Halloween

"Excellent"

Halloween Review


Considered by many to be a modern horror classic, Halloween succeeds through simplicity. This thriller -- a veritable kickoff for 25-plus years of slasher films -- works because director John Carpenter keeps the story neat and the presentation basic. It's an approach that gives Halloween an easy, no-frills realism, and a likable indie style that shines through even today. Carpenter and co-writer/producer Debra Hill turn a few suburban streets into a house of horrors for some unsuspecting teenagers -- with no special effects and very few cheap thrills.

A 19-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis makes her film debut as Laurie Strode, a bookish, anti-social highschooler unaware that while she babysits on Halloween night, a psychotic maniac lurks in the neighborhood. The strong, silent type, this hulking being quietly walks the town in which he killed his sister 15 years earlier, back for more after a hospital escape. Meanwhile, his horrified doctor (the ominous Donald Pleasance) waits, as single-mindedly obsessed as the killer he's chasing.

Forget heavy backstory and emotional structure. With Halloween, what you see is what you get: kids as sitting ducks, faceless evil, and nail-biting suspense. With a reported $300,000 budget and a deep knowledge of film, Carpenter pays homage to Romero, Hitchcock, and favorite horror films from the '50s and '60s. But rather than create an antagonist that's a freak of nature (like a vampire or a werewolf), or a man-made deformity (Frankenstein's monster), Carpenter devises a mysterious non-entity. "The Shape," as he's called in the end credits, is certainly human but encompasses other indefinable details. He walks like a zombie and stares like a child, but what is he? Could he really be the Boogeyman of folklore and slumber party stories?

In creating shock value, Carpenter uses no blood, no gore, and no cats leaping through windows unexpectedly. Instead, he utilizes smooth, creepy camera moves -- peering around corners with just the right speed -- and the frustrating moments that crop up when a killer's on the loose: stuck doorknobs, lost keys, and painfully slow-moving characters. And Carpenter's opening sequence, with its long single shot from a slasher's point of view, is still fun and surprising a quarter-century later.

Fans of the genre will appreciate broad references to horror history -- such as placing terror in an otherwise peaceful location -- as well as specific stuff, like naming the doctor Sam Loomis (the boyfriend character in Psycho) or casting Curtis, best known at the time as Janet Leigh's daughter.

The experts and fans that name the same films over and over when listing fine 1970s independent movies should include Halloween. It's an inexpensive, efficient non-studio thriller made by a hungry group of young filmmakers. Many sequels, all terribly inferior, would follow, as would Jason, Freddy, and other unstoppable -- and often lazy -- mad slashers. Future horror filmmakers trashed story, going for extensive body counts and increasingly "creative" styles of murder. So many forgot to take a lesson from John Carpenter and his "psycho," Michael Myers -- keep it simple, stupid.



Halloween

Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 25th October 1978

Box Office Worldwide: $47M

Budget: $300 thousand

Distributed by: Compass International Pictures

Production compaines: Compass International Pictures, Falcon International Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 48 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Dr. Sam Loomis, as Laurie Strode, as Annie Brackett, P.J. Soles as Lynda van der Klok, as Sheriff Leigh Brackett, as Lindsey Wallace, as Tommy Doyle, John Michael Graham as Bob Simms, Nancy Stephens as Marion Chambers, as Graveyard Keeper, Mickey Yablans as Richie, Brent Le Page as Lonnie Elamb, Adam Hollander as Keith, as Dr. Terence Wynn, as Michael Myers, Will Sandin as Michael Myers (age 6), Sandy Johnson as Judith Margaret Myers, David Kyle as Judith's Boyfriend, Peter Griffith as Morgan Strode, as The Shape, as Dead Mechanic (uncredited), as Paul, Annie's Boyfriend (voice) (uncredited), George O'Hanlon Jr. as Mr. Peter Myers (uncredited), Darla Rae as Student (uncredited), Gwen Van Dam as Sanitarium Nurse (uncredited)

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.