Halloween (1978)

Halloween is a 1978 American independent horror film directed, produced, and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut. The brainchild of executive producer Irwin Yablans (Hell Night), and originally titled The Babysitter Murders, the film was the first instalment in what became the Halloween franchise.

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Halloween was produced on a budget of $320,000 and grossed $47 million at the box office in the United States, and $70 million worldwide, equivalent to over $234 million as of 2012, becoming one of the most profitable independent films. Many critics credit the film as the first in a long line of slasher films inspired by Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho (1960). Halloween had many imitators and originated several clichés found in low-budget horror films of the 1980s and 1990s. Unlike many of its imitators, Halloween contains little graphic violence and gore. In 2006, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Plot teaser:

On Halloween 1963 in Haddonfield, Illinois, six year old Michael Myers murders his older sister by stabbing her with a kitchen knife.

Fifteen years later, he escapes from a psychiatric hospital, returns home, and stalks teenager Laurie Strode and her friends. Michael’s psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis suspects Michael’s intentions, and follows him to Haddonfield to try to prevent him from killing…

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Reviews:

“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.” Variety, December 31, 1977

“A genuinely scary, stylistic and tasteful, extremely well-crafted slasher/horror classic.” Filmsite.org

“A superb essay in Hitchcockian suspense, which puts all its sleazy Friday the 13th imitators to shame with its dazzling skills and mocking wit. Rarely have the remoter corners of the screen been used to such good effect as shifting volumes of darkness and light reveal the presence of a sinister something.” Time Out

“Innovative (check out the gliding camera moves for starters), inventive (it cost zilch, so the young crew used all their ingenuity), compelling and featuring watchable turns from Curtis, Pleasence and co, John Carpenter and Debra Hill’s film is a genuine landmark in the horror-thriller genre.” Film4

Halloween nails the quintessential quality of its message: its menace is faceless and, for most of the film, seen only as a shape or as the gaze of the camera. Myers isn’t shackled by humanizing elements like motivation or fancy gimmicks. He is distinctive in his lack of identity. His only purpose is to be a deadly power pursuing girls and boys awakening to their sexuality … The real merit is in crafting the antagonist as an archetype: Not an angry human like Freddy Krueger, not a wild animal like Leatherface and not a phantom with a vendetta like Jason Vorhees. Myers is just violence drawn by adolescent sex drive, for no reason other than that’s scary” Matthew Funk, Let’s Kill Everybody

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Buy Halloween Ultimate Blu-ray Limited Edition Collection from Amazon.com

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On September 24 2013, Anchor Bay and Trancas International released the 35th Anniversary Blu-ray of Halloween, with an all-new HD transfer personally supervised by the film’s cinematographer,  Dean Cundey, a new 7.1 audio mix (as well as the original mono audio), a brand-new feature length audio commentary by writer/director John Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis, “The Night She Came Home” an all-new bonus feature with Ms. Curtis, as well as selected legacy bonus features from previous ABE releases.

Buy Halloween 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray from Amazon.com

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Wikipedia | IMDb 

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Categories: 1970s, American horror, serial killer, slasher, supernatural

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