The following is a transcript of an interview between Sheriff Leigh Brackett of the Haddonfield Police Department and Elisabeth Rappe, also known as the Horror Virgin.

LB: Ms. Rappe, what brought you to Haddonfield this evening?

ER: My editor, Scott Weinberg.

LB: The editor of Cinematical and Horror Squad, correct?

ER: Yes, sir. He wanted me to investigate the murders that happened here. The ones in 1978. I'm sorry if this upsets you, I understand your daughter was one of the ones slain that night.

LB: Yes. We don't like to talk about that here in Haddonfield. Why on earth are you digging up the past, young lady?

ER: Well, sir, I'd never actually seen Halloween before. LB: How is that possible?

ER: To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure. I remember picking it up at the video store when I was a kid, and being really frightened of the cover – the little kid in the clown outfit and the pumpkin. I honestly thought it was a movie about a psycho who murdered trick or treaters. Since then, I've seen so many clips of it, especially the ending, that I was certain I had seen the whole thing. But now that I've finally sat down and watched it, I realize I've seen very little of it. I've heard the entire soundtrack, but never seen the movie.

LB: The soundtrack?

ER: Yeah. In fact, it brings back some creepy memories. It was playing on constant repeat when I worked at a haunted house one year. We used to work really late into the night, and I was stuck in this dark hallway all alone, listening to that music. It became really unsettling once you mixed it with the screams, banging doors, and chainsaw. Just hearing the theme over the credit sequence gave me the creeps – it put me right back in that dark hallway, smelling the gas fumes from the chainsaw, and the cold nighttime air, and being rather afraid one of our knife-wielding psychos could be the real thing ... and who would know?!

LB: Then it was really very easy for you to get inside the film then.

ER: Very much so, sir.

LB: Well, since you've felt it necessary to disturb the peace here with your little "investigation," tell me what you thought of the film.

ER: I liked it a lot. People may suspect that I'm saying that in a desperate attempt for cred and coolness, but I honestly think this is one of the best horror films I've seen. I really went in expecting nothing more than blood and breasts, and the butt of all those Scream jokes but this is extremely well done. The shots from within the "mask," and the breathing effect is so creepy and claustrophobic. You feel yourself getting smothered.

Obviously the film predates my childhood by a few years, but there's something about the horror films made during the '70s and '80s that really capture a zeitgeist, or created it, I'm not sure which. I grew up fearing the kidnapping bogeymen. They were around every corner. You weren't supposed to answer the door, you couldn't play in the front yard alone, and you were constantly warned about strangers with candy. Halloween really taps into that fear, especially with Tommy. His walk home from school, with Meyers driving alongside him – holy crap! I was pretty tense watching this film. Not afraid, but definitely tense. I knew that Laurie survived and I was still wincing. Again, despite having not seen this film, I've had so many nightmares where I'm banging on neighborhood doors for help, and no one will answer. They're even looking out of the blinds like they are in the movie. Is that just a primal fear we all have, or has this film pervaded the culture so much that it's practically beamed unseen into our heads ... I'm sorry sir, I can see this conversation is upsetting you.

LB: I'm ... I'm fine. Please go on.

ER: Well, going on that same topic, I feel like this movie actually documents a shift in what we do consider to be horror. Everyone in this film is watching old 1950s horror – movies that capture that Cold War fear. Right outside their doors there's a villain that scares us – Meyers isn't The Other, he's one of us. It hits closer to home. It's why we lock our doors at night.

LB: I think you might be reading too much into this, Ms. Rappe.

ER: Really? I don't. In fact, I need to state on the record that I have really underestimated horror films. I've dismissed them as nothing but blood and guts, sex and slashers. Of course, there's a lot of that. But out of nowhere the filmmakers will drop something very classical in. I noticed some Greek influence in Night of the Living Dead – though I confess that was probably just as easily inspired by the Guinness muse. Halloween has a great speech right in the first 10, 20 minutes of the movie. Laurie is sitting in class, and the teacher is droning on and on about fate: "The idea is that destiny is a very real, concrete thing that every person has to deal with ... " Granted, with Meyers right outside the window, it makes it almost obvious, but I still thought it was pretty cool that the movie actually does take those the notions of fate and destiny, and just run with them.

It's very obvious that certain characters are destined to die or to live. I realize I see medieval themes in everything, but this movie doesn't use the bleak, Greco-Roman idea of one's fate being unavoidable. The Germanics believed that your fate was the result of a long string of events, and that once you met it, you could avoid it. You might be able to jump out of the way in time, I can survive if I use all my might. They had a term for it – werd, which is where we get the word "weird" from. And what day is all about the weird? Halloween!

LB: So you're saying my daughter could have avoided her fate if she had genuinely tried?

ER: Well if it's any consolation, Sheriff, the Anglo-Saxons believed you generally didn't. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply ...

LB: It's all right.

ER: Can I go now?

LB: Yes, yes of course. I'm sorry to have taken so much of your time, Ms. Rappe. We're just a little wary of strangers here in Haddonfield. You understand.

ER: I do. Believe me, if I lived here, I would never leave my house except with a shotgun. Damn. I can't wait to see what Weinberg has for me next ...

categories Features, Horror