Halloween (1978)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
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Overall Rating 82%
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Ranked #525
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Connections: Halloween

In John Carpenter's horror classic, a psychotic murderer, institutionalized since childhood for the murder of his sister, escapes and stalks a bookish teenage girl and her friends while his doctor chases him through the streets. --TMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 10, 2007
How does a site related to film stay afloat so long without a "Halloween" review? How can a self-professed cinema aficionado, like myself, go so long without reviewing it?

Very few can argue the impact that John Carpenter's "Halloween" had on cinema, as a whole. First off, it was a different kind of horror film. Carpenter's use of music, his camera-work, and even his simple, direct method of storytelling was something the horror genre had never seen before. It revolutionized the genre, for the better. Secondly, it was one of the first independent films to go mainstream and succeed. Back in the 1970's, indie films did not find their way to the mainstream as easily as they do today. It took word of mouth and men and women who believed in the film enough to devote 100% of their time to making certain people knew about it. So, in that sense, "Halloween" also changed the way in which films were marketed, especially independent films. Lastly, the film essentially invented a genre -- 'the thriller'. This is arguable, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a film that so embodied the thriller like "Halloween" before its release. Think back. It's hard to find one.

The film opens with one of the most memorable opening sequences in cinema history, a mask-covered Michael Myers watching his sister and her boyfriend fool around throughout the house. After a quickie, the boyfriend then darts out and Michael ascends the staircase where he finds his half-naked sister combing her hair, naked. We see the rest of this sequence through two eye holes in the clown mask the boy is wearing. Notice the use of the SteadiCam -- one of the first times this device was ever used. Notice the simple way in which the breathing and the music combine to bring a whole new level of tension to a stereotypical scene. We then transfer our focus to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois, as the locals prepare for Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis stars as Laurie Strode, a shy young girl who is spending her night babysitting alongside her two friends, Annie (Nancy Kyes) and Lynda (P.J. Soles). As we follow Laurie and her friends, we also see the emergence of a recently escaped Michael Myers, who is being pursued by Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), the only person who knows how truly evil Michael is. Michael Myers comes to Haddonfield, followed closely by Loomis -- and as they both go about their business throughout the course of the film, bodies pile up like rain in a bucket.

There are so many sequences I could point out from this film. How about the sequence Laurie and Annie are walking home from school and Laurie sees the white mask peering out from the side of the brush? How about when Laurie looks out her window and sees Michael standing amidst the fluttering laundry? My favorite scene is when Laurie has finally made it to the living room of the house and locks the door, only to immediately notice that the curtains are blowing because the window is open. That sequence, in my opinion, is one of the greatest horror sequences in the history of the genre. Not to mention, Laurie huddled next to the door, not facing the collapsed Michael Myers. Then, suddenly, the body rises. How many times have we seen this technique use in films since "Halloween"? To say "Halloween" is one of the most copied horror films of all time would be an understatement -- it is THE most copied horror film of all time. That said, "Halloween" owes a lot of what it does to Bob Clark's "Black Christmas". Clark's was more over-the-top and Carpenter's more cerebral and subdued, but "Black Christmas" was a definite inspiration for Carpenter's superior vision.

All of that said, it's hard for people not to like "Halloween". All these years later, it still packs one hell of a great wallop. I happened to catch the re-release of "Halloween" last year and some friends and I went to see it on Halloween night at the local theatres, complete with the cast interviews and the making of the new Rob Zombie remake. It was my first opportunity to see the original film in an actual theatrical setting. It was amazing. It adds a whole new level of tension and it made me feel like a kid again. Now, I can't wait to see it in a drive in, like I did with "The Shining" and "A Nightmare On Elm Street". That adds ANOTHER level. "Halloween" is one of the two or three greatest horror films ever made, depending on whom you ask and how they feel at the time. It tends to go up and down lists all the time, but consistently stays in the top ten. "Halloween" is a masterpiece and it always delivers. The subsequent sequels, as bad as some of them were, have zero effect on how well the original still performs. Now I feel better -- "Halloween" finally has a review.

Tristan #1: Tristan - added 04/10/2007, 07:34 PM
The slasher film that started it all. None have ever surpassed it, and millions have imitated it. Let's just hope the remake doesn't totally trash this classic's good name. From the looks of things, I'm thinking it may do it some justice. 10/10
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 04/10/2007, 09:42 PM
This movie is complete gold. No other way about it. The first sequel caps this one off very well, but avoid all the others unless you're not sober, with the possible exception of H20
Edd #3: Edd - added 04/11/2007, 12:18 PM
What else can really be said about this movie? It deserves nothing but praise. 10/10
Wes #4: Wes - added 09/29/2008, 07:23 PM
The epitome of a horror classic.
Rest Easy Soul #5: Rest Easy Soul - added 12/22/2009, 03:17 PM
The slasher that got me into slashers. Myers is my favorite horror movie icon and this is the movie that started it all. Way back when I was like 8 or 9 and was scared of him, now I can watch with excitement and nostalgia.
DillonBerserk #6: DillonBerserk - added 10/04/2010, 12:40 AM
Beautiful 10/10
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