Hello G. Garner,
WOW! What an exceptionally fine review of my favorite slasher genre' film of all time. In fact I hate to use the word, "slasher" but that remains the appropriate name. I have an excellent DVD transfer of this film in widescreen which I re-watched just about a week before your review. I see where the Rob Zombie version opened BIG but I wanted to re-visit my favorite version of the movie.
I was delighted to see your unexpectedly recent review of this movie. I can't believe it's been 26 years since I first saw it in a theater. I was especially impressed with your cogent analysis of the Dr. Loomis character as realized by DONALD PLEASENCE one of my favorite character actors. I suppose aside from the HALLOWEEN series he would be most noted for playing "Blofeld" in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. I am old enough to remember seeing him as a character actor in many TV shows in the 60's. He first drew my attention in a 1963 episode of the original OUTER LIMITS called THE MAN WITH THE POWER. I do have the entire OUTER LIMITS series on DVD. I also have the complete DANGER MAN (SECRET AGENT) series in which Pleasence appeared several times and finally, if you are a fan of his he was also notable in THE GREAT ESCAPE and gave a very fine performance in the little known NIGHT OF THE GENERALS (1967). I can't express how much I appreciate your singling out his character in this movie (and bringing back so many memories).
You mention, "Dr. Loomis elevates all of this to a far higher level than it could ever have achieved otherwise. His strength, courage, and iron will make him a hero." I find this a highly insightful observation to which you add, "There is some part of his imagination that is obsessed with Myers, and some part of his humanity that is appalled by him." I think this pinpoints the film perfectly. The strength of Loomis and the paradox within him seem to throw the Myers' character into a sort of bas relief. A much deeper level of horror and terror than he could show as "The Shape." Loomis' obsession and his sacrifice allow us a glimpse into Myers' "Heart of Darkness" and a look into the abyss and seeing Loomis' actions allow us to see not only what Myers has done but what he is capable of doing. By concentrating on Loomis as you so well defined him we also get the horror of the abyss staring back at us.
Thank you for such a great review and for stirring so many memories.