A Macro reading of John Carpenter's 'Halloween' [film]

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Released in 1978, “Halloween” is definable as a film of the ‘slasher’ sub-genre of horror; not the first of the movement, but unarguably a defining film in the progression of horror as a genre. The film uses many of the conventions of the slasher film, providing viewing pleasure in recognition of such features for a fan of the genre in that they know they are watching the type of film that they enjoy. However, it is the areas in which “Halloween” differs from and redefines aspects of the slasher that afforded the film such profound success (as it is offering something new; a unique selling point for any film), and also caused such profound change within the slasher and within horror as a whole. The film’s opening shows both the conforming to such conventions, and also the new idea that most set “Halloween” apart from similar slasher-type horrors, and had the greatest effect on the wider genre; as the film’s tagline states, horror coming home. One of the first films to use this theme, “Halloween” is set apart in that does so whilst tying in other themes, such as the idea of the dysfunctional American family, and the removal of childhood innocence. The use of the family ideology and the horror taking place within the family personalizes the film to a large majority of the audience; this could almost be their own family. This accessibility to a viewer is continued as the film opens, and this connection with the story and with the killer is what really differentiates “Halloween” from its peers. As the opening credits roll, non-diegetic music plays; a minor-key piano riff repeated with various accompaniments. Haunting in nature, it builds tension for what is to come, and immediately puts the audience in a state of constant unease. This is furthered by the length of the credits; they are longer than a horror fan would perhaps be used to, and thus increases the

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