Horror Week: Halloween (1978)

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John Carpenter’s Halloween is the quintessential horror movie for Halloween. It is a classic slasher movie that acted as a landmark for future slasher movies to come. John Carpenter used simple elements to create suspense, like shadows in the background or a creepy score. It has very little gore, and yet it still succeeds in instilling fear and suspense into the viewer as the main character is stalked throughout the whole movie. Halloween shows that you don’t need a big budget or lots of blood to make a successful horror movie, all you need is someone behind the camera who understands that sometimes the best scares involve the idea that something may be lurking in the shadows unseen.

Michael Myers, a man who has spent the last fifteen years in a psychiatric facility after having stabbed his older sister to death on Halloween when he was six years old, escapes the facility the night before Halloween and returns to wreak havoc in his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), an innocent high school student who spends her Halloween night babysitting two kids, finds herself to be the main target of this psycho killer.

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John Carpenter is the one who really introduced the element of an immortal boogeyman. As soon as Laurie stabs Michael Myers, he just gets right back up. Jason followed suit with this in the Friday the 13th movies–a silent, masked monster who survives no matter what you do to him. That is one of the things that makes Michael Myers so frightening. He’s not easily defeated, and on top of that, he is a mysterious and silent psycho who doesn’t even feel the need to run after his targets, he just walks after them and then shows up behind them in the shadows when they least expect it.

Jamie Lee Curtis had her feature debut in this movie, and it jump started a long career to come. It has become an iconic role in horror cinema. Personally, her character is the only victim I can even remember from a slasher series, but that probably also has to do with the fact that she has a long lasting connection to Michael Myers in the series.

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The budget for Halloween was only around $300,000. Most of the actors wore their own clothes for the shoot. In addition to that, the mask that Michael Myers wears is a $2.00 Captain Kirk from Star Trek mask that they cut wider eye holes in and painted white. So basically, Michael Myers’ iconic mask is really just the face of a warped William Shatner. Despite the small budget, Halloween made about $70 million worldwide, making it one of the most profitable independent horror films.

Halloween is a great example of an influential horror film. It’s suspenseful and still fun to watch even three decades later. Michael Myers has become an iconic horror movie character and a household name, especially around this time of year. Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without him.


This marks the end of my horror week. Originally, I had planned to do a lot more horror reviews, but time wouldn’t allow it. So I picked five different subgenres of horror to cover. I stuck with a modern take on a famous haunting, a horror/comedy satire, an exorcism movie, a classic unconventional horror, and a classic slasher horror–listed below. Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!

The Conjuring (2013)
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Halloween (1978)

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4 thoughts on “Horror Week: Halloween (1978)

  1. Excellent post!

    I have seen all of the Halloween films, but the original is one of the quintessential films the horror genre has to offer. In my view, Jamie Lee Curtis nailed her part in regard to how she projected vulnerability. I also consider the first Halloween film a passing of the torch moment, since Jamie Lee Curtis’ mother, Janet Leigh, played Marion Crane in Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”

    Like

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