost behind his dresser, tossed on a surface or tucked in any pocket into which he can stuff his fingers. The change is collected for placement in a book-sized folding cardboard coin holder. Nearly every slot on either page of the organizer has a silver George Washington pressed into its circular placeholder. The loot has a purpose; it is bribe money. Tree leaves outside are autumnal browns, yellows, reds and oranges. A pumpkin sits on a neighbor’s porch.
The word was out. Theatres were playing the scariest movie ever made, a movie called Halloween. And it was not for kids.
Michael snuck into his mother’s bedroom and positioned the filled book on her pillow with a note:
Ten dollars. His treat.
In the morning, to much disappointment, Michael was told no. The movie was for adults.
“But, Mom. The movie is about Halloween! Halloween is for kids!” he cried.
“We can go see anything else you want,” she offered.
“I don’t wanna see anything else!”
The pleading tactic, which usually worked, continued without much effect. Michael worried that the movie would end its run, before he got his way.
In a desperate attempt, Michael approached his mother face-to-face, like a grown-up, a few days later with outstretched arms. Cupped in his juvenile hands was more change. He upped the ante with popcorn and a Coke to further entice her. They left for the theatre the following night.
He carries the experience with him to this day. The sight of a young boy also named Michael in a clown outfit on Halloween night wielding a bloodied knife living in a town named Haddonfield, Illinois (Haddonfield had to be close to his own hometown!) terrified him to the bone. The remaining eighty minutes of the film, leaving no doubt that the boogeyman exists, rattled him to the core.
Lifetimes are filled with experiences, all too many of them forgotten. Halloween is not frivolous. It is unforgettable, and without knowing it, Michael, the one who persuaded his mother to take him to see the most terrifying movie ever made, got his wish in more than one way that fall night in the theatre. He now experiences Halloween every day of the year.