Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, determined psychiatrist
Illinois, Halloween 1978
Release Date: October 25, 1978
Director: John Carpenter
Wardrobe Credit: Beth Rodgers
Based on a timely recommendation that I received from my friend @agentlemansarmour leading up to Halloween last year, I’d like to commemorate October 31 this year with a look at John Carpenter’s Halloween, the influential 1978 horror flick cited as kicking off the “Golden Age” of slasher movies and one of the most successful and profitable independent films of all time, grossing more than $70 million with a budget of less than $325,000. The suggestion particularly requested a look at the fall-friendly tweed jacket and raincoat worn by the movie’s ostensible protagonist, knowledgable psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis as portrayed by Donald Pleasence, who would reprise the role four more times before Malcolm McDowell took over for Rob Zombie’s 2007 reboot.
9 Days to Halloween!
Do you wear a costume on Halloween? If so, do you go for something scary, witty, or low-key (I’m thinking three-hole-punch Jim…), or do you prefer something recognizable from pop culture?
I tend to aim for the latter, if for no other reason than I can usually dig into my own closet to find something comfortable. Usually one or two additional pieces need to be thrifted or bought online, but channeling my favorite movie or TV characters has always made Halloween costume hunting a relatively stress-free process.
With Halloween parties kicking into high gear this upcoming weekend, I want to provide a helpful guide for BAMF Style readers in search of costumes based on some of my own experience. For example, I’ve learned to avoid the esoteric (like my 7th grade Halloween costume when I was Robert Redford in The Sting) and embrace costumes with character-defining props, be it Don Draper’s pack of Lucky Strikes or Thomas Magnum’s Detroit Tigers cap.
My goal was to set you up with the elements you need for an easy, comfortable, and – most importantly – stress-free Halloween costume! (Plus… many elements from these costumes can be worn independently and thus expand your wardrobe! Win win.)
John Alexander as “Teddy Roosevelt” Brewster
Brooklyn, Halloween 1941
Film: Arsenic and Old Lace
Release Date: September 23, 1944
Director: Frank Capra
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, was born this day 159 years ago on October 27, 1858. A son of New York City, the timid Theodore overcame his childhood asthma with his robust physical pursuits matched only by his professional ambition as a career soldier, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York, and finally the youngest President of the United States when he assumed office at the age of 42 after the assassination of William McKinley.
The proximity of T.R.’s birthday to Halloween always makes me think of Arsenic and Old Lace, the Frank Capra-directed dark comedy set one Halloween in Brooklyn involving Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), his two dangerous but darling elderly aunts, and – like all of the best movies of the 1940s – Peter Lorre being Peter Lorre.
Originally a play (and doubtlessly one that your high school has performed), actor John Alexander reprised his role from the stage as “Teddy” Brewster, Mortimer’s delusional but harmless brother who believes that he is Teddy Roosevelt.
“So what?” says a friendly local cop who visits the Brewsters on his beat. “There’s a lot worse guys he could think he was.” Continue reading