In Loving Memory of Donald Pleasence (1919-1995)
 

It is hard to believe that "Halloween" came out 20 years ago. John Carpenter's classic helped to establish the slasher genre and open the flood gates for those that followed. It was another of the great films that really turned me onto horror.

The idea for Halloween came to Irwin Yablan  while he was attending a film festival in Milan during 1977. He was impressed by the giallo films of Argento and Bava. Argento had his gloved killer, Carpenter had his masked maniac. A new wave of exploitational films were about to hit America and this time teenagers would feel the wrath.

Michael Myers....The Shape. Two distinct individuals....one psychotic killing machine. He must be recognized as one of the great horror icons of the modern day era. Michael (no I don't mean Jackson), Freddy, Jason, Pinhead, and Leatherface were our equivalent of the classic Universal monster of the 30's and 40's. The slasher genre was very integral to the resurgence of horror in the 1980's. It's success opened the door for the rest of horror. Whether you like these films or not, without them you wouldn't have Evil Dead, The Howling, Hellraiser, Re-Animator, A Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. So give these movies some credit. To the same extreme, they will probably bring us the death of horror in the 90's with the success of "Scream". We are going to be sequeled to death!!!!!!

Well enough from my soapbox....back to "Halloween". This movie had it all. A great story, great music, and of course, an indestructible killer. Carpenter crafted the best of the slasher films without the gore of those that followed.  This film is very well paced and the excellent score added to the suspense. I nearly shit my pants (well not really, but you know how I felt) when I saw Michael Myers sit up.  This movie is just classic horror at its best.

I know the debate will linger about who is the best slasher. I prefer Jason to both Michael and Freddy, but if I were to rank the first installment in each series it would  definitely go: Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th. But if I were to rank the three series overall the order would be reversed with Friday the 13th leading the way and the Halloween series would be a distance third.

Not only is Halloween the greatest holiday, but "Halloween" is the greatest slasher film. This film helped to firmly establish John Carpenter's career in Hollywood allowing him to make other great films such as "Escape from New York", "The Thing", "They Live", "Prince of Darkness", and "Big Trouble in Little China".  As always if  there is anything you can add to this page, please email me.

 

Halloween

The story begins like any other. It is Halloween night and all the kids are out trick or treating. But that is where the  ordinary ends and the terror begins, because this year someone is going to die. It seems that little Michael Myers has developed a thirst for killing and he wacks his sister. Off he goes to the asylum , but luckily for us the systems isn't going to let him out, right??? His psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) is the only one that can sense the evil that rages in this little boy and he is scared.

The story jumps to fifteen years later and guess what holiday is right around the corner....Veteran's Day? No silly, Halloween. Michael who can't wait to be set free by the systems takes his fate into his own hands and escapes. He heads back to  Haddonfield to finish what he started.

Flash to Haddonfield. We see that a young blond (& future scream queen) Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) has a little trouble heading her way. Sex, drugs, and Blue Oyster Cult fill the air. Slowly, but surely Michael begins his rampage of killing in search of what, I cannot say (you will have to watch Halloween II to find out that little secret). Poor little Laurie does everything in her power to stop this madman, including stabbing him with knitting needles, poking his eyes out with a hanger, and using his own knife on him. Not even Dr. Loomis can stop him by dumping 6 shots into him. Do we really think the nightmare is over? No, it has only just begun.    

 

Frightful Facts

  • The original title for this film was "The Babysitter Murders."

  • The budget for Halloween was $320,000.

  • It was a 22 day shoot.

  • They used the name Haddonfield for the town in "Halloween", because Producer Debra Hill grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

  • Compass International Pictures, the distributor of "Halloween", didn't have the capital to release it nationwide at first. It was only after its initial success in a number of markets did they have the funds to make additional copies for wider release.

  • The name "Sam Loomis" was the name of John Gavin's character in "Psycho".

  • Halloween is one of the most successful independent film ever made, grossing over $65 million.

  • John Carpenter has cited both "The Exorcist" and "Suspiria" as inspirations for the music in "Halloween".

  • The mask Michael wears is a "Captain Kirk" mask painted white.

  • "The Bowling Green Symphony Orchestra" was credited with the score for Halloween. Actually, John Carpenter did the entire score. It is definitely one of the classic horror scores of all-time.

  • "Halloween" was Jamie Lee Curtis' debut in a feature film.

Visit the "official" Halloween website.

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Click on box cover for these recommendations
Halloween 2Halloween 3: Season of the WitchHalloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael MyersHalloween 6: The Curse of Michael MyersHalloween H20

Click on image to navigate our other
"Halloween" pages.

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 Frightful Facts

Buy Anchor Bay's 25th Anniversary Edition of "Halloween" on DVD at Amazon.com

Buy the original soundtrack for  "Halloween" at  Amazon.com

Buy the poster for the original "Halloween" at Amazon.com

Buy "Halloween II" on DVD at Amazon.com

Buy "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" on DVD at Amazon.com

  

                                                          

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