(1978)

Critic Reviews

78

Metascore

Based on 11 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Halloween is an absolutely merciless thriller, a movie so violent and scary that, yes, I would compare it to “Psycho.”
100
ReelViews
From a shock-and-suspense point-of-view, Halloween is the rival of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." With only a few arguable exceptions (such as "The Exorcist"), there isn't another post-1970 release that comes close to it in terms of scaring the living hell out of a viewer... A modern classic of the most horrific kind.
100
Turn off the lights. Put on the widescreen version, showcasing Carpenter's masterful framing and chill-inducing, Michael Myers-concealing use of shadows. Crank up the sound, and be scared witless by horror's greatest director.
90
Chicago Reader
Carpenter displays an almost perfect understanding of the mechanics of classical suspense; his style draws equally (and intelligently) from both Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock.
88
Chicago Tribune
Don't see Halloween in an empty theater on a weekday afternoon. See it on a weekend night in a packed house. Halloween is a film to be enjoyed with a boisterous crowd; it's an "audience picture," a film designed to get specific reactions from an audience at specific moments. With Halloween, the most often desired reaction is screaming. It's a beautifully made thriller -- more shocking than bloody -- that will have you screaming with regularity. Halloween was directed by John Carpenter, 30, a natural filmmaker and a name worth remembering. [22 Nov 1978]
80
There's nary a drop of blood on screen in this rollicking funhouse of a movie but there is enough sheer cinematic ingenuity on display to coax screams out of the most jaded gorehound.
80
There's nary a drop of blood on screen in this rollicking funhouse of a movie but there is enough sheer cinematic ingenuity on display to coax screams out of the most jaded gorehound.
80
Carpenter creates excellent tension throughout and he avoids excessive blood and gore in the murder sequences. The violent actions are mostly implied more than graphically depicted, which serves to heighten the effect.
78
Not entirely without some laughable or dated scenes, Halloween remains an original that continues to inspire a genre and probe middle America's fears about what's really lurking in the laundry room after midnight.
75
Entertainment Weekly
Carpenter's brutally efficient exercise in tension and release.
75
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
This low-budget horror film, sophisticated far beyond its budget, is the work of John Carpenter, an authentic prodigy whose style recalls both Martin Scorsese and the Brian De Palma of "Carrie," but who has a metaphysical, sophomoric sense of humor both of those directors lack.
50
After a promising opening, Halloween becomes just another maniac-on-the-loose suspenser. However, despite the prosaic plot, director John Carpenter has timed the film's gore so that the 93-minute item is packed with enough thrills.

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