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Overall Rating
4.41

Awesome69.55%
Worth A Look: 15.64%
Average: 6.17%
Pretty Bad: 3.29%
Total Crap: 5.35%

9 reviews, 189 user ratings



Halloween (1978)
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by Dr. Isaksson

"Halloween is the trickiest treat of all horror films."
5 stars

Halloween is a testament to the craft of cinema that you don't need millions of dollars, top Hollywood stars or many months of filming to create a film of disturbing, chilling brilliance. Also a film that can become a box office smash. This is the legacy of John Carpenter's Halloween.

Halloween was filmed in 21 days, for three hundred thousand dollars in the spring of 1978. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis,(In her breakout role), and the late, great English actor Donald Pleasance. Remarkably, the real star of the film is a man who speaks no words throughout the entire film, the psychotic killer Michael Myers (played by Nick Castle).

On a Halloween Night in 1963, a little boy named Michael Myers stabbed his older sister to death. The great question then arises. How could an eight year old boy commit such an act of cruel brutality? What was going on inside his young mind? No one can seem to find the answer to this gruesome murder. All but one man, a Dr.Sam Loomis, spends the next 15 years trying to crack through the boy's stone-like exterior, trying to discover what lies within the boy's mind, and in his soul. Many years pass without event but on the night before Halloween in 1978, the full grown Michael Myers escapes from the Smith Grove Mental Home. His destination is Haddonfield Illinois, the town where he committed the murder as a child. His purpose, to visit his old home and watch the various people who now live within the quiet suburb. Here begins the quest for Dr. Loomis to find his escaped patient before he strikes again.

John Carpenter then takes us into the town of Haddonfield and shows us around a quiet Illinois suburb during the Halloween season. We are introduced to three teenage girlfriends, Laurie Strode, a shy and quiet girl of 17, and Laurie's two best friends. The smart aleck Annie and the ditzy cheerleader Linda. On the night of Halloween, Laurie and Annie are baby-sitting for two different families right across the street from one another. We are taken along for the ride, knowing all the while that a full grown Michael Myers is roaming the streets in a stolen car, wearing a car mechanic's uniform and a white featureless mask. He has seen Laurie early on Halloween morning and takes an interest in her. For the rest of the day he watches the three unsuspecting teenagers. Of course night begins to fall and without revealing to much of the film, Michael Myers begins to reenact the murderous evil that possessed him 15 years before with horrific determination.

John Carpenter doesn't just show you a slasher on the loose. He doesn't just spoon feed you the story of a killer and why that killer has to kill. Carpenter lets you experience and live through the unease and horror along with the actors. Every moment you watch Halloween you are pulled into the film, willingly or unwillingly. You know that an evil killer is lingering just behind the bushes, standing just within the shadows. Carpenter directs Halloween in a masterful level that he rarely has ever been able to achive again. he makes great use of 'the steady cam' (which is a camera that harnesses onto the camera man) and moves it about in an uneven and jarring way. This is extremely effective during the attack sequences for it gives the viewer a feeling of unease, like you are running along side of Laurie Strode as she tries to escape from Michael or that you are also trapped inside of the closet while a murderer without a face is bashing the doors in on you. This technique of allowing the camera to spin and move along side the actors produces a dizzying and truly unique effect in horror films. Another unique aspect to Halloween is John Carpenter's brilliant score. He composed all the film's music and uses it with perfect precision. Moments of terror are only heightened by the blaring, relentless screech of a synthesizer or the pounding of a piano. Carpenter's great knowledge of when to use sound to heighten the drama certainly makes Halloween all the more memorable.

The performances of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie and Donald Pleasance as Loomis are both exceptional and only enhance the film's purpose. To get to you to care about these people and then to scare the crap out of you.

What I find really unusual about the film is that the viewer is given no clear answer as to why the killer kills or why he will not die. Halloween is too real for such a cut-and-paste conclusion. Instead it ends on a much scarier note. All is unanswerable and unexplainable. Halloween has now been partly responsible for countless copy cat slasher films, where a killer goes around killing unsuspecting teens and then never dies. But John Carpenter's Halloween remains far above the rest. Carpenter said that filming Halloween was like being on a picnic. He had never had such fun. And this ease of creation simply worked to everyone's advantage, Carpenter's and we the viewers. It is one of the best horror films in the world of cinema.

John Carpenter's Halloween should be placed on a much higher level than the typical 'teen slasher flick.' This is the kind of film that pulls you in and leaves you breathless. ***** 5 Stars

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1126&reviewer=296
originally posted: 01/24/02 08:33:37
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User Comments

3/30/17 Blake Patterson A thrilling masterpiece from beginning to the shocking conclusion. 5 stars
10/02/16 morris campbell my favorite horror film of all time forget the haters 5 stars
4/26/14 Peep Boring and unscary 2 stars
10/25/12 austin very scary 5 stars
4/06/12 SEAN DUTRA scary for its time. now tame. good but overrated and dated 4 stars
10/31/11 Jeff Wilder Effective as hell. Better than most of the crap that came after. 5 stars
10/06/11 David Hollingsworth A superior slasher thriller that the changed the face horror 5 stars
6/17/11 art halloween and friday are Overrated!,My bloody valentine and April fools day deseve Praise! 1 stars
5/22/11 austin one of the scariest movies ever 5 stars
9/06/10 art OVERRATED! 1 stars
8/24/10 Joseph This is without a shadow of a doubt the greatest horror film of all time 5 stars
7/03/10 art i never saw the first halloween,just the rob zombie verison AND SARAH YOU're THE FAG! 1 stars
6/21/10 Sarah Art is a fag. All the films you mention would not exist without Halloween. 5 stars
4/06/10 art HALLOWEEn schmaloween!,FRIDAY THE 13TH RULE"S THE ROOST! 1 stars
3/18/10 PAUL SHORTT SCARY, NASTY AND WELL MADE 3 stars
3/03/10 BigfootNZ Actually scares, with so little in the way of actual violence... which true horror is about 5 stars
1/11/10 art halloween is overrated!,FRIDAY THE 13TH IS THE ONLY TRUE SLASHER MOVIE! 1 stars
12/29/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Film making style over substance. Hitchcock lite. 2 stars
12/27/09 art I SAID IT BFORE and i'll say it oncemore,halloween doesn't hold A CANDLE to FRIDAY THE 13TH 1 stars
10/21/09 art HALLOWEEN SUCK"S!,LONG LIVE FRIDAY THE 13TH!. 1 stars
10/18/09 Chad Dillon Cooper This movie plays the audience better than Van Halen plays his guitar. 3 stars
10/02/09 art FRIDAY THE 13TH IS NO.ONE!,HALLOWEEN WILL ALWAY"S TAKE A BACK SEAT! 1 stars
8/29/09 Julian Superb - makes Friday 13th seem very amaturish 5 stars
8/19/09 Jon B Predictable and overrated slasher flick with a very bad ending. 2 stars
6/02/09 Barden Excuse me. It's the opinion of some that crops could be grown on the moon. Which raises the 4 stars
6/01/09 art SORRY HALLOWEEN,BUT YOU DON"T HOLD A CANDLE TO,<FRIDAY THE 13TH! 1 stars
3/18/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess i could actually feel Myers' breath on my neck! 5 stars
1/17/09 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
11/10/08 Otis Scared the daylights out of its audiences! 5 stars
9/22/08 don Masterpiece 5 stars
7/03/08 art BORING,BORING,BORING, BUT IT WAS A PROTOTYPE FOR OTHERS 1 stars
5/21/08 lisa still makes you jump everytime you watch it 5 stars
3/10/08 Jayme Isaacs A True Masterpiece 5 stars
9/03/07 Melissa one of the best horror movies ever! 5 stars
7/23/07 Nick this is the best of the old slasher movies, or the new sucky ones for that matter 5 stars
6/26/07 little cody a very scary slasher film with a good story. 4 stars
5/04/07 john I never liked this movie. I think that Black Christmas deserves all the credit. 2 stars
2/17/07 David Pollastrini still the best 5 stars
1/27/07 action movie fan subtle scary thriller as usual ingrid cold does not know what she is talking about 5 stars
1/11/07 Glenn still scary after all these years, a true masterpiece 5 stars
12/13/06 mig Greatest horror film ever! 5 stars
11/21/06 Michele classic good music 5 stars
11/11/06 Kristina Cooney This is a classic, such a simple face but you'll remember it 5 stars
10/25/06 Fran Brilliant Every Halloween Film Is As Good As The Last 5 stars
10/24/06 Nathan Briggs My fav horror movie of all time. John is a GENIUS! 5 stars
10/15/06 Ron Newbold Still the best 5 stars
10/14/06 michael classic horror flix 5 stars
10/13/06 sara a classic, must see horror movie 5 stars
10/12/06 Bob Greatest Horror Movie ever 5 stars
10/11/06 David Pollastrini brilliant, frightening 5 stars
10/03/06 Jeremy Davies Good, but a little too simple 4 stars
8/09/06 Doreen BEST SUSPENSEFUL HORROR MOVIE EVER!!! 5 stars
7/15/06 David Cohen The only slasher film anyone need see (except maybe Hitchcock's "Psycho") 5 stars
6/27/06 Lisa Beuk The best movie ever 5 stars
5/16/06 blarginbadigalnohif VERY SUPENSEFUL AND SCARY! A MUST SEE 5 stars
3/24/06 Dethbyhashi One of the greatest slasher films ever 5 stars
1/04/06 kr it's an o.k horror film but it has that cheesy 70's thing going on though 3 stars
11/24/05 cr a great horror movie and jamie lee curits is great. a classic 5 stars
10/17/05 Indrid Cold The emperor has no clothes: this is not scary at all and a glacial pace only makes it worse 3 stars
10/16/05 Darren O What more can you say. The first HALLOWEEN is slash with class all the way. A classic. 5 stars
10/11/05 K. Sear Why watch this film when you can watch "Black Christmas" instead? 3 stars
9/13/05 Total Crap Not Scary, but great performances by actors. Seriously, it's not that scary. 4 stars
8/25/05 Eden Slightly dated but it a very suspenseful horror film. The 'hedge bit' sticks in memory 5 stars
8/04/05 ^podo great movie! one of the beat horror movie ever! 5 stars
7/19/05 akeem totally scary 5 stars
7/14/05 Brandy Harrington Great. 5 stars
6/06/05 Dave Great film and one of John Carpenter's best films. 5 stars
5/17/05 what? awesome film 5 stars
3/09/05 Uncle Phucker Very simple and somehow great. Grandfather of The Terminator. Debra Hill R.I.P. 5 stars
1/17/05 Jeff Anderson True horror at it's best. JAMIE LEE CURTIS ROCKS! Avoid the awful sequels like the plague. 5 stars
12/21/04 Lucas Stensland brilliant 5 stars
12/06/04 K. Sear Highly over-rated. Why watch this when you can watch "Black Christmas" instead? 2 stars
11/06/04 TCIC maybe it was scary then but its hilarious now for all the wrong reasons 1 stars
7/31/04 jmsynth The film that took what "Psycho" started, and took it further 5 stars
7/24/04 Phoenix II My favorite horror movie of all time. 5 stars
7/19/04 Benjamin Petrofsky Not as good as "Friday the 13th," but it still is a pretty good movie. The Music rocks! 4 stars
7/14/04 DM So horror films don't really need blood and guts to be scary 5 stars
7/04/04 Samuel Better than part 5?? This is one of the greatest horror films of all time. 5 stars
6/07/04 Ryan Clark Original for its time and that still shines through despite the clones it inspired. 5 stars
4/11/04 mitt i thought it was a great film very original 5 stars
4/11/04 valerie hart it was fantastic all the haloweens are the best horro movies ever made coz ther so original 4 stars
3/30/04 American Slasher Goddess Scary to the T,a modern horror classic. 5 stars
3/25/04 J The Baddest Horror Killer of ALL TIME!!!!! 5 stars
3/17/04 PAYNE_KillerZ Don't know what the BIG fuss was about... But this is better then part 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/04/04 Chad Foster Love It 5 stars
1/15/04 DARREN BRILLIANT USE OF FOREGROUNDS AND BACKGROUNDS-A REAL TREAT 5 stars
1/02/04 HELLOWEEN The Night HE Came Home!! The best movie ever! Myers rules 5 stars
12/30/03 Samuel The sequels are entertaining, but this one..its scary!!! 5 stars
12/10/03 Tommy a very frightening horror flick! 5 stars
12/03/03 re it was okay 3 stars
11/29/03 john a modern day classic - works like clockwork and the music is genius 5 stars
11/25/03 Thiago Great movie. Jamie Lee is great, so is Mr. Myers. John Carpenter's best. 5 stars
11/01/03 American Slasher Goddess Scary, frighting masterpiece. 5 stars
10/31/03 R.W. Welch Effective, tho obviously manipulative, mad slasher opus. Rather dense victims. 4 stars
9/17/03 Samuel Justus I understand why it isnt scary, because it sucked ha ha! 3 stars
8/29/03 DARREN BRILLIANT USE OF FOREGROUNDS AND BACKGROUNDS-A REAL TREAT 5 stars
7/24/03 Max The beginning sequence is one of the great unbroken shots of all time. 5 stars
7/22/03 Double G It was a bad start for the Halloween movies, but it is still the best Halloween yet. 4 stars
6/14/03 Alice This is a classic, watch it !!! 5 stars
6/10/03 Vicious The whole style to this film seems to just be keeping everything really fucking dark. 1 stars
5/22/03 mr. Pink Carpenter's best film. A landmark in horror! Great! 5 stars
5/21/03 Matt Glassing The greatest horror of all time! 5 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik The scariest film ever made 5 stars
2/28/03 Jake This movie still interests me today, never gets old. It's a real classic. 5 stars
1/25/03 M.C. As a DIE HARD halloween fan I must say this is an outstanding start to a superior series 5 stars
1/02/03 Chowie this is sweet.... 5 stars
1/01/03 Michael Myers This is a classic but I still say Halloween Resurrection is the best. 5 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Overpraised but decent-enough. 3 stars
12/19/02 Film Dude How can anyone dislike this.... 5 stars
11/05/02 Kyle Simply the best horror film of all time! 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum The best horror film ever 5 stars
10/10/02 chris Best horror movie ever... so far 5 stars
10/05/02 ian ottinger This is a great and scary movie! 5 stars
8/17/02 Scott The Shape rules all. As does this movie. F'ing great. 5 stars
8/16/02 Shaun one of the best movies ever 5 stars
8/05/02 Jake Original is better than any sequel baby! --------------------------------------------> 5 stars
7/12/02 KMG Jamie Lee!!!! kickin' ass! 4 stars
7/08/02 JAMES WRIGHT brilliant film brilllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll 5 stars
6/01/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi fucking awesome classic! 5 stars
5/23/02 Kelly Just about as perfect as you can get. Carpenter tells the tale of a madman perfectly! 5 stars
5/10/02 Jake This movie still holds up today. So does the neat soundtrack. Halloween 4 ever. 5 stars
4/22/02 steve QUIT WATCHING SCREAM AND JUNK LIKE THAT AND WATCH OLD SCHOOL 5 stars
4/04/02 cat This movie still scares me poopless...and that music! The best horror series ever! 5 stars
3/31/02 Film Guy Halloween Scared the shit out of me when I waslittle , and it still does 5 stars
3/31/02 Bartzy This movie is an all time slasher classic. It gave a new "face" and name to fear 5 stars
3/06/02 NWO4LIFE Good, but not as good as it used to be. The score is great, but a bit overused. 4 stars
2/28/02 Chowie scary motherfucker 5 stars
2/03/02 Stuart Richards Pure class!Scary, suspenceful, sexy(Jamie Lee, not Myers), fucking AWESOME!!! 5 stars
1/24/02 adele evans a great film for its time but today's audience would find it laughable. 2 stars
1/18/02 David A. A lot of pumpkins and weird music, but no plot. Friday the 13th is the definitive slasher. 2 stars
1/04/02 Jake As close to perfect as you can get in ah horror film. Awesome 5 stars
12/14/01 beth crokowski A classic that hasn't dated one bit. 5 stars
12/13/01 ben wasden Halloween is a real treat 5 stars
12/01/01 Scottish Kilt Original, quite scary JLC is hot. 4 stars
11/30/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Double M is the first slasher killer. You've heard this b4, but, it's a classic. 4 stars
11/28/01 Chris K. Not scary at all. Italian horror director Mario Bava can do better than John Carpenter! 2 stars
11/23/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't know why its rated R but, it wasnt scary! oh well Michael Myers rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
10/28/01 Connoisseur the music saves this boring film 3 stars
10/01/01 Phoenix The best horror film ever. 5 stars
9/23/01 Keith My favorite movie and the best horror film of all time! 5 stars
8/29/01 Brad the best horror movie ever plus a great score 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk if only they were made like this...Carpenter's best to date, not to mention his score. 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg A classic 5 stars
7/16/01 Matthew Bartley The only scary slasher flick 5 stars
5/24/01 Erik North No blood, no gore, no guts--No problem! This is a masterpiece! 5 stars
5/18/01 W. Tai Saw this film for my class: LIT80 @ UCSC Spring 2001. 8/10 - score and point of view camera 5 stars
5/09/01 Jake You can't overrate this movie! It's an all out original story with A+directing and thrills. 5 stars
5/08/01 guyguy don't need to say much besides the rating 5 stars
4/26/01 Johnny C. Great suspense + tight direction + one freaky killer = One bad ass movie. 5 stars
4/13/01 LiL This was a fucking masterpiece, what an original idea! Excellent! 5 stars
3/22/01 Sthenno A smooth masterpiece, featuring a day in the life of a slasher who's come home. Perfection. 5 stars
2/10/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi It terrified me...and it's virtually impossible to scare me with slasher flicks. 5 stars
1/02/01 Patient X i liked it!Reminded me of a german expressionistic paiting for some reason 5 stars
11/25/00 Andrew Absolute horror perfection. John Carpenter is my second fav. director after Stanley Kubrick 5 stars
11/17/00 adam colon the most spectacular horror film of all times 5 stars
9/03/00 TIGGER Best out of the 7. Masterpiece of the horror genre 5 stars
8/31/00 jonnyA freaky deaky 5 stars
8/27/00 minimasterab a classic masterpiece 5 stars
7/29/00 Bender Very scary. One of the scariest of its kind. 4 stars
7/29/00 Jinx Other horror movies are pale imitations. Carpenter's a genius. Newer doesn't mean better. 4 stars
7/19/00 Terrie Smith Not a bad film; at least it's better than the ones that followed. 4 stars
4/30/00 Non baaaaaaaaaaaaaad sttttttttttuuuuuuuuuffffff! 1 stars
4/19/00 malcolm saw it the first time at 12 y/o. didn't sleep well for weeks. 5 stars
4/12/00 Moskkina All hail the great and honorable P.J. Soles 5 stars
3/15/00 Chloe Sesta Jacobs BLOODY GOOD! 5 stars
3/10/00 David Rogers Freddy's a jabbermouth, Jason is confusing, and Chucky's a wimp. Best horror film. 5 stars
3/02/00 Kyle Broflovski Dated as a motherfucker, but still one helluva horror flick!! 4 stars
2/19/00 Nicholas excellent and very scary 5 stars
1/25/00 Chris Whitney THE best horror/suspense film ever. Period. 5 stars
1/25/00 kinggage it started it all 5 stars
12/01/99 Gary Durso the standard all horror films should be judged by. 5 stars
11/04/99 Mickey "Father Death" MacJohnstmyster Good , plenty of suspence YES , scary NOT REALLY. If it came out today it would BOMB ! 4 stars
10/31/99 Nicholas Scary,suspenseful and the best horror movie of all time! Instant Classic. 5 stars
8/15/99 Rodney Duke absolutely the best horror film ever 5 stars
7/08/99 Scott The modern horror flick by which all should be measured. 5 stars
7/07/99 Ben Leostein Rating: *** (out of ****) Category: "Very Good" 5 stars
6/30/99 P.S.O.K Even all those stupid-ass sequels couldn't fuckup this movie 5 stars
5/04/99 Lucas Jackson This is one fucking great flick,check this shit out 5 stars
3/03/99 Rachel One of my all time faves 5 stars
12/20/98 mike this is the best horror movie ever made....even better than psycho 5 stars
12/15/98 Binky Superb movie. Carpenter was a champion once. 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Simplistic, but highly effective. 4 stars
11/02/98 MR HOLLYWOOD !! THE horor movie !!, creepy directing...should be restored and shown on cinemas again !! 5 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob A defining moment in horrordom. It's been done to death, now, but then...WHOA!!!! 5 stars
10/18/98 Kwyjibo The best horror film ever. Superbly done. 5 stars
10/17/98 Mr Showbiz I'd lay odds that Tom hasn't seen it. He's just a Damon freak trying to mess up the ratings 5 stars
10/17/98 Johny Hate to tell you, but this predates THE SHINING (another brilliant horror film IMHO) 5 stars
10/15/98 {{{OZ}}} There's nothing wrong with this flick at all. Some spooky moments. Puts H20 to shame. 5 stars
10/15/98 Bluntman My favorite horror movie. Brilliant filmmaking 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-Oct-1978 (R)
  DVD: 14-Oct-2008

UK
  N/A (18)

Australia
  01-Jun-1979 (R)




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