PUBLISHER: Bantam, 10/1979GENRE: Fiction/Contemporary Horror
SETTING: Illinois, USA 1978
MOVIE TRAILER: link
MY GRADE: A++
Tricked by his cunning ... Treated to his savagery ... Annie, Linda and Laurie ... fresh, pretty, ready to be taken ... stalked by a sadistic power who has returned to claim new victims, on this ... the most frightening night of the year.
We meet Michael's mother's mother at the beginning of chapter one. It's Halloween and he shows her his Halloween clown costume that he got from Woolworth. I love his granny. She's sassy. She was offended by his cheap store-bought non scary costume and even referred to Michael once as 'Mister Woolworth Clown Costume'. She began to reminisce to him and his mother Edith about what Halloween was like when she was a child. She said if it was a tame Halloween only your chickens would get beheaded, or as Michael said, unheaded.
We learn that Michael had started wetting the bed after not doing so for three years. He'd been getting into fights at school and with his sister. He'd been having violent dreams and scariest of all, he'd been hearing voices that were telling him to say he hates people. Later in the book Loomis and Sheriff Brackett were discussing how Michael's great-grandfather Nordstrom (his mother's father's father) had heard voices too and had even murdered two people at a harvest dance in the 1890's and was hanged for it.
Shortly before murdering his sister, he goes trick or treating at his own house on Peecher Street with other kids from the neighborhood. His sister jokingly asked the kids what they'd do if she didn't give them candy and Michael said he'd kill her. She said, 'Was that you Michael Myers?!' and he said, 'I'm not Michael Myers. I'm a clown'. Every time I've read that line its caused me to laugh out loud, for some reason.
Soon after that Judith's boyfriend Danny comes over. Michael is spying on them through the window. They're kissing downstairs then later upstairs in her bedroom. Michael can hear the sounds they're making through the open windows and 'the sounds filled him with a murderous hatred.' He doesn't understand why they're making those sounds. While he's standing outside listening to them we learn of a recurring dream he's been having. In the dream two people who look like Judy and Danny are dancing around a fire outside with other people. He's jealous as he watches them dance and voices are telling him to kill the lovers.
After Danny leaves he goes into Judy's room and stabs her over thirty times while she's sitting at her vanity, brushing her hair, naked except for bikini underwear that have red hearts on them. He stabs her in her wrist, hand, breasts, arms, legs, groin and throat. He goes into the kitchen, eats a cookie, drinks milk out of the bottle, then goes outside and that's when his parents show up and find him holding the knife.
Earlier that day he told his grandmother, in response to her suggesting he disguise is face with white clown makeup, that he wasn't going to play any pranks, and was just going to ask for candy and in response she told him to have an 'innocent, Woolworth kind of Halloween.' Oooh, it was anything but!
Loomis is remembering all the times at the sanitarium over the past fifteen years where Michael got revenge on other kids for some slight but was never seen doing it. One kid got food poisoning after playing a joke on Michael by loosening the salt shaker top so the salt would pour out when you went to use it, one boy was scalded in the shower after repeatedly turning the TV volume down when Michael kept turning it up, a nurse fell down the stairs and fractured her pelvis days after an argument with Michael, a boy who forgot to return a game to Michael got a mysterious rash and had to be hospitalized, and worst of all, Michael suggested one year that they be allowed to have a Halloween party, of all things. A girl was bobbing for apples when the lights went out. Soon after when the lights came back on the girl was laying there, almost dead, from someone, Michael, trying to drown her. Loomis looked over at Michael, who smiled at him, but his costume was dry and Loomis had no proof Michael did anything to the girl.
When Laurie's walking home from school with Annie and Lynda (it's spelled Linda in the book) and goes inside, her red-haired mother is there, making candied apples and they have a short conversation about evilness. This is right before Laurie goes into her room and sees Michael staring at her from the clothes line. In the film, she walks though the front door and is shown walking straight into her bedroom.
Laurie's father is Chester Strode. Film credits say his name is Morgan though it's never spoken in the film.
In the book, several people who see Michael are close enough to tell he may be wearing a mask, but they aren't sure. In the film, most aren't close enough to him to wonder if it's a mask until they're being murdered by him.
When Loomis and Sheriff Brackett (Annie's father) go into Michael's old house and find the dead dog, they say his intestines are hanging out.
Shortly before Annie's killed, she's at Lindsey's, brushing her own hair. Michael's watching through the window and is staring at her 'large' breasts and becomes sexually aroused. 'The sex between his legs throbbed in an unpleasant way.'
Annie asks Lindsey why their laundry room is in a separate building outside. Lindsey tells her that her mother wanted it outside because of the noise they both make. That's not mentioned at all in the movie.
Toward the end when Laurie goes to Lindsey's looking for Bob and Lynda and find Annie's dead body in bed with Judith's tombstone, her stomach had been cut open up to her throat and her intestines were out.
MY THOUGHTS: I've always been a fan of the film and got a copy of the book in May 2009 from a friend. The book is so great. Unfortunately it's so expensive that most fans of the film will probably never get to read it. I don't know if the added stuff that I've mentioned was in the original screenplay or not or if Curtis came up with it on his own. Either way, I'm glad it was in the book and not the film. It makes reading the book so much more exciting.
Below are the two covers. The last photo is the back cover of both versions. My copy has the middle cover. It was reissued in 1982 and had the cover in the middle.
Same review here.