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Halloween$
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Murray Leeder

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733797

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733797.001.0001

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‘Black Cats and Goblins on Halloween Night’: Halloween and Halloween

‘Black Cats and Goblins on Halloween Night’: Halloween and Halloween

Chapter:
(p.57) Chapter 3: ‘Black Cats and Goblins on Halloween Night’: Halloween and Halloween
Source:
Halloween
Author(s):

Murray Leeder

Murray Leeder

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781906733797.003.0004

This chapter explains that Halloween is more than simply a setting in John Carpenter's Halloween (1978), but that the film is indeed centrally concerned with the contested meanings of the day when it takes place. The film is a cultural artefact of how Halloween was thought about in the 1970s. In other words, it is not just called Halloween; it is about Halloween. The chapter then studies the history and dangers of Halloween, which traces its roots back to the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain. Halloween is often constructed as a rare time when the anger and discontentment of children, and indeed their capacity for violence, may be demonstrated. The character of Michael Myers is driven by a need to pursue the carnivalesque and violent aspects of Halloween to their violent extremes. It is here where the theme of masking becomes critical. Michael commits his sister Judith's murder wearing a Halloween mask, which reveals his true nature more clearly than his actual face ever could.

Keywords:   Halloween, John Carpenter, Samhain, violence, Michael Myers, masking, Halloween mask

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