Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers
The night HE came home!
On the night of Halloween in 1963, the six-year-old Michael Myers stabs his older sister to death. He ends up in a psychiatric hospital where he is under care of Dr. Sam Loomis. Loomis is convinced that Myers is possessed by true evil and has done everything he can to keep him locked up and away from society.
Fifteen years after the brutal murder, Myers is able to escape and heads home to Haddonfield, Illinois where he is now stalking the young girl Laurie Strode and her friends. Dr. Loomis arrives and works with the local sheriff to try to hunt him down before he starts to kill again.
Reviewing Halloween these days is honestly a very redundant task. Cause what can possibly be said about a movie that every horrorfan knows and 99% of them love, even nearly 35 years after its initial release? It is one of the most famous horror movies and it’s been “blamed” for the slasherboom that followed after its huge success at the box office.
Halloween starts off with an excellent scene where the young Myers kills his sister. This is done to nearly perfection with fantastic camera movement and the theme music that we all know and love today. The end of the shot is Myers standing next to his shocked parents and the camera goes away from them, freezing the moment as it is the most important and life-changing moment for both this family and for the small town of Haddonfield. After this sequence the audience is already hooked in and it sets the tone for the rest of the film.
John Carpenter had done two small films before shooting Halloween. Dark Star and Assault on Precinct 13 are both good films, but neither made a landmark and secured Carpenter a place in Hollywood. Carpenter was involved from start to finish with Halloween, scripting the screenplay together with frequent collaborator Debra Hill, got involved with the production, did the music and of course directed the film. Carpenter has later mentioned that he was influenced by the camerawork of the italian maestro Dario Argento while doing this film, and that is easy to see in some of the scenes, especially with the smooth camera movement. The visuals are quite striking here and the same can be said about the cinematography. Even if Carpenter stayed away from the horror genre after this, he would still be considered a legend because of his work on this single film.
The tension in the film is built by using a lot of scenes where Myers is stalking his potential victims with the haunting music from Carpenter adding to it. The Myers character is emotionless and feels like a guy that has been possessed by pure evil. It’s easy to see why he is one of the most loved and feared movie villains ever made after seeing his present on this film. They could probably have skipped the part of him driving a car however since that seems a little silly considering he has been locked up since he was a kid and has probably never been behind the wheels before. And who wants to see a ruthless killer drive a car anyway?
Instead of making the young characters into easy victims, we get to know each one of them and most of the girls is your typical neighborhood teenagers. Laurie Strode is his main target and we don’t get to know why in the first film, something that I think works much better than trying to explain it since it adds to the mystery of Michael Myers. Laurie is played by Jamie Lee Curtis in what turned out to be her breakthrough role into stardom. She is smart and strong, yet still has her teenage charm. She is not a beauty queen but definitely someone would want to be friends with and have in your life. You really want her to survive and hope for her best and that is exactly what makes a great main character in a horror movie.
Donald Pleasence was the only experienced actor on the film and he did a marvelous job as Dr. Sam Loomis, the psychiatrist who is obsessed with Michael Myers and is willing to do everything to stop him. Loomis feels that Myers is his responsibility and every victim he leaves behind is because of his errors in either rehabilitating or keeping him away from the public. The rest of the cast is good, I think some are mediocre in certain parts and also not very impressing in their dying moments but I’d say they are still above average for these type of films.
Halloween cost 325,000 dollars when it was made and made 70 mill worldwide in box office alone. If you add the money made on home media sales and the future sequels and remakes then there is no doubt that this is one of the biggest success stories that has ever come out from the horror genre. It might not be as scary today as it once was because of its countless imitators and also a slow buildup that might put off some of the newer audience, but it is still a very fine film. So if you for some unknown reason still haven’t seen this legendary horror movie, then you need to go out and do that right now.