Release year: 1978
Director: John Carpenter
Screenwriter: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Tony Moran, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards
At the age of 6 Michael Myers (Tony Moran) murders his sister and her boyfriend on Halloween. 15 years later he escapes from the mental institution where he has been incarcerated ever since. He returns to his childhood town and fixates on Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends. Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis tries to track him down and stop him before he kills again.
John Carpenter’s Halloween is often credited as starting the sub-genre of slasher horror films that took their inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). It is therefore very fitting that John Carpenter chose to cast Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies 1994) as the lead in her first movie role as she is the daughter of Janet Leigh, star of Psycho. Not only is Halloween the first slasher horror, it also remains the best. John Carpenter builds suspense perfectly – helped along by his eerie score, which in many scenes is the only thing heard alongside Michael Myers heavy breathing. Brilliant. Jamie Lee Curtis is a convincing ‘scream queen’ portraying a likeable and pro-active character and we really want her to make it. Donald Pleasence seems perfectly cast as Dr. Loomis, which is not a given considering that he was only offered the part after Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee turned it down. Halloween may be a massively influential film that has founded many of the tropes seen in horror movies in subsequent decades, it is also one of the most profitable independent movies ever made. But do not watch Halloween simply because of its importance, watch it because it is a creepy (if un-gory) and well-crafted horror movie – perfect for Halloween night!
The movie playing in the background during several scenes on Halloween is The Thing (1951) which John Carpenter would later write and direct a remake of in 1982.