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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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Parenthood, Adolescence and Childhood Under the Knife

Parenthood, Adolescence and Childhood Under the Knife

Chapter:
(p.71) Chapter 4: Parenthood, Adolescence and Childhood Under the Knife
Source:
Halloween
Author(s):

Murray Leeder

Murray Leeder

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781906733797.003.0005

This chapter examines adolescence as a central theme in Halloween (1978) in a slightly different way, as invoking (and attempting to resolve) the rootlessness of adolescence in the Lost Generation. The character of Laurie Strode is divided between the realms of adults and children, but this capacity for category mobility ultimately proves valuable. Cast in the roles both of virgin and mother, her ability to properly navigate, embrace adult responsibilities and retrain a child's intuition is ultimately what allows Laurie to save herself. The 1950s and John Carpenter's childhood saw the birth of the teen horror film, which followed swiftly on the heels of the ‘invention’ of the American teenager as a discrete segment of the population. In a sense, Halloween is an inheritor to the ‘horror teenpics’ or the ‘weirdies’ of the 1950s, and similarly owed much of its success to its ability to knowingly target the large teenage demographic. The slasher films that followed Halloween would do the same, and it seems no major exaggeration to say that, if slasher films collectively are ‘about’ anything, they are about adolescence.

Keywords:   adolescence, Halloween, Laurie Strode, adult responsibilities, childhood, John Carpenter, teen horror film, American teenager, slasher films

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