In 1963, a boy named Michael Myers (Will Sandin) slaughters her sister and is institutionalized. His doctor Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) sees evil in Michael, but his warnings go unheard. When Michael escapes on Halloween years later, he heads home. Pursued by Loomis, Michael finds his next batch of victims. A girl named Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends are babysitting, but Halloween will end in terror as Michael hunts them.
Directed by John Carpenter, Halloween really kicked off the genre of the slasher despite previous ventures. The low-budget film gained good word of mouth, big ticket sales, and became a classic that airs multiple times during the Halloween season. It is often considered one of the best horror films of all time.
Halloween really gets it right. It has great pacing, builds great suspense, and good scares. Movies like Black Christmas experimented with the psycho-slasher aspect, but this film perfected it. The bloody deaths are creative and violent (I always love Michael in the ghost costume…and the fogged windows). The story also has the classic “more than human” ending with Michael disappearing after being shot, stabbed, etc.
Michael Myers is a great villain who is sometimes just referred to as “The Shape”. It is rarely remembered that he is unmasked in this film (played by Tony Moran). The reason is that Michael makes such an impression in his William Shattner mask (inside out). The idea of a superstrong killer that slowly and methodically kills was new and opposed to the dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks Jason Voorhees, his intelligence makes him more interesting.
Joining the creepy Michael Myers is Jamie Lee Curtis in her feature film debut. Anne Lockhart had been a front runner for the role, but Jamie Lee’s mother’s ties to Psycho did help sway casting her for publicity. She makes a good victim since she doesn’t just give up when she’s pursued. She’s the classic “virginal” survivor that gets to live because she doesn’t have sex. Curtis is joined by Carrie veteran P.J. Soles (with her signature pigtails) and Nancy Kyes as Laurie’s friends. Veteran actor Donald Pleasence plays his role as the doctor with a lot of fun, but it is a bit unfortunate because he damned to bad films after this film.
Halloween is a classic. I can watch it over and over again. It is a great Halloween edition that despite the R-Rating can be enjoyed right next to the original Frankenstein or It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Halloween was followed by its first sequel Halloween II in 1981. It was also remade by Rob Zombie in 2007. In 2018, Halloween was released starring Jamie Lee Curtis as a sequel to this film, and that story ignored all of the original sequels and Rob Zombie films.