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Literature Film Quarterly (1982) - Through a Pumpkin's Eye: The Reflexive Nature of Horror




Drawing heavily upon the conventions established by many classics of the genre, Carpenter has created what seems, despite its dark, threatening surface, to be one of the most limpid, pond-like of horror films, a tale whose most telling effects derive not so much from our forced encounter with its disturbing images or from our mindfulness of those half-forgotten, mythic fears associated with Halloween night, but precisely from the ways in which we are asked to see those often denied visions. From this initial confrontation of points of view, what follows is an investigation of the nature of our conventional manner of seeing and a stripping away of those masks behind which we so often tend to cloak the more disturbing visions which our world ever holds in store. As in The Thing to which Halloween offers homage, we have been stridently warned to "keep watching" if we value our human environment.