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
When Terry Gross interviewed Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel live in front of an audience for a fundraiser for radio station WBEZ in Chicago in 1996, Terry asked them about the scariest movie they have seen. Roger mentioned how the first "Halloween" movie was extremely scary and then recounted how when Gene saw it at a local movie theater, he was so scared, he took a cab home, even though he only lived two blocks from the movie theater. Gene then recounted how when he got home, he went to the shower and pulled the curtain back to see if anyone was in there. See more »
Dr. Loomis and Marion travel to Smith's Grove to retrieve Michael from the "Illinois State Hospital" as evidenced by the sign on the fence. But Elgin State Hospital in Elgin, Illinois has been the state hospital for Illinois since the 1870s. See more »
[arriving at Smith's Grove and seeing patients walk the grounds]
Since when do they let them just wander around?
See more »
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 »
When aired on TV, the following scene was altered: When Sheriff Brackett and Loomis are talking, the sheriff names off what kids are doing, his line of "Getting high" was changed to "Acting sly." See more »
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.
173 of 218 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this