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Halloween: An Example of Horror as a Genre

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1624 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Horror has always been a fascinating genre. One of the many reasons people are fascinated with horror films is because it leaves them with feelings of excitement, terror and being thrilled. The audience of horror films is often engaged with watching violence. John Carpenter is a filmmaker. He is best known for his association with horror, action and science genres. The films that he is best known for is Halloween. Halloween is a slasher movie which is about an about a man named Michael Myers who killed his older sister and has been sent to a mental institution. He then escapes from the mental institution and goes back to the neighborhood he grew up in Haddonfield, Illinois.   When Michael reaches the town, he starts to terrorize it by following teenagers. Halloween is an example of a horror movie because it notices the threat that is upon the society. 

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The real purpose of this horror film is to explore the outrageous behavior of Michael Myers who is portrayed as a monstrous child who has been sexually corrupted as a child and leads him to victimize the town’s teenagers. The middle-class neighborhood is known for their values to repress any evil doings or thought. Halloween serves as a reminder that we need to remain watchful of the people around.    

  Halloween is one of the greatest horror films. Robin Wood’s interpretation of Halloween as a horror film is that it is an outlet for others to endure repressed and abnormal impulses. Belton reasons that horror genres discover the relationship of themselves and others. Halloween is an example of these features by making it essential for Michael Myers to be a “sexual deviant” whose premature behavior grows with him till adulthood after witnessing his sister having sex with her boyfriend.

In the film, the characters all grew up in Haddonfield, Illinois which seems like a small town that appears to be safe from evil eyes. Everyone knows each other and appears to be safe until Michael Myers returns homes. Michael was a monster since he was a child. He killed his naked sister after witnessing her having sex with her boyfriend. His parents sent him away to a hospital so that he can one day get better. Carpenter shows us a scene of Michael hiding in a bush following the girls on their way home. Only Laurie is able to see snippets of him and remains watchful while her friends tease her about not having a boyfriend and scarring another one away.

On Halloween night Laurie keeps noticing that someone was watching her but does not know who because they would disappear before she could alert someone. On Halloween night the town is shown how wild teenage behaviors can get. Throughout the night the film shows us that Annie and Lynda talking about sex and smoking cigarettes. On that night both Laurie and Annie have to babysit. Annie and Lynda want to use babysitting for a place they can spend the night with their boyfriends for sexual intentions. Laurie is then left babysitting Annie’s kid too and enjoys spending time with them. She does not engage in these behaviors and is known as a bookworm. Temporarily, Dr. Loomis notifying the police about Michael Myers and they begin to search for him before the killing starts. John Carpenter uses the fears in the 1970s to show that you that evil is lurking around us.

 For example, John Carpenter uses the scenes when Annie is about to leave to her boyfriend’s house and is in the car when she gets killed by Michael, also Lynda gets killed by Michael after having sex with her boyfriend. This shows that if you engage in illicit behavior than bad things will happen to you. If Annie had been more observing she would have noticed that her car was open when it was locked before. If she was not determined to visit her boyfriend the would have been safe. If Lynda was not focused on having sex she would have realized that Annie was dead and a dangerous man was lurking in the house watching them.

 Laurie Strode is known as the final girl because she was the survivor of a horrific incident. Laurie Strode is the only character to survive and was able to catch a glimpse of Michael throughout the film. She was able to unmask him and it was the first time the audience was able to see his face. She was a book smart girl and was focused on her education compared to her friends.   Her friends were the type of girls who loved to smoke and talk about having   sex.  Laurie’s survival is a form of feminist empowerment because she was able to defend herself and keep the children safe from harm.  She is resourceful and vigilant she was the only one able to see Michael Myers and was able to be prepared for what was to come. In the film, she was thoughtful and used needled to stab her assailant and went upstairs to protect the children that she was babysitting.  Some critics argue that she is powerless because she was rescued by Dr. Loomis.  They believe that Dr. Loomis needed to be there in order for to be rescued and saved. Dr. Loomis shot Michael six times and was able to protect Laurie. She couldn’t protect herself and had to rely on help to come. We hear her saying that Michael really was the Bogeyman and the doctor responding by saying yes, he really is.    

 Halloween uses descriptive storytelling with the use of his camera and sound. Throughout the movie, he uses sounds to create tension and suspense. When Myers was outside c Laurie windows the phone kept ringing creating a lot of tension. It turns out it was Annie on the phone call to ask if Laurie needed a ride. The music informs us that something wicked is about to happen or if someone is going to die.     

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Carpenter wisely uses camera shots and movement to show us that Michael could be anywhere. At the beginning of the film, Carpenter uses a pan shot through holes to show us Judith’s clothes on the ground to her naked body before she is killed. Throughout the film, we Carpenter takes shots of him breathing loudly at the house.  He does this so no one can know where the sound is coming from.  When Michael was first introduced on screen, we could only see from the neck down. This shows that he was not meant to be seen in public and is on the run. It shows how dangerous he is.  

The key term used in Halloween is “I saw the Bogeyman”( Cumbow, Robert C) Tommy kept telling Laurie that the Bogeyman was outside but Laurie did not believe him insisting that the Bogeyman is not real. Laurie tells Tommy that the Bogeyman does not exist. It turns out that Tommy was referring to Michael as the bogeyman. When Laurie thinks she has killed Michael, she tells Tommy who then responds saying that the Bogeyman could not be killed.  In the end, Laurie comes to a conclusion the Michael was the bogeyman she says “It was the Bogeyman!” and the doctor replies “As a matter of fact, it was.” (Cumbow, Robert C) Laurie sees Michael as dangerous and frightening.

 Michael Myers is portrayed concealing his identity. We do not get to see his real identity because he wears a white mask. This confirms that he has hidden his identity to fulfill his fantasies of horror. The only bit left of his childhood is his hair which suggests that he is the same Michael as a child but all grown up.  The killer Michael Myers survives multiple gun wounds, stabs and has fallen from a second- story window and was able to escape the night. This shows that no one is ever safe and that Michael is waiting for his next kill. No one can hide from evil.

    All in all, John Carpenter uses the antagonist to represent an evil being that cannot be controlled by anyone. In the movie, Michael is seen breaking out of a mental institution and returning to the first place he has committed murder.  he is in town he starts to stock three teenagers Laurie, Annie, and Lynda. He waits till he can get them at a vulnerable place and time to kill them, while Dr.  Loomis and the police are looking for him. At the last moments, we realize that he is not dead and is still alive making us feel unsteady. John Carpenter uses this to show us that everywhere we go we have to remain alert because no one is safe. This is a reason why some of us like to watch horror movies. We liked to get scared and Halloween has the sense of wickedness and scare too it.


  • Belton, John. “Horror and Science Fiction.” American Cinema/American Culture, 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. 272-295. Print.
  • Connelly, Kelly. “Defeating the Male Monster in Halloween and Halloween H20.” Journal of Popular Film and Television, 35.1. 12-21. Print.
  • Cumbow, Robert C. “It Was the Bogeyman.” Order in the Universe: The Films of John Carpenter, Metchuen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1990, pp. 49-76.
  • Ryan, Michael and Douglas Kellner, “Brian DePalma and the Slash and Gash Cycles.” Camera Politica: The Politics and Ideology of Contemporary Hollywood Film. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988. 185-193. Print.
  • Tellote, J.P. “Through a Pumpkin’s Eye: The Reflexive Nature of Horror.” Literature Film Quarterly. 10. 3. 139-149. Print.


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