Movie Review – Halloween (1978)

1978 Compass International Pictures

Four Stars

HalloweenHere it is folks, the movie that ignited the slasher movie explosion that hit Hollywood in the late seventies and carried on through the eighties. Like Star Wars created a rush for more science-fantasy movies so did Halloween start the horror landslide.

Made for a mere pittance by young filmmaker John Carpenter this movie went on to gross a great deal of money and launched the careers of quite of few people that were involved. Carpenter of course went on to direct many more movies, Debra Hill became a producer of note,  Jamie Lee Curtis has had a good career, Dean Cundey became a sought after cinematographer, and Tommy Lee Wallace went on to be a prolific director himself just to name of few of the crew. The talent is very evident watching the movie. Halloween does not suffer from many of the problems that plague low budget movies. This is a great looking movie, well acted, well directed, and features a classic music score by John Carpenter. This movie began my admiration for Carpenter and his movies that continues to this day.

Halloween, as most people who love the horror genre know, is set in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois, first in 1963 and again in 1978. In 1963 we witness the brutal murder of a young girl by her very young brother Michael, a crime it appears done with no premeditation and for no reason that anyone could fathom. Flash forward fifteen years and Michael Myers, silent ever since that night in 1963 breaks out of the hospital in Smiths Grove where he has been a near comatose patient. Doctor Loomis, who has tried in vain to have Micheal permanently incarcerated, heads to Haddonfield, certain that Michael is returning to the scene of his crime fifteen years earlier.

Halloween is a bit different in a number of ways from the copycats that followed and even its own sequels. There is remarkably little blood in this movie. It relies more on a dark atmosphere and creepy tone accented by Carpenter’s wonderful music. This is a movie filled with shadows and little moments that send a shiver up the spine. One of my favorite horror movies and highly recommended.

The good:

The music. From the opening credits to the closing credits it’s awesome.

The cast, featuring many actors who would go on to work with Carpenter again.

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A very young Jamie Lee gives a great performance.

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A very underrated actor who I always enjoyed. Except maybe for The Pumaman, that wasn’t good for anything except a pummeling by MST3K.

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Damn she’s got a great smile. Michael’s a moron.

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Annie, a girl born with no peripheral vision once again fails to see her stalker.

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Charles Cyphers is always good in Carpenter movies.

The mood, dark and mysterious from the opening credits to the very end.

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The not so good:

I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Random thoughts and observations:

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Michael’s sister and this dude head up stairs for a little of the wink wink, nudge nudge…

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…mister stud muffin comes back down after approximately one minute and twenty five seconds. Embarrassing dude.

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So close and yet so far.

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A bit prophetic I would say.

Terrific ending with great dialogue.

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One large needle in the neck, one coat hanger in the eye, five to six bullets to the torso, and a fall from a second floor balcony. He must be dead.

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“Was it the boogeyman?”

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“As a matter of fact, it was.”

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Not quite over yet is it?

My favorite scene:

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My favorite kill:

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Michael never could remember to hang “pictures” of people on the walls, not the people themselves.

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