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41 Things We Learned From the ‘Halloween’ Commentary

By  · Published on November 1st, 2011

It’s that time of year again, time for candy and masks and bats. I’m not sure why I singled bats outs, especially when we have them year-round here in Austin. But they fit right in during Halloween, the holiday that seems to be everyone’s favorite these days. So what better time than now to bring to you a Commentary Commentary on John Carpenter’s horror classic, Halloween?

It doesn’t hurt that Halloween is my all-time favorite film, a film I’m sure I’ve seen more than 100 times, no exaggeration. Okay, maybe a little exaggeration, but I’d be shocked to learn the number of times I’ve sat through it is far South of that. So here, presented in all its black and orange – but really just black – wonder, is the list of things I learned from the Halloween commentary.

Halloween (1978)

Commentators: John Carpenter (writer, director), Debra Hill (writer, producer), Jamie Lee Curtis (actress), and some annoying announcer guy who needed to be edited out.

Best in Commentary

“Still to this day, I can’t tell you, but I think the audiences as opposed to the critics created Halloween.” – John Carpenter.

“It’s the idea of confusing the mythology of Halloween that we all know and love and the reality of something that’s happening in this small town.” – Debra Hill

“I think what scares me scares every human on the planet. We’re all aware of the forces of darkness, of evil, of loss, death. We know it as little children. I think all of this is dealt with in Grimm’s fairy tales. I think it’s dealt with in horror movies. Horror is a universal language.” – John Carpenter.

Final Thoughts

Carpenter, Hill, and Curtis all give relatively insightful commentary for Halloween here. The commentary was lacking in on-set stories. Much of the commentary comes about from a philosophical angle, talking about censorship or creative control. Some of that commentary gets old after a while, especially after the third or even fourth time Hill brings up the morality critics have brushed the film with. However, those moments aside – and that damn, unnecessary announcer – the commentary is great.

Each of the three commentators were recorded separately, so as not to lose focus on what they’re talking about. Perhaps having them record together would have brought up some more fun anecdotes from filming. It would have also kept us from needing an announcement as to who was talking. As it is, though, it’s a very fruitful commentary track that any fan of the film or horror movies in general would find beneficial.

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