Halloween Memories: The Descent’s Neil Marshall

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Razor sharp simplicity

For me, the reason Halloween has endured and inspired (and continues to do so) is its stark simplicity. It’s the slasher movie stripped down to the bare bones, as razor sharp and cruelly efficient as the butchers knife that Michael Myers wields with such dexterity. There’s no flab in this story, no pointless sub-plots or time wasted on character development beyond what is absolutely necessary to tell the story.

As a horror filmmaker it’s this kind of purity that I aspire to. It’s too easy to be drawn into over complicating something that doesn’t need it. Carpenter knew exactly how to get away with screen murder. Michael himself is known as The Shape because that’s all he is, a silent, relentless, indefatigable stalking and killing machine. Nothing more, nothing less.

The seed is planted in the opening five minutes. We see Michael’s face as a child and can only hazard a guess as to what he looks like as an adult beneath the Shatner mask. As a walking slaughterhouse, his no-frills fashion sense is as straight-forward as his non-specific motivation. The point with Halloween is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t need to be specific about anything. You just buy into the mythology of Michael and enjoy the ride.

And the fact that people like myself, and my peers, are still raving about it tells you all you need to know.

Neil Marshall is the writer-director of 2006’s The Descent. Next year, Rogue will release his third feature entitled Doomsday. For a preview of that film, check out our interview with Marshall here.

For previous “Halloween Memories,” click here.

Source: Neil Marshall