About a week ago, give or take an hour, Sparkles noted that Scorcese's Casino was one of those things; you know, the stuff that you once thought cool, but now couldn't bear to look at, even if beer goggles suitably distorted your perception. Actually, he preceded that comment with the infuriating utterance of 'Fuck Casino' to which I responded something along the lines of 'You're right, many things seemed cool when I was younger, like Radiohead, but I can see that they really suck now.' This comment was met with extensive silence. I proceeded to note how lame John Carpenter's -seminal work- Halloween was, given the power of hindsight.
We're not dorks, but let's just say that had I been entirely serious in my assertion, there is little doubt that the Forbot would have flown into an incalculable rage, and we may have come to blows.*
Having said all that, I took it upon myself to watch the extended edition of Halloween and, to be candid, it still is a fantastic example of horrific cinema. I do acknowledge the veracity of Sparkles' point about some things being less enthralling as you get older and, furthermore, I partially retract my slanderous statement about Carpenter's film; not completely, of course, as the film does have its quirks, especially when considering the extended edition.
Before going any further, a bit of explanation is necessary. The extended edition of Halloween was the product of two influences, the first of which being the advent of Halloween II. The aforementioned sequel, looming on the horizon like a rabid, bloodthirsty stepchild, demanded some additional explication to validate its existence, and Carpenter, not wanting to alienate a film of which he penned the initial script, felt obligated to insert some extra material into the original. The second reason behind the additional sequences lie with the television network that had paid some four million dollars for broadcast rights. The network required that Halloween take up, commercials included, a two-hour slot of time, and Carpenter felt pressured to inject filler space. I won't hold a grudge against the director for this unfortunate set of circumstances, but I won't be overly kind to them either.
The following list of thoughts spewed forth as I watched the film. Some of my qualms stem from the injected material, some do not. Take that as you will.
(film time) 0:57 Nancy Loomis as Annie, PJ Soles as Lynda. To be honest, as a lad I had a bit of a crush on these two ladies, albeit for different reasons. I thought Loomis was cute, and Soles, well, she had the sexpot feel to her. Even so, you would think that Carpenter could have found some way to put Adrienne Barbeau into the film, possibly as a hot mom. I don't think that would be asking too much, really.
3:04-5:10 Michael's sister and some guy go upstairs to have sex, and it's over in roughly two minutes, which includes the time it took for the couple to traverse the steps. Some folks are fast, but...
7:01-10:53 Doctor Loomis discusses Myers with his peers. The scene itself isn't too shabby, but check out that meeting room (pictured at the top of this post). Holy fuck. Pure fucking seventies, and not in a classic, More than a Feeling way. The tables -chairs, drapes, actors- belong in the Don Mueang International Aiport, not here.
15:36 Michael leaps over the back of the station wagon. No problem here, although the uptempo bleeping sounds that accompany the act could have been omitted with no loss to the film whatsoever. In fact, cartoonish sound effects actually hinder an otherwise suspenseful moment.
16:23 For a guy that has been pretending to be catatonic for years and years, Myers sure knows how to drive a car.
22:40 Laurie Strode becomes unsettled by the appearance of a strange, unknown station wagon parked outside her high school. It's 1978, and there is a station wagon parked around a high school. Yes, very strange indeed.
22:50 Dr. Loomis makes a phone call from a phone booth by the side of a road, and then proceeds to discover an abandoned car, which tips him off to further details of Michael's escape. Him calling from that precise phone booth, which just happens to be near the abandoned truck. What are the odds of that?
28:28 Annie shouts 'Speed kills!' toward the station wagon that is driving into the distance. The wagon stops. Apparently, Myers can hear some girl shout (and I use that word loosely) a meaningless phrase from a distance of thirty meters away.
30:00 Okay. William Shatner wants to take Laurie out on a date?
33:30 Laurie looks out the window and sees a shape by the clothesline. The camera goes back to Laurie, who never happens to look away from the window. The camera goes back to the yard, and the shape is gone. I understand the concept of what Carpenter was trying to achieve, but as it stands, the shape must have, literally, vanished into thin air. I shit you not.
36:00 Lynda bursts through the door of Laurie's house, noting that some strange man has been following her. She then proceeds to crack numerous jokes, and asks to borrow Laurie's silk blouse. What the hell is wrong with her? Imagine if I came into Sparkles' apartment, raving about how some scary person had been chasing me, and within thirty seconds, I started saying things like 'Hey. Let's play some Nintendo DS' or 'Can I wear that one pair of jeans you have? The pair that makes my ass look hot'.
39:23 I totally want Annie's car. Totally.
45:36 I know you've been smoking joints for hours, ladies, but that goddamn station wagon has been following you for the whole time. Myers not only drives a car, he proficiently tails another car without being noticed. I owe you a Coke, Forbes.
47:30 Sheriff Brackett hypothesizes that the carcass of a deceased, eviscerated animal might have been a dog, or a skunk; one of the two. I'm neither a zoologist, nor a pathologist, but my diagnosis is that Brackett is mildly retarded.
50:13 Laser Man? Neutron Man? Tarantula Man? I know you're intentionally being facetious about comics, Carpenter, but that's pushing the envelope of daft presentation.
59:10 Jolly Time!
1:01:37 I don't care how much the announcer hams it up: no single person, ever, considered Nyby's 1951 atrocity, The Thing (from Another Planet) to be terrifying, let alone having a terrifying conclusion. Carpenter surely knew this to be true, so I grant him bonus points for being cheeky.
Lynda: Let's look for a note.
Boyfriend Bob: Let's don't.
Let's don't? I can see why you get the girls like Lynda, Bob, and why I get stuck with a bowl of ramen** every night.
1:12:02 There's a lit Jack-o-lantern in the bedroom where Lynda and Bob make love. Seriously.
1:16:10 Now Lynda has a nail clipper. Odd timing, honestly, and I'll just presume that she took that out of...her pocket?
1:20:06 Dr. Loomis finally notices the station wagon parked in the neighborhood, even though he's been standing around for an extended period of time. I can deal with that, since it helps the film reach its climax.
1:28:38 Laurie calls for help, and pounds on a neighbor's door. The porch light turns on, the neighbor looks out the window, and the resident decides to close the blinds and turn off the light. Actually, I like this part, as it implies an unwillingness on the part of people to help even their neighbors when something crazy happens, which has more than a granule of truth to it. Still, lady at the window: what the fuck is your problem?
1:33:30 Myers can't easily break through a flimsy closet door? It's made out of cardboard, at best.
1:36:40 The additional scene of Loomis trying to stop Myers with something akin to a 2x4 was going more than a bit overboard.
1:40:32 'The filmmaker gratefully acknowledges the likeness of William Shatner and the contribution of KB Toys, Inc.' Odd. I wonder if the producers of the Hunt for Red October gratefully acknowledged the Cold War, too.
Nonsensical complaints aside, I love this movie, although not as much as I adore Big Trouble in Little China. That's another story, for another pair of jeans.
** Yeah, my dick goes in there.