It’s hard to imagine a world where slasher film tropes never existed. But back in 1978, as John Carpenter’s “Halloween” was arriving in theaters, film fans had no clue what they were getting themselves into. Genre tropes of the killer not really dead after the final girl stabs him or the ending that hints that your slasher is still alive were not things people expected in horror films. So, that’s what makes watching this video about “Halloween” such a treat.
Synced to the video of the final scene from Carpenter’s classic film, you can hear a real 1978 audience react to the action they’re witnessing. The screams of astonishment as audience members watch Michael Myers rise up after being stabbed by Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode are incredible. The anticipation and suspense they’re feeling as Michael slowly walks towards Laurie is palpable, even just in the audio. And finally, the ending, which reveals that Dr. Loomis thinks he killed Michael, but there’s no body when he looks down, is met with a sort of “WTF” reaction that is rarely found in horror film screenings today.
Face it, horror fans are a cynical bunch. “Halloween” started a revolution of slasher horror films that would attempt to outsmart and surprise audiences for four decades. Now, after 9 lackluster sequels, dozens of knock-off franchises, and meta-commentaries on the genre from films like “Scream,” we’ve seen it all.
That being said, there’s probably not a horror fan alive that wouldn’t want to travel back in time to 1978 and experience “Halloween” for the first time with a group of unknowing filmgoers. That would be something truly special. Instead, we just can live vicariously through YouTube.