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Halloween (1978)

 -  Horror  -  25 October 1978 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 128,514 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 1,137 user | 281 critic | 10 from Metacritic.com

A psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood for the murder of his sister, escapes and stalks a bookish adolescent girl and her friends while his doctor chases him through the streets.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Nancy Kyes ...
Annie Brackett (as Nancy Loomis)
...
...
...
...
John Michael Graham ...
Nancy Stephens ...
...
Mickey Yablans ...
Brent Le Page ...
Adam Hollander ...
Robert Phalen ...
...
Edit

Storyline

The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers' psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it'll be too late for many people. Written by Massive Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everyone is entitled to one good scare See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Halloween  »

Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$47,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

| (Stereo Scream Sound)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The wealthy film producer Moustapha Akkad had admittedly little interest in this film and helped make it primarily due to the enthusiasm of John Carpenter and Irwin Yablans. However, when the film turned out to be a huge box-office smash, Akkad saw an opportunity and facilitated every 'Halloween' sequel. This does not include the two remakes, which were produced after his death in 2005. See more »

Goofs

When Laurie and Annie are walking down the sidewalk and Laurie sees Michael standing next to a bush, from Laurie's point of view the bush is trimmed and neat, but when Annie walks up to the bush, it's all bushy with leaves sticking out everywhere. See more »

Quotes

Annie Brackett: [Michael Myers' car cruises by the girls walking home from school] Hey, jerk! Speed kills!
[the car screeches to a halt]
Annie Brackett: God, can't he take a joke?
Laurie: You know Annie some day you're going to get us all in deep trouble.
Lynda: Totally.
Annie Brackett: I HATE a guy with a car and no sense of humor.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The music for the film -- written and performed by John Carpenter -- is instead credited to "The Bowling Green Philharmonic Orchestra." Carpenter grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Scream 2 (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Fear The Reaper
Written by Donald Roeser
Performed by Blue Öyster Cult
Courtesy C.B.S. Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
...but you cannot kill the boogeyman!!!
12 October 2005 | by (Bookseller of the Blue Ridge) – See all my reviews

I must admit, this is one of my favorite horror films of all time. The unique way that John Carpenter has directed this picture, opening the door to so many mock-genres, it will chill you to the bone whether it is your first time watching it or your fiftieth. The sound, the menacing horror of Michael Meyers and the infamous scream of Jamie Lee Curtis gives this film instant cult status and a great start for the independent era. I love the music, I love the characters, the familiar yet spooky setting, the simplistic nature of the villain, and the random chaos of it all. There is no really rhyme or reason to the killing in this first film, giving us a taste of Michael's true nature. Is he insane, or in some way just a very brilliant beast? That question may never be truly answered, but Carpenter gives us his 100% and more devotion to this amazing masterpiece.

John Carpenter is the master of horror. While lately his films have not been the caliber that they once were (see Ghosts of Mars), Halloween began his powerhouse of a career. This is his ultimate film. While he did release other greats, I will always remember this one as the film that caused me to turn on all the lights, beware when babysitting, and check behind closed doors, because you never knew where the evil would appear next. Carpenter has this amazing ability to bring you into the world in which he weaves. With the power of his camera, he places these images of Meyers in places you least expected while giving you the perception as if the murderer is right next to you. I loved every scene in which we panned back and there was Michael, watching from the distance, without anyone the wiser. That was scary, yet utterly brilliant. I loved the scenes in which Carpenter pulled your fright from nearly thin air. There you would be, minding your own business, when suddenly that horrid mask would appear out of nowhere. Like the characters, you too thought it was just a trick of the eye, but that is where Carpenter gets you, it isn't. Michael isn't a ghost, he is a human being (or at least we think), yet he has a stronger mental ability than most of the main characters. This leads into some really dark themes and unexplored symbolism, but even without that, this is a spooky film.

Then, if you just didn't have enough of Michael just vaporizing in the windows of your house, Carpenter adds that chilling theme music. I still have that tapping of the piano keys in my mind, constantly wondering if Meyers is looking at me through the window. Carpenter has found the perfect combination of visual frights and chilling sounds to foreshadow what may happen to our unsuspecting victims next. It is lethal, and it is done with refreshing originality and more unique thrills than anything released by today's Horror Hollywood could muster. Carpenter's Halloween is a breath of fresh air in the midst of what could be a rough horror year, with actual scares being replaced by Paris Hilton, you know that the quality isn't quite the same.

Finally, I would like to say that even the simplistic nature of the opening murder in this film is terrifying and chilling. The use of the "clown" mask sent shivers up my spine. The way that it was filmed with that elongated one shot using the child's mask as if it were our own eyes is still one of the best horror openings ever! It completely sets the tone for the remainder of that film. You have the babysitter theme, you have the childish behavior which carries with Michael throughout the film, and you have the art talent of Carpenter all rolled into one. I could literally speak for hours upon hours about this film, but instead I would rather go watch it again. It is worth the repeat visit many times!

Overall, I think this is one of the most outstanding films in cinematic history. Skip all those foreign films that think that they are going to chance the face of movies leave it to a budget tight Carpenter and the slasher film genre. This singular movie redefined a whole generation of horror films, and still continues to be an influence on modern-day horror treats. The lethal combination of a genuinely spooky murderer, the powerful cinematography of the events (which normally doesn't amount to much in horror films), and the beauty of Jamie Lee Curtis is exactly what makes Halloween that film above the rest. Sure, Freddy is cool and you feel sympathetic for Jason, but Michael is real, he is troubled, and he is on the loose lusting for the blood of babysitters. What can be better?

Grade: ***** out of *****


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