John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) just might be the mother of all slasher movies. It launched forty years of knock offs and copycat horror movies that don’t even get close to Halloween’s terrifying brilliance. The premise of the film is simple enough but disturbing, beginning with a six-year-old Michael Myers, who brutally murders his older sister and is subsequently sent away and locked up in mental hospital. But, and you know there is always a but, he escapes fifteen years later to menace a group of teenage girls on Halloween in the same small town, on the same street, that he killed his sister. But as the killing starts, he doesn’t count on Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the film’s surprisingly resilient but completely terrified heroine, being the thorn in his side.
It is in the final scenes of Halloween, where we find Laurie Strode desperately trying to survive, after being attacked and stabbed in her friend’s house, across the street from the Doyle’s residence where she was babysitting their kids. As she runs for her life back to the Doyle’s house, she is again attacked by Michael inside the house, but manages to strike him with a long knitting needle in the neck. He falls and we all including Laurie assume he is dead. When she finds the kids under her care totally terrified upstairs, she tries to reassure them that she has killed him. But when Tommy, who is under her care says, “You can’t kill the bogey man”, all of our greatest fears as an audience are realised when Michael suddenly reappears, as if resurrected, behind Laurie. Instinctively Laurie quickly grabs the kids and hide them behind a safe door and then runs to hide herself in a bedroom. Michael, of course, slowly chases after her and once inside the bedroom Laurie is hiding in, realises she cowering in the closet.
It’s difficult not to spoil too much about the scene but I will say that the whole closet sequences is absolutely gut-wrenching, especially as Laurie awaits for Michael to burst through the slat doors of the closet. But as Michael appears to struggle with trying to open the slat doors, it only prolongs Laurie’s feeling of deep dread. Finally when he does burst through, his menacing appearance looms over a terrified Laurie who must take action to save herself.
Under normal circumstances I would say enjoy the clip here below. But hey, it’s Halloween! By the way, the closet scene doesn’t spoil the movie. There is another unexpected twist, as always, still to come.
Just watched this again last week with my teenage son – he hadn’t seen it but of course knows the mythology. So much to love about the movie and you’re right no slasher movie since has come close to Halloween. Esp like the camera work and how the music heightened the tension/ terror!
There is definitely nothing like 1970s era horror for scare factor value. And that original Halloween movie theme…. iconic!
I just watched this film for the first time about a week ago and this scene was definitely terrifying. *shudder* Michael Meyers is the worst.