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The personification of fear
baumer28 July 1999
Warning: Spoilers
I have just recently been through a stage where I wanted to see why it is that horror films of the 90's can't hold a candle to 70's and 80's horror films. I have been very public in this forum about the vileness of films like The Haunting and Urban Legend and such. I feel that they (and others like them) don't know what true horror is. And it bothered me to the point where it made me go to my local video store and rent some of the classic horror films. I already own all the Friday's so I rented The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original Nightmare On Elm Street, Jaws, The Exorcist, Angel Heart, The Exorcist and Halloween. Now the other films are classics in their own right but it is here that I want to tell you about Halloween. Because what Halloween does is perhaps something no other film in the history of horror film can do, and that is it uses subtle techniques, techniques that don't rely on blood and gore, and it uses these to scare the living daylights out of you. I was in a room by myself with the lights off and as silly as I knew it was, I wanted to look behind me to see if Michael Myers was there. No movie that I have seen in the last ten years has done that to me. No movie.

John Carpenter took a low budget film and he scared a generation of movie goers. He showed that you don't need budgets in the 8 or 9 figures to evoke fear on an audience. Because sometimes the best element of fear is not what actually happens, but what is about to happen. What was that shadow? What was that noise upstairs? He knows that these are the ways to scare someone and he uses every element of textbook horror that I think you can use. I even think he made up some of his own ideas and these should be ideas that people use today. But they don't. No one uses lighting and detail to provoke scares, they use special effects and rivers of blood. And it is just not the same. You can't be scared by a giant special effect that makes loud noises and jumps out of a wall. It's the moments when the killer is lurking, somewhere, you just don't know where, that scare you. And Halloween succeeds like no other film in this endeavor.

In 1963 a young Micael Myers kills his sister with a large butcher knife and then spends the next 15 years of his life, silently locked up in an institute. As Loomis ( his doctor) says to Sheriff Brackett, " I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven making sure that he never gets out, because what I saw behind those eyes was pure e-vil. " That sets up the manic and relentless idea of a killer that will stop at nothing to get what he wants. And all he wants here is to kill Laurie. No one know why he wants to kill her, but he does.( Halloween II continues the story quite well )

What Carpenter has done here is taken a haunting score, mendacious lighting techniques and wrote and directed a tightly paced masterpiece of horror. There is one scene that has to be described. And that is the scene where Annie is on her way to pick up Paul. She goes to the car and tries to open it. Only then does she realize that she has left her keys in the house. She gets them, comes back out and inadvertently opens the car door without using the keys. The audience picks up on this but she doesn't. She is too busy thinking about Paul. When she sits down, she notices that the windows are fogged up. She is puzzled and starts to wipe away the mist, and then Myers strikes, from the back seat. This is such a great scene because it pays attention to detail. We know what is happening and Annie doesn't. But it's astute observations that Carpenter made that scared the hell out of movie goers in 1978 and beyond.

Halloween uses blurry images of a killer standing in the background, it has shadows ominously gliding across a wall, dark rooms, creepy and haunting music, a sinister story told hauntingly by Donald Pleasance and a menacing, relentless killer. My advice to film makers in our day and age is to study Halloween. It should be the blue print for what scary movies are all about. After all, Carpenter followed in Hitchcock's steps, maybe director's should follow in his.

Halloween personifies everything that scares us. If you are tired of all the mindless horror films that don't know the difference between evil and cuteness, then Halloween is a film that should be seen. It won't let you down. I enjoy being scared, I don't know why, but I do. But nothing has scared me in the 90's, except maybe one film ( Wes Craven's final Nightmare ). If you enjoy beings scared, then Halloween is one that you should see. And if you have already seen it a hundred times, go and watch it again, back to back with a film like Urban Legend. Urban Legend will have you enticed at all the pretty faces in the movie. Halloween will have you frozen with fear, stuck in your seat, not wanting to move. Now tell me, what horror film would you rather watch?

And just to follow up after seeing Zombie's version, it makes you appreciate this that much more. This is a classic by definition. Zombie bastardized his version, but it doesn't take away from the brilliance of this one.
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Sure scared me back in 78
Steve-28030 December 1998
I was 20 back in 1978, and saw this on opening weekend. I knew nothing of it, and after growing up on the old Hammer films, followed by a period of almost nothing, this was quite a nice surprise. It really worked! Had me checking the back seat in cars, gave me a sinking feeling when I lost my keys, etc. The low death toll and relative lack of blood, as compared to subsequent slasher films, has me really admiring how effectively it created the atmosphere & suspense that kept me on edge, and made me jump at the right places. I certainly don't jump any more at it, but I do have fun remembering what it was like watching it when the now-cliches were fresh & new. I laugh at the 'horror' flicks of the 30s & 40s, but when they were new, I bet they were something. And I bet in another 20 years, today's toddlers will find Scream/IKWYDLS, et al, to be tame and passe too, at least compared to what they'll (& I'll) be watching then!

I'm surprised at the number of people half my age who wish they could've been around to see this film when it was brand new!

Looking back, Halloween probably scared me more when it was new, than other horror movies have,when they were new. Horror films are indebted to Halloween for breaking some new ground, and I can't wait for the next horror film that will do something on a similar scale.
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The Absolute Finest
AngusBeef15 September 2003
Halloween is not only the godfather of all slasher movies but the greatest horror movie ever! John Carpenter and Debra Hill created the most suspenseful, creepy, and terrifying movie of all time with this classic chiller. Michael Myers is such a phenomenal monster in this movie that he inspired scores of imitators, such as Jason Vorhees (Friday the 13th), The Miner (My Bloody Valentine), and Charlie Puckett (The Night Brings Charlie). Okay, so I got a little obscure there, but it just goes to show you the impact that this movie had on the entire horror genre. No longer did a monster have to come from King Tut's tomb or from Dr. Frankenstein's lab. He could be created in the cozy little neighborhoods of suburbia. And on The Night He Came Home...Haddonfield, Illinois and the viewers would never be the same. There are many aspects of this movie that make it the crowning jewel of horror movies. First is the setting...it takes place in what appears to be a normal suburban neighborhood. Many of us who grew up in an area such as this can easily identify with the characters. This is the type of neighborhood where you feel safe, but if trouble starts to brew, nobody wants to lift a finger to get involved (especially when a heavy-breathing madman is trying to skewer our young heroine.) Along with the setting, the movie takes place on Halloween!! The scariest night of the year! While most people are carving jack-o-lanterns, Michael Myers is looking to carve up some teenie-boppers. Besides the setting, there is some great acting. Jamie Lee Curtis does a serviceable job as our heroine, Laurie Strode, a goody-two-shoes high-schooler who can never seem to find a date. However, it is Donald Pleasance, as Dr. Sam Loomis, who really steals the show. His portrayal of the good doctor, who knows just what type of evil hides behind the black eyes of Michael Myers and feels compelled to send him to Hell once and for all, is the stuff of horror legend. However, it is the synthesizer score that really drives this picture as it seems to almost put the viewer into the film. Once you hear it, you will never forget it. I also enjoy the grainy feel to this picture. Nowadays, they seem to sharpen up the image of every movie, giving us every possible detail of the monster we are supposed to be afraid of. In Halloween, John Carpenter never really lets us get a complete look at Michael Myers. He always seems like he is a part of the shadows, and, I think that is what makes him so terrifying. There are many scenes where Michael is partly visible as he spies on the young teens (unbeknownst to them), which adds to his creepiness. If you think about, some wacko could be watching you right now and you wouldn't even know it. Unfortunately for our teenagers (and fortunately for us horror fans), when they find Michael, he's not looking for candy on this Halloween night..he's looking for blood. Finally, Michael Myers, himself, is a key element to this movie's effectiveness. His relentless pursuit of Laurie Strode makes him seem like the killer who will never stop. He is the bogeyman that will haunt you for the rest of your life. So,if you have not seen this movie (if there are still some of you out there who haven't, or even if you have), grab some popcorn, turn off every light, pop this into the old DVD and watch in fright. Trick or Treat!
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Scary as hell.
Ky-D9 April 2005
My personal favorite horror film. From the lengthy first tracking shot to the final story twist, this is Carpenter's masterpiece.

Halloween night 1963, little Michael Meyers murders his older sister. All-hallows-eve 1978, Michael escapes from Smith's Grove sanitarium. Halloween night, Michael has come home to murder again.

The story is perfectly simple, Michael stalks and kills babysitters. No bells or whistles, just the basics. It's Carpenter's almost over-powering atmosphere of dread that generates the tension. Like any great horror film, events are telegraphed long in advance, yet they still seem to occur at random, never allowing the audience to the chance to second guess the film.

The dark lighting, the long steady-cam shots, and (most importantly) that damn eerie music create the most claustrophobic and uncomfortable scenes I have yet to see in film. There is a body count, but compared to the slew of slashers after this it's fairly small. That and most of the murders are nearly bloodless. The fear is not in death, but in not knowing.

The acting is roundelay good. PJ Soles provides much of the films limited humor (and one of the best deaths), Nancy Loomis turns in a decent performance and then there is the young (at the time) Jamie Leigh-Curtis. Her performance at first seems shy and un-assured, yet you quickly realize that it is perfect for the character, who is herself shy and un-assured and not at all prepared for what she is to face. And of course there is the perfectly cast Donald Pleasence as the determined (perhaps a little unstable) Dr. Sam Loomis. Rest in peace Mr. Pleasence.

If the film has a detrimental flaw, it would be the passage of time. Since the release of this film so many years ago nearly countless clones, copies, rip-offs, and imitators have come along and stolen (usually badly) the films best bits until nearly everything about it has become familiar. Combined with the changes for audience expectations and appetites, one finds much of the films raw power diluted. To truly appreciate it in this day and age, it must be viewed as it once was, as something unique.

Never the less, I have no reservation with highly recommending this film to anyone looking for a good, scary time. Highest Reguards.

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The Greatest of the Slasher Flicks
Hotstar27 February 2005
John Carpenter's Halloween is quite frankly a horror masterpiece. It tells the immortal story of escaped mental patient Michael Myers, who returns to his hometown on Halloween night to stalk and kill a group of babysitters.

This was the first and without doubt the best in the Halloween franchise. Carpenter shows great restraint in pacing the story very slowly and building likable characters; unusual for a horror picture.

Even more unusual is the non-existence of blood and gore, and yet it remains the scariest Halloween to date.

Halloween marked the film debut of Jamie Lee Curtis and a defining point in the late great Donald Pleasence's career. A true classic.
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It *is* a classic
TheMgnt4 August 1998
To begin, this is a twenty year old film. Few films remain as suspenseful today as they did when it came out. (see: Night of the Living Dead -- had people running from the theatres when released but is very tame today). Clearly a movie fan brought up on the standards of today's movies will fail to find enjoyment of such 'classic' films. But when watching Halloween today perhaps it helps to consider a few things: Halloween was a low budget film (read: bad acting, poor special effects) made for only $300,000. It was not a product of Hollywood but a bunch of 20 year olds. This was the first film to feature the Boogeyman that Wouldn't Die which has been ripped off time and time again in the Friday the 13th, Elm Street, Scream, etc. You're used to it now, but Halloween did it first. Even Scream ripped off the look of the villian in Halloween. The theme of teenagers being stalked by a madman has been ripped of numerous times as well (again, Halloween did it first) but what seperates Halloween from the imitators is that it plays on traditional fears: The Thing that Wouldn't Die; the Boogeyman coming to get you; being followed and stalked; the boyfriend returning to the room under a bedsheet -- and it's not really him; someone hiding in the car... all things that have made our skin crawl in real life at one time or another. Watching Halloween tonight again for the first time in years I found myself again on the edge of my seat. Classic? Hell, yes. Maybe not to a generation who feels Scream was a 'good' horror movie but a classic none the less.
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A masterclass in horror
Jared_Andrews27 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
That mask. Wow, is that mask scary. The same can be said about the music. Even 40 years later it completely holds up in every way-it's iconic, it sounds great, it's scary and it's instantly recognizable. Amazingly, John Carpenter wrote and performed the music despite claiming that he cannot write a single note.

Before we see any part of the movie, we hear the music. Instantly, we feel unsettled. Then, watching through first-person stalker cam perspective and through the eyes of a Halloween mask, we observe a young boy peep on his sister then murder her.

Fast forward 15 years and this young boy, Michael Myers, has grown into a man while living in a mental hospital, never once speaking a word. As if summoned by some evil power, he breaks out and travels to his home town of Haddonfield on Halloween.

After breaking out and encountering people in the outside world, Michael still never says a word. It's another inspired filmmaking choice. Hearing his voice would humanize him in some way, instead all we hear is his heavy breathing.

Why Michael returned to his hometown is unclear, as is everything about Michael. That's brilliance of this movie-we never find out why Michael killed his sister, we never find out why he escaped the hospital and we never find out why he continues to kill.

We don't need to learn his reasons. No motive is scarier.

Also scary, he's human. He's not some monster with superpowers (if you ignore the sequels, like you should), he's just a severely disturbed person. Think about that. That means this story is something that could actually happen in any American small town. His victims were seemingly random, so they could be anyone. No one is safe.

Although, as I just mentioned, his killings are random, he does seem to take issue with people having sex. This started the now famous horror trope that characters who have sex are as good as dead.

This movie also popularizes the horror staple of victims who consistently make dumb decisions. Stop dropping the knife! Stop assuming he's dead! It's maddening.

Another aspect of the movie that stood out to me is its surprising lack of violence. There's virtually no blood or gore. Michael mostly strangles his victims. He uses his knife too, of course, but the killings aren't terribly graphic. It's refreshing change of pace from the excessive violence in modern slashers.

While Michael may seem invincible since he survives two stabbings and multiple gun shot wounds, he is not flawless. Upon my latest re-watch, I noticed how much he struggles with walking. Michael Myers is a hall of fame level killer, but he's a below average walker.

This likely a deliberate choice by director John Carpenter. Not only does Michael's slow walk build suspense, it also lends itself perfectly to the first-person camera shots. The patient, measured movements give him an eerie feel. He's lurking.

We see his lurking figure in many forms, each equally brilliant in its execution. Sometimes we see his outline as a shadow. Sometimes we see him ease into the corner of the frame behind a victim. Other times we see a distant shot of a house of character, then Michael partially steps in frame near the camera. Carpenter expertly mixes foreground and background in his shots to make Michael just far enough away that the characters don't see him but the audience does.

The movie builds and builds and builds. It's definitely scary from the opening scene, but it grows continuously scarier as we see the extent of Michael's killing spree. All the while, jump scares are sparsely used and are never fake. What I mean by that is when the music jars viewers, it's because Michael appears. The music never blares for fake scares, like when a cat runs across screen or a friend knocks on a door, which is annoying trend in recent horror films.

The only scary part of this film is Michael. Fortunately, he's plenty scary to carry the load.

'Halloween' is considered an ageless horror masterpiece. After re-watching it recently, I can clearly see why that is the case.
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boomcar6123 February 2005
Halloween(1978)stars a very young Jamie Lee Curtis, the late Donald Pleasance, and, among others, P.J. Soles(the cap-brat from Carrie). The story centers around the demented/catatonic-schizophrenic Michael Myers and the brutal, cold-blooded murder of his oldest sister in 1963(done by him). Now it is fifteen years later and Michael has escaped the sanitarium and is headed for Haddonfield, Illinois, home of Laurie Strode(Curtis), his sister who was adopted shortly after the 1963 murder. Laurie has no idea about her past and wanders around with her friends, seemingly free of worry, and unaware that her every step is under careful watch from hiding eyes.

In the long run I am at a loss for words. Everything is here. And it's even terrifying...and a slasher movie, what a combination. Slasher movies, to me, usually aren't scary. But Halloween is. Seriously, if you haven't seen it yet you are really missing out. It's a rare achievement in film history and is one of the best horror movies ever made. It's a perfect 10/10 all the way!!!
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Boogeyman's Gonna Get You!!!!
shuklavinash4 November 2015
So much has been said about John Carpenter's 'Halloween' that adding anything to it will be like adding a few drops of water to the ocean. People have their own opinions when they review 'Halloween', but I am going to share my own experiences that I had with 'Halloween'.

As the opening credits begin, we are introduced to a sinister looking pumpkin (Jack-O-Lantern) that looks spooky yet funny and harmless with its eyes, nose and jagged mouth lit by the candle inside. Looking at it for a few seconds, the viewers then begin reading the cast and crew names....Donald Pleasance in John Carpenter's 'Halloween', Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie.....P.J. Soles as Lynda...Nancy Kyes as Annie Brackett....then Featuring: Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews...and by the time you reach 'Irwin Yablans' and 'Debra Hill' part.....You are just shocked to see that the 'sinister looking pumpkin' you almost forgot is now so close to you that you have no chance to escape its evil eye! That's what Michael Myers is for me! That's the beauty of Halloween.....The evil sneaks close to you and the worst thing is YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO FACE IT!!!!

Michael Myers is faceless, but being faceless makes him more menacing and scary. The 'fear of unknown' is more bone-chilling than the 'fear of known'. Michael Myers is unpredictable. We know he is evil.....and he only wants to do evil for sure......but how would he do it? We never know this. He uses his silence as a cloak to hide his deadly yet unknown agendas.

Moving ahead in our lives, we always think it will be like that forever. Same old routine, going to college, working part time, chit-chatting with friends, teasing and gossiping. Life seems so easy, safe and enjoyable....Isn't it? But then a violent faceless 'shape' (Guess who 'The Shape' is!), whom we never thought of, shows up suddenly out of nowhere. His path of life, his point of view, his aim and his everything is entirely different from the common definitions and stuffs of life! You never noticed him (just like the sinister looking pumpkin) and remained busy in your daily chores, and eventually when he came very close....you realize that it's too late to escape death!

Halloween needs to be preserved for eternity. It's an amazing combination of horror, mystery, nostalgia and music and fortunately each of its aspects work so well that together they give us this towering masterpiece. John Carpenter taught me to believe in boogeyman. He taught me that they do exist. He taught me to keep an eye on the dangers that may be hiding in vicinity and finally he taught me to keep the lights on while watching 'Halloween'.

I really thank John Carpenter for making it way better than it was expected to be and for making something that has been scaring us for the last 37 years and I bet it will continue to do so till 'Horror' genre is alive.
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...but you cannot kill the boogeyman!!!
film-critic12 October 2005
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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The one, the only, Halloween! The scariest movie of all time!
Smells_Like_Cheese26 October 2002
Halloween is one of those movies that gets you skin deep! It is in my opinion, the scariest movie of all time. Michael Myers is the best boogeyman ever! He was just so terrifying! What makes Halloween so special is that there was no special effects where you can tell how computer animated it is, this was on a low budget and had a one note score, yet managed to scare the Hell out of people. 25 years and this movie still has the same effect as it did in '78.

It's about a boy Michael Myers, he kills his sister at the age of 6 and so many years later escapes the mental institution. Dr. Sam Loomis is after him and will do anything to get him back, since he describes Michael as "...pure evil. The blackest eyes, the Devil's eyes". Michael is on a mission though, to kill his other sister, Laurie, played by a new Jamie Lee Curtis. She has to babysit on Halloween, while her friends are out partying and of course, we know the rules, they get it! But Laurie may stand a chance since she's the virgin. ;D

Halloween pays many homages to Psycho, we have another character named Sam Loomis and Jamie Lee Curis, the daughter of Janet Leigh. Halloween is an absolute terrific movie that breaks boundaries and makes you lock the doors, bolt your windows, and turn off the lights! "They're gonna get you! They're gonna get you!". Halloween, the ultimate horror film!

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Even now I get a chill down the spine.
Sleepin_Dragon9 November 2015
I must have watched this movie a hundred times or more, apart from being possibly the greatest horror movie of all time, it's a damn good movie in its own right. Fantastic story, really well acted, plus it has one of the best musical scores I have ever heard. How many films can boast a soundtrack that can evoke such feelings as Halloween? not many. 37 years later and it's as watchable today as it was back then.

Talk about getting the acting balance spot on, Jamie Lee Curtis made the perfect victim, brilliantly set against Michael Myers, the perfect bad guy, and Donald Pleasance was utterly flawless as Doctor Loomis. I hadn't realised just how good Donald Pleasence was in this film, the speech he made was almost iconic.

It plays on so many of our fears, the young Michael in a clown mask, still as shocking today as it was back then. The thought of the bogeyman following you home, waiting on a street corner for you etc, the list is endless.

I cannot believe having just watched it the lack of blood and gore, goes to show it simply didn't need it, it's the suspense and fear that creates the horror.

There have been so many rip offs and 'homages' to Halloween, but there will only ever be one King of the Horror films, and that's Halloween! Thank you John Carpenter. 10/10
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Do Not Watch Alone!
yodaccm6 September 2007
This was a movie that I had heard about all my life growing up, but had never seen it until a few years ago. It's reputation truly proceeded it. I knew of Michael Myers, had seen the mask, saw commercials for all of the crummy sequels that followed. But I was growing up during the decade where Jason and Freddy had a deadly grip on the horror game, and never thought much of the Halloween franchise. Boy, how I was being cheated with cheap knock offs.

Halloween is a genuinely terrifying movie. Now, by today's standards, it isn't as graphic and visceral, but this film delivers on all the other levels most horror movies fail to achieve today. The atmosphere that John Carpenter creates is so creepy, and the fact that it is set in a quaint, mid-west town is a testament to his ability. The lighting effects are down right horrifying, with "The Shape" seemingly appearing and disappearing into the shadows at will. The simple yet brutally effective music score only adds to the suspense.

The performances by all the players are well done, with specific nods to Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance. Ms. Curtis is such a good Laurie Strode because she is so likable and vulnerable. It is all the more frightening when she is being stalked by Michael Myers because the director and viewer have invested so much into her, we want her to survive and get away.

Donald Pleasance plays Dr. Loomis like a man on a mission, and it works well. He adds a sense of urgency to the predicament the town finds itself in because he knows what evil stalks their streets.

Overall, not only is Halloween a great horror movie, but also a great film. It works on many levels and draws the audience in and never lets up. This should be standard viewing for anyone wanting to experience a truly scary movie. And for an even more frightful time, try watching it alone with the lights off. Don't be surprised if you think you see "The Shape" lurking around in the shadows!
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THE perfect horror film!
bluebird_blake28 March 2005
Halloween is one of the best examples of independent film. It's very well made and has more psychological elements to it than you might realize at first glance. It is a simple movie told very well. The music is perfect and is one of the most haunting scores... If you haven't seen this movie yet, you must check it out. The cast is all terrific. I wish they had never made sequel after sequel. The first one was by far the best and should have ended like it did without having a sequel. It was fun to see Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie. She hasn't seemed to age (she's just as gorgeous today, without the hairdo and seventies clothes). The scenes through the mask are one of the scariest things ever!
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Another movie I never miss during the Halloween season
PyreworksShow1 August 2007
The first time I saw this movie, I fell in love with it. The atmosphere was what caught my attention first and foremost. I expected a gore fest, but instead got to watch a highly intelligent killer mess with my head to a chilling soundtrack (it's actually my ringer at the moment :P). The fact that I couldn't predict when he'd kill and when he'd disappear was a major plus in my book. Predictable horror movies bore me. Now, I know the storyline had some discrepancies, but, if you're like me, you don't even notice them until long after the movie's over and you're laying in bed mauling over the fact that you just witnessed a masterpiece in motion. Finally, as I mentioned, the soundtrack is timeless. It's one of my all time favorite theatrical scores, so I was very happy to hear that Rob Zombie is leaving it untouched in his remake. Speaking of the remake, I read a very comprehensive article on it and, now that I know that Mr. Zombie reveres John Carpenter, I have high hopes for his take on this classic. This movie is great for any time you have a craving for a spine tingling, but it's the perfect addition, opener, finale, you name it for an All Hallow's Eve movie marathon. :)
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A true and deserving horror classic. Thanks John Carpenter.
NpMoviez19 October 2019
Whenever we talk about the classic slasher films, we must mention at least two names - A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Halloween (1978). That's what this movie is - a pure classic. You know what Friday the 13th films are? Something that started with a RIPOFF of Halloween. That's how important this film is! Who knows? Had it not been successful, we might have never got a Friday the 13th films at all!

Good : This usually is in my negatives in a slasher film, but here, it is in the positives - the characters. The characters we get introduced to in this film are very interesting. It doesn't feel like as if they're there to get killed, except for a final lady character. Laurie, our main girl played by Jamie Lee Kurtis, stands out to be one of my favorite final girls in the so-called classic slashers. Her friends are not just blant and useless characters either. They are not as interesting as Laurie, but they do entertain us either by getting killed or by interacting with other characters. I won't say all the characters are memorable, that's (perhaps) never the case in these type of films, but at least they don't feel forced and boring. Michael Myers. The tiny introduction to the character, for me, was sufficient to get behind him. We actually get to see what happened to him, or what made him the killer that he was. In short, Michael Myers was a good antagonist for me. However, all these are the secondary factors, which make this film good. The main aspects that need to be acknowledged for making this film so good, even after 40 years, would be John Carpenter. His imagination gave us Michael Myers. His screenplay served as the basis of this film. His music in this film gave chills. His direction made it a classic. I don't think the screenplay was a unique piece of writing. It could've been used to make a dumb Friday the 13th film too. It's the direction of Carpenter that made the movie so good. Throughout the film, we can feel the creepy presence of Michael Myers and we do not have a single moment to relax. That's something which makes a film like this work. Not just kills. Or loud sound effects. This movie apparently understood it very well. The suspense and the thrills are built very effectively and all of the thrills are worth the respective conclusions. The third act is a rollercoaster ride, to be honest. What I am going to say now can be put in "mixed" aspects, but I am not going to do so. If you show this movie to someone who has watched the modern day slasher films, he or she will definitely say "what's the big deal, the movie is clichéd". I would definitely agree to that - had it been a movie made in this date. It was made back when such films weren't so popular and if you think that this movie is obvious, you must know that movies like these are the ones which apparently gave us the clichéd template of slashers. It is a trend setter, in that respect. A movie being a trend setter is one of its biggest accomplishments. One more positive about this film. Compared to Nightmare and Friday films, the ending works in this movie. I would definitely say that the ending is quite similar to that of the first Friday and first Nightmare movie. There's a lot of mystery behind Michael Myers and they barely acknowledge him as "inhuman" - not confirming as if he was a supernatural entity or just an emotionless killer - and, he looks like a human. Even though we know enough about Myers to get behind him, even though Myers gets over with us, we still don't know many things about him. So, the ending makes us more curious about the character and hypes up for the sequel, even though it wasn't meant to be given sequels. It absolutely wasn't shoehorned to make room for the sequels like in the other two franchises I mentioned. Yet another positive. The character of Dr. Loomis is an integral part of what makes the story engaging. If you compare the first Nightmare film with it, we like the first Nightmare film because we get to know a great deal about Freddy and the psychological horror aspect of the movie was engaging. So, it didn't really need a "stopping agent" like Loomis. But comparing with Friday films, it lacks a character like Loomis to hold the movie tightly, which becomes a weak compilation of slicing scenes (roughly speaking). Dr. Loomis may not seem like a character which was integral to the movie. But, had he not been there, the movie might not have worked so well. I often get confused about which movie - among this one and first Nightmare film - I like the most. But, I always tend to put this one above just because of the ending that doesn't bug me.

Conclusion : It's one of those movies which deserve to be called "classic". Even though the tropes may seem familiar, it was perhaps the first one to use such tropes so effectively. Thus, viewing in the retrospect will make you enjoy this movie even more. . . Rating. .

Score : absolute 10/10

Grade : A+
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The Best of the Teenage Horror Films
ctrout8 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Halloween is the story of a boy who was misunderstood as a child. He takes out his problems on his older sister, whom he murders at the beginning of the film. This is just the start of things to come from Michael Myers.

Donald Pleasance plays the doctor who's been studying Myers for years. He knows that something is different about him, something mysteriously evil. This evil will not be contained, and it cannot be stopped.

After an escape from an institution, Myers tracks down his younger sister. If he kills her, there may be an end to the troubles of this misunderstood boy. But he seems to have problems in finishing his sister off as other people get in the way. He manages to take them out while still looking for that one girl he needs.

There have been a lot of those horror movies involving teenagers getting hacked to pieces by a masked or gruesome killer. But this one started it all, sort of. If you think about it, most of those horror movies we all remember are the ones that have Freddy Kruger or Jason chasing around half naked girls. Well, if it wasn't for Halloween, those characters wouldn't have haunted our dreams when we were children.

Halloween's director, John Carpenter, got a lot out of the horror movies of the '50s and combined everything he knew into one film that scared the hell out of a lot of people back in the late '70s. This films solidified him as a director to watch and also jump started the career of Jamie Lee Curtis, who plays the girl being stalked by the masked killer.

This film may seem cliché today, but back then there wasn't much out there like this. It's been copied from and ripped off of, but Halloween will always remain the quintessential teenage horror movie. It still gives you chills listening to Carpenter's thrilling music while we see another victim get chased by that shadowy Michael Myers.
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Hands down classic horror film
DunnDeeDaGreat13 July 2002
Halloween is a hands down classic horror film. John Carpenter made a film that was often imaited but never duplicated. The camera angles are one of the many things that make the film scary. Carpetner allows the viewer to see through the eyes of the killer with the subjective camera and then there's the classic music score. Jamie Lee Curtis had a star making role in this movie and if you've never seen the film you should.
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The Most Influential Of All Slasher Films!
CinemaClown31 October 2015
Possibly the most influential of all slasher films, John Carpenter's Halloween is the reason why this particular subgenre of horror even exists in the first place. Although it wasn't the first of its kind, it certainly was the game-changer for almost every other slasher flick that followed this low-budget indie horror only ended up imitating the formula that this classic originated.

Set in Haddonfield, Illinois, the story of Halloween begins on the titular night in 1963 where we witness the 6-years old Michael Myers stabbing his older sister to death with a kitchen knife. The plot then jumps 15 years in the span of which Myers remained silent in a mental hospital he was confined to, only to escape from the facility and returns to his hometown to kill some more.

Co-written & directed by John Carpenter, whose innate ability to churn out quality pictures from mere scraps of filmmaking elements has earned him a place amongst world cinema's most influential filmmakers, Halloween is one of the finest works of his career that presents the director in complete control of his craft, and the way he sets the pace & eerie tone from the beginning is a delight to watch.

Carpenter creates an uncanny mood during the title sequence only which has nothing but a jack-o-lantern on the black screen, accompanied by the now iconic score, and follows it up with an expertly shot prologue which instantly brings the audience into the story. The script is equally impressive for the character of Michael Myers is handled with extreme care, and the writers leave no stone unturned to show him as an unstoppable force of evil.

The technical aspects are skilfully executed, and every dollar of its low budget is efficiently used in service of the story. Setting the plot in a suburban location turns the very openness of the area into a playground of mayhem. Cinematography is inventive for the camera stalks our characters at all times, benefits from some ingenious placements, and is further uplifted by clever lighting while Editing makes sure that the suspenseful ambiance is kept alive from start to finish.

But the biggest contributor, in my opinion, is John Carpenter's minimal, synthesised score for it elevates the tension to a whole different level and greatly amplifies the desired effect of its disquieting camera-work & editing. Whenever its main theme surfaces on the screen, there's an uneasiness felt in those moments & whispers of an ominous presence dominate those sequences. It's one of Carpenter's most notable musical pieces & is a major reason behind this film's success.

Coming to the acting department, Halloween features a budget-friendly cast in Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis & Nick Castle. The film marks Curtis' acting debut and she does a neat job as Laurie; a high-school student who's continuously stalked by Myers throughout the movie. Pleasence is in as Myers' psychiatrist and the only person who knows what this homicidal maniac is capable of. And Soles & Loomis do a fine job as Laurie's friends who are also pursued by Myers.

But it's the character of Michael Myers and how he's portrayed in this film that establishes him as one of the greatest antagonists in cinema history. Using nothing but a cheap mask that conveys no emotions, keeping him mute throughout the story & giving him an almost mythic strength that renders him invincible, Carpenter presents Myers as a devil incarnate who kills without empathy, and intelligently uses his presence in the film to build a sinister aura, not to mention the very aspects of this character has gone on to inspire many more villains.

On an overall scale, Halloween remains one of the genre-defining films of the 1970s whose narrative structure has been adopted as a blueprint for slasher films ever since and its vast influence on cinema & pop culture cannot be downplayed. There were a couple of moments that bothered me but for the most part, this is a thrilling, entertaining & satisfying ride from Carpenter that is every bit worthy of its legendary status. A lesson in horror filmmaking that downplays the elements of gore & graphic violence to show the lasting effect a consistently maintained tense ambiance can have on the viewers, Halloween is the very definition of a slasher film.
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Best Horror Film Of All Time
Halloween12471 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Halloween directed by John Carpenter, the movie that started the decade trend of slasher films.

Halloween tells the story of Michael Myers( Nick Castle ), who stabbed his 15-year old sister on Halloween night when he was 6-years old. After being locked up in a mental institution for 15 years, he escapes and begins to stalk a group of high school babysitters. The only character who knows of Michael's capabilities is his psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis.

Loomis (Donald Pleasance) believes that Michael is not a human, but an incarnation of evil that will perform acts of murder of eternity. Loomis knows Michael better than anyone else. No one else understands Michael's true capabilities and thinks that Loomis is just being paranoid. Even though Loomis searches for Michael, he is unsuccessful in stopping Michael for most of the film and has little effect on story until the end. Loomis only exist to provide exposition and insight into Michael's actions.

Michael Myers is less of a man and more of a force of nature in physical form. Michael is shown to know how to drive or disable the power to a house, even though he has been sitting in a chair staring at a wall for 15 years. Michael moves in a mechanical fashion, every move Michael makes is done deliberately and efficiently. An injury only temporarily stops Michael, and he is shown to appear and disappear without reason. The original does not give a motive for his killings, giving Michael a kind of mystique. The mask he wears in a white Captain Kirk mask, a neutral face. Michael's victims are forced to die seeing a blank face that is indifferent about killing them.

The main character Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis) is different from her friends as she is shown to be caring and selfless. Laurie chooses to babysit on Halloween with her friend Annie who drops off the child she herself should have be watching, so that she can go out and have a good time with her boyfriend. Laurie was different though, she watched the child was supposed to and one she did not have to. Laurie even provides some Halloween activities for the kids she babysits. Laurie is a good friend and a good babysitter, so because of these traits in her character, Michael is unable to kill her.

Halloween isn't an isolated horror film. It does not take place in a far-off hotel or the middle of the woods, but in a far more relatable setting of a pair of neighborhood houses. Cries for help are ignored by neighbors who do not want to get involved. Halloween makes good use of the dark nighttime setting. Michael appears to dissolve and appear in the shadows.

The soundtrack by John Carpenter is a haunting, atmospheric soundtrack. It makes the ordinarily seem ominous and unsettling. The sound is what really makes the movie scary and sets the tone.

The film uses certain techniques to hide Michael. Most of time Michael is just a shape in the background, just watching. The opening is a seamless sequence of Michael's P.O.V as he enters the house and kills his sister. This opening leaves the impression that anyone is capable of murder, especially a young child.

The movie ends with Loomis preventing the death of Laurie Strode by shooting Michael out of a 2nd story window. When Loomis goes to check the body, it is revealed that Michael has disappeared. The closing statement is that evil never dies and that it is out there and can be anywhere.

Highly Recommended

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The Horror Film That Started It All!
gab-1471211 February 2019
1978's Halloween is the definitive horror film. Without this classic, there wouldn't be the 80's slasher flicks we come to know and love today (or do we?). There would be no Nightmare on Elm Street. Genre films are important in today's cinematic world, but would they be if John Carpenter decided not to direct this little tiny horror film? This film went on to spawn endless amounts of sequels and reboots and they practically all failed quality-wise when compared to this film (although the 2018 sequel that ignored the previous movies was very good).

Honestly, it amazes me how John Carpenter was able to create one of the scariest movies ever made. The movie was made on such a low budget, $300,000 to be exact. The movie ended up grossing 47 million dollars domestically and an additional 23 million worldwide thus making the movie the most successful independent movie of all time. The film was well-received when it first appeared onscreen. In fact, esteemed critic Roger Ebert placed the movie in this top ten films of 1978 and he is often a vocal critic of slasher films.

The movie itself is very scary and it works just as well as a psychological thriller as a slasher movie. There is very little gore and hardly any blood, which absolutely surprised me. The majority of the violence takes place offscreen. It is a testament to the uncanny craftmanship of director/screenwriter/composer Carpenter, lead actress Jamie Lee Curtis, screenwriter Debra Hill, and among others to create a franchise that made Michael Myers a forever legend.

I mentioned earlier that Halloween was a movie that popularized the genre, thus creating similar slasher films in the 1980's and beyond. Besides that, this movie made many horror movie tropes we see today popular. For example, this movie had the final girl trope, it made a daring movie killing off any characters with a hint of promiscuity or substance abuse, and also Carpenter had scenes showing murders from the killer's point of view. The whole opening sequence involving 6-year old Michael Myers killing his sexually active sister was shown through the little peephole eyes of Michael's costume. Perhaps the most important is the portrayal of women. Critics are vocal how later slasher films are misogynistic and they blame Halloween. Even so, women are given a more stronger stand in this movie and in later movies. Prior to this film, women were helpless people that were saved by the strong male character. Here, Jamie Lee Curtis was able to fend for herself mostly without the help of any male character.

It's a cold night in Haddonfield, Illinois in the year 1963. Michael Myers, a 6-year-old boy, murdered his sister in cold blood. He was taken away to the Warren County Sanitarium and placed under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance). Dr. Loomis was able to see the pure evilness of Michael Myer's soul when no one else could. 15 years later, Michael escapes and Dr. Loomis witnesses the escape. Loomis heads to Haddonfield to warn the town because he knows that is where the villain is heading. Teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), and her friends may be the next victims of Michael Myers. Can they do anything to save themselves?

The performances are excellent. Jamie Lee Curtis was an unknown at the time, although she happened to be the daughter of Janet Leigh, the star of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Hitchcock was one of Carpenter's idols when it came to the making of this movie. Anyhow, Curtis was a revelation and ultimately gave a convincing portrayal of a quiet, small-town girl turning into a badass warrior in a way. Donald Pleasance added veteran poise to the movie as the male hero, and he had some fantastic scenes and memorable lines of dialogue. His quote, "I met him, 15 years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding in even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this... six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and... the blackest eyes - the Devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil," may be the best quote of the movie as he describes what we are dealing with.

Overall, Halloween is one of the best films of 1978 and it is the horror movie that set the ground for future horror/slasher films. The tropes we see in today's horror films were introduced in this film. The movie does not rely upon gore or blood as it more wants to play tricks with your brain. It's scary, visceral, and suspenseful. The acting, the direction, and music are what made this movie so good. The ever-famous score by Carpenter gave much suspense to the movie just like John Williams did with 1975's Jaws. Before Freddy Kreuger or Jason, we got Michael Myers. If you like horror films, this should be at the top of your list. If you do not like being scared, give this movie a pass.

My Grade: A-
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One of the best films of all time
leestallion5521 April 2006
This film is one of the best of all time, certainly in the horror genre. The claustrophobic atmosphere is outstanding, the music is just as good as the film and the killer is as creepy as can be! Actors are fantastic, RIP Donald Pleasance you were fantastic as Dr Loomis, he made the film even better. Without him the film would be missing a vital ingredient. Jamie Lee Curtis is also superb as our beloved scream queen! Her innocence makes her unaware of the real evil that is after her until she finds her friends grossly murdered in the house, which of course is one of the films best scenes. She gives a tremendous performance. I loved this film since it scared me like hell back when I seen it in the very early 80's and I still watch it to this day as it is a marvellous movie that just brings you in to this world were you could be gutted like a fish at every turn! The fact that it is a simple format of a mad man in a mask whom has escaped from a mental asylum and ready to kill everyone in sight without them having any idea that he is there, is just shockingly terrifying and indulges you even more into the movie as the events though fiction could easily be come true. We all know that unfortunately evil does exist in this world and a mad man with a knife is certainly not uncommon, a very disturbing an deep fear for all of this. Death at any turn. Halloween of course shows this in it's most terrifying way. Horror should be believable, and that is what makes the film enjoyable. It's just a simple story that is made into an excellent and terrifying atmosphere. As well as Psycho's superb storyline, both of which I adore, I believe there formats are the best horror has to offer. To me Halloween and Psycho are the best films I have ever seen and I will watch them all my life and never grow tired of them. Halloween is undoubtedly one of the best movies of all time.
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The Bogeyman strikes
peterantrobus10 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
*****SPOILER FREE***** I'll lay the cards on the table, and say this is perhaps the greatest horror film of all time. When asked the question 'what movie would you like to see on the big screen? The answer will resoundingly always be Halloween.

Halloween manages to have you on the edge of your seat, poised to cover your eyes with a blanket. Michael Myers, the mask, the music, Jamie Lee Curtis as the perfect victim, the list is endless, so many elements combine to make it the greatest horror of all time.

I had nightmares as a child, peering through a gap in the door as my parents watched it, the bed sheet/ghost scene is as harrowing now as it was back then.

>>>>>as Halloween approaches order the popcorn, shut the blinds and put this movie on>>>>>
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THE staple of modern horror!
Nightman8523 December 2005
Classic, highly influential low budget thriller that gave birth to a horror icon and launched the careers of both director Carpenter and star Curtis.

Seemingly unstoppable murderer escapes from mental institution and returns to his hometown where he begins to stalk a local babysitter on Halloween.

Halloween is a film that never fails to live up to its reputation as a horror masterpiece! Carpenter's frightening story and clever direction give this film such chillingly good life that it must be seen to really be felt! The direction often consists of such simple elements, shadows, dark streets, creaking doors, that it makes even the everyday setting of a small town neighborhood truly creepy. Carpenter well-times his suspense and his jolting shocks to make them the most effectively startling, that in itself is a feat few horror filmmakers ever manage! Plus, he is wise enough to give us some truly likable young characters and a very scary villain to keep the tension all the more strong. Highest kudos also go to Carpenter's simple, yet frighteningly unnerving music score. In a sense, Halloween is a fine example of a perfect horror film!

The cast is excellent. Young Jamie Lee Curtis does a very nice turn as lovable babysitter Laurie Strode, she's so good that she would go on to be in a number of other horror films before breaking into bigger films. The great Donald Pleasants does a perfect performance as a Myer's doctor, who's desperate to capture him again. Supporting cast Loomis, Soles, Castle, and others are good too.

So like its own villain, Halloween is an unstoppable force that never fails to thrill and chill. It is a MUST for all genre fans!

**** out of ****
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Halloween- Classic chills
Ibuk15 November 2007
I have only managed to see this classic for the first time a few weeks ago. Being made almost 30 years ago I thought the scary moments would be rather tame. Boy was I wrong. There are some great moments that sent shivers down my spine. Even the acting was great, Jamie Lee Curtis was fantastic and Donald Pleasance was superb.

On the downside it can be rather slow to start but once it gets going there is no stopping it. It makes all the copycats, e.g. Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream look very tame. I can't really say it is Carpenter's best because I have not seen many of his, the only one I can remember of his is Starman (I think he made it). Halloween is the crowning achievement of the horror genre.
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