John Carpenter's "Halloween" changed the rules of horror filmmaking when it was released 35 years ago today, taking cues from Hitchcock's "Psycho" and shaping the "slasher" movie as we now know it.
The film about masked killer Michael Myers's holiday rampage in a sleepy Illinois suburb is recognized as bona fide classic, and generally considered one of the most frightening movies of all time. Of course, the voting body for many of the lists that "Halloween" (which Anchor Bay is celebrating with a 35th anniversary Blu-ray) tops remembers when the film opened in theaters, or discovered it on VHS in the '80s or on DVD in the '90s.
What about for younger generations who have witnessed horror's dramatic evolution in the decades since? Do the film's shock tactics still work on an audience accustomed to more advanced effects, bloodier, gorier murders, and more sadistically deranged "torture porn" villains? Just how much as the film "aged" since its 1978 release? Simply put, does it still hold up today?
We showed the film to a group of 10 college-aged viewers from around the country who had never seen Carpenter's original before, and then compiled their reactions on the film.
The general consensus? "Halloween" just didn't do it for most of our Millennial subjects in the scare department. In response to an overarching question asking to rate the film's "scariness" on a scale of 1-10, the film registered a meager 5.4 rating. The highest single rating it got? A 7.5. The lowest, a 2.
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I'm not surprised by this, but I'm still enraged by it. Oh well.
3 DAYS UNTIL HALLOWEEN!