Since I’ve had so much fun writing THE QUOTABLE CUSHING, the column where we look at some of Peter Cushing’s best lines in the movies, I’ve decided to branch out, to look at memorable quotes from other movies as well. So, on that note, welcome to MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES.
First up today we’ll check out some quotes from the horror classic HALLOWEEN (1978), John Carpenter’s groundbreaking horror flick which pretty much single-handedly launched the slasher movie subgenre. The strength of HALLOWEEN has always been the stylish direction by John Carpenter, and his memorable music score. The screenplay by Carpenter and Debra Hill isn’t as strong, as it tells a rather silly story when you think about it. That being said, there are lots of memorable lines in HALLOWEEN, and so truth be told you can’t really knock the script that much.
Here are some examples:
Early in the movie, insane killer Michael Myers escapes from the sanitarium, attacking a nurse and stealing her car, as Myers’ doctor, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) watches helplessly. The next day, Loomis is arguing with another doctor over Myers’ escape.
DOCTOR: I’m not responsible, Sam.
LOOMIS: Oh, no.
DOCTOR: I told them how dangerous he was.
LOOMIS: You couldn’t have, two roadblocks and an all-points bulletin wouldn’t stop a five year old.
DOCTOR: Well, he’s your patient, if you knew that the precautions weren’t strong enough, you should have told somebody.
LOOMIS: I told everybody! Nobody listened.
DOCTOR: There’s nothing else I can do.
LOOMIS: You can get back in there and get back on that telephone and tell them exactly who walked out of here last night and tell them exactly where he’s going.
DOCTOR: Where he’s probably going.
LOOMIS: I’ve wasted my time.
DOCTOR: Sam, Haddonfield is 150 miles away from here, for God’s sake, he can’t even drive a car!
LOOMIS: He was doing very well last night! Maybe someone around here gave him lessons.
Later, in Haddonfield, Dr. Loomis goes to the cemetery in search of Michael Myers’ sister’s grave. He’s accompanied by the Graveyard Keeper. On their walk towards the grave, the Keeper has a rather morbid story to tell, in one of the movie’s more memorable scenes of dialogue.
GRAVEYARD KEEPER: Yeah, you know every town has something like this happen… I remember over in Russellville, old Charlie Bowles, about fifteen years ago… One night, he finished dinner, and he excused himself from the table. He went out to the garage, and got himself a hacksaw. Then he went back into the house, kissed his wife and his two children goodbye, and then he proceeded to…
LOOMIS: Where are we?
GRAVEYARD KEEPER: Eh? Oh, it’s, uh, right over here…
And of course, they discover the headstone for Judith Myers’ grave has been stolen, and the Graveyard Keeper never gets to finish his story.
And who can forget the scene where Loomis is camped outside the Myers’ house, waiting for Michael Myers’ return, when a group of kids show up and dare their friend Lonnie to go inside the house. As Lonnie takes the bait, Loomis steps from the shadow, cups his hands in front of his mouth, and says,
LOOMIS: Hey! Hey, Lonnie! Get your ass away from there!
It was probably because the theater audience was scared out of their wits and wound so tight they couldn’t swallow their popcorn, but I remember the theater erupting in laughter over this line. I mean, it’s funny, but it’s not that funny.
It seems that no one will listen to Dr. Loomis, as he tries to warn everyone around him that Michael Myers is unbelievably dangerous. Perhaps one of the reasons no one listens to him is the lines he delivers in this movie makes him sound like a crackpot.
LOOMIS: I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.
Still, Donald Pleasence is such a strong presence as Dr. Loomis that to the movie audience, anyway, he comes off as credible, heroic, and even humorous.
This exchange between Loomis and Sheriff Brackett, where Loomis again tries to warn the sheriff about Michael Myers, shows a little of each.
SHERIFF: I have a feeling that you’re way off on this.
LOOMIS: You have the wrong feeling.
SHERIFF: You’re not doing very much to prove me wrong!
LOOMIS: What more do you need?
SHERIFF: Well, it’s going to take a lot more than fancy talk to keep me up all night crawling around these bushes.
LOOMIS: I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall – looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.
SHERIFF: More fancy talk.
And to finish up, one of the more memorable lines from the movie comes at the end, when Loomis rushes into the house to save Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) from Michael Myers. After seemingly killing Myers (of course we know now that you can’t keep a good masked killer down!) Loomis turns to Laurie, and she says to him,
LAURIE: Was it the boogeyman?
LOOMIS: As a matter of fact, it was.
Great lines, great movie, great fun.
Thanks for joining me today on MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES. See you next time with quotes from another fun movie.
Books by Michael Arruda:
TIME FRAME, science fiction novel by Michael Arruda.
IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, movie review collection by Michael Arruda.
FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, short story collection by Michael Arruda.