Thursday, February 2, 2012

Halloween & Carrie

Continuing on with movies viewed during that birthday party on January 23rd, 1982, I am delegating Carrie and Halloween to one post, mainly because they are two movies that I think I've only ever seen on video, laserdisc, and DVD. (I neglected to mention, in my previous post about The Wanderers, that I had originally seen that movie in a theater in 1979, when it opened, and I believe it was at the Cinema 21 on Union Street. This birthday party viewing was at least my 13th viewing, as it was something I watched over and over again on VHS.)

It pains me to think that all those early viewings of Halloween were on crappy pan-and-scanned video copies, and I probably didn't actually get to see the movie in all its widescreen glory until some time in the 90s, when it was released on laserdisc.

It still managed to capture me, though, and I think that had a lot to do with the three main girls. Of course, it was scary, and gripping, and all that, but that wouldn't mean much if I didn't give a crap about the three teens being stalked. It's kind of hard to look at its influence in hindsight, but it really did set up the cliches of the genre--nice, virginal girl lives; sexually active girls die--but you have to remember that at that time, those weren't cliches. It was just that film's story.

So, I cared about the fates of all three of them: sarcastic, knee-sock wearing Annie; totally cute Lynda; and shy, smart Laurie.

Speaking of shy and smart, that leads us to Carrie, although, I'm not sure she'd really be classified as "smart" after that whole period-in-the-school-shower thing.

Carrie is kind of an odd film in my viewing history. While it came out in 1976, I didn't see it until it was out on video--and while it was officially a six-year-old movie at that point in 1982, it seemed so much older, and hopelessly dated to me and my friends. All those ridiculous bell bottom pants; giant platform shoes; William Katt's enormous hair. We might as well have been watching a movie made 20 years earlier, not six.

Still, Carrie became a movie I would revisit regularly, usually right before a new school year was starting, because as bad as I knew school could be, I was pretty sure it would never be quite as bad as Carrie's senior year at Bates High.

Coincidentally, P.J. Soles has a role in both of these movies, both times playing wisecracking teens, (Lynda in Halloween; Norma in Carrie), which is what she also played in Rock and Roll High School, another movie I watched again and again growing up, (and which I'll talk about come August).

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