Starring Dave McRae, Jack Norman, James Secker, Richard Stringham, Dave McRae, P.J. Starks
Directed by Paul Downey
I’ve seen John Carpenter’s Halloween at least four times, and like all horror fans, I recognize and appreciate the enormous impact it had on the genre as a whole. The new documentary For the Love of the Boogeyman: 40 Years of Halloween explores how Halloween changed the face of horror as we know it, and does a pretty good job of it, too.
The documentary follows a relatively simple structure, which basically goes as follows: someone will mention a certain aspect of the film, be it the setting, the score, or the character of Michael Myers, and then a bunch of yes men will be interviewed to explain how they feel that said element was used to great effect. For the most part this worked well enough, although it would have been nice to have a continuity onboard, because several of the exact same interview clips were used multiple times, so expect to hear journalist Nils Reucker describing twice how Halloween created certain conventions of the slasher genre that future films would follow.
The extensive list of interviewees also included producer and Volumes of Blood creator P.J. Starks, director Richard Stringham, actor Jack Norman, former Evanescence drummer Rocky Gray, The Barn director Justin M. Seaman, and The Summoner’s James Secker. John Carpenter himself did not feature, and neither did anyone who had any official involvement in the Halloween franchise, so this is very much a documentary by the fans for the fans. Although as a lifelong Halloween fan, I found that I strongly agreed with pretty much every they said, so it seems that there is little disagreement among Halloween fans.
Interspliced with the interview segments were drama sequences featuring a mechanic in his workshop being stalked by a masked killer. These sections were brief and at first seemed to distract from the flow of the film’s nonfiction narrative, although the pay off made sitting through them more than worthwhile.
Whilst you probably won’t learn anything new from For the Love of the Boogeyman: 40 Years of Halloween, you’re still likely to find the film to be a great way to celebrate one of horror’s signature franchises.
It probably won’t teach you anything you don’t already know, but For the Love of the Boogeyman: 40 Years of Halloween was still a worthy celebration of John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece.