More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 15.57%
Average: 6.15%
Pretty Bad: 3.28%
Total Crap: 5.33%

9 reviews, 190 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil by Jay Seaver

Captain, The (2019) by Jay Seaver

Jojo Rabbit by Peter Sobczynski

Human Lost by Jay Seaver

Tammy and the T-Rex by Jay Seaver

Extra Ordinary by Jay Seaver

Daniel Isn't Real by Jay Seaver

Midsommar by Rob Gonsalves

Blood on Her Name by Jay Seaver

Parasite (2019) by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed

Halloween (1978)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Creepy as crap, with terrible music."
4 stars

For better or worse, “Halloween” began the modern teen slasher genre. It came before “Friday the 13th” (which was clearly inspired by it) and was far superior to it, establishing tension and avoiding cheap scares. Where subsequent slasher flicks would focus on the blood and murdering, “Halloween” had very little blood and only five murders -- one of which occurred offscreen.

The film’s prologue is among the creepiest I’ve seen. It is Halloween 1963. A girl goes upstairs to fool around with her boyfriend, unaware they’re being watched by someone. Through the watcher’s point of view, we see the boyfriend leave; then we head upstairs, find the girl naked in her bedroom ... and we stab her. Then we go downstairs and outside the house, where the point of view finally shifts and we realize the murderer is a little boy. Creeee-py.

The rest of the film takes place 15 years later. The boy, Michael Myers, has been in a psychiatric facility and has not spoken a word since the murder. His doctor, the lugubrious Sam Loomis, played by the inappropriately named Donald Pleasence, is on his way there to make sure he’s not released on parole. Apparently, despite the boy not having spoken a word in 15 years, much less committed any additional crimes, Dr. Unpleasence is convinced he is incapable of being rehabilitated. Dr. Doom-and-Gloom is not what you’d call a bleeding-heart liberal, to put it mildly.

Anyway, while at the facility, a clumsy nurse lets Michael steal her car and head back to his hometown of Haddenfield, Ill. (Michael does this so easily, one suspects the nurse did it on purpose.) How can a man who has been in a mental institution since the age of 6 drive a car? Good question. When someone in the movie asks it, Dr. Morbid says, “Someone here must have been teaching him!” He says it very accusingly, like it’s a foregone conclusion. I say if you’re going to bring up the plot holes in your movie, you should fix them, too, not just make them worse with stammering explanations.

Back in Haddenfield, the old Myers home is considered haunted by local kids, and probably a few episodes of “Scooby-Doo” centered around it. Dour teen Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) doesn’t pay it no never mind, though, and is not afraid to live in the neighborhood. In fact, this very night -- Halloween, no less -- she is set to babysit a little boy who lives just around the corner from it, all by herself in the dark with scary movies on TV.

Laurie is an interesting character, insofar as she is the protagonist despite being utterly devoid of personality. She has two friends, Annie and Lynda, who hate each other and her.

Sure enough, Michael shows up in town, and Dr. Creepy gets the local sheriff to help him keep an eye out. It’s the rare instance in horror films where the cops actually believe the town’s in danger, but they don’t do anything about it -- issue APB’s or put the word out on the radio -- for fear of creating a panic. Once again, the movie paints itself into a corner and then just tramps all over the fresh paint to get out.

There are surprisingly few murders, considering how many you find in subsequent films of this genre (and of this series, for that matter). Carpenter also wins points for some spine-tingly camera set-ups and extended shots, the calmness of which almost makes you forget you’re watching a horror film.

He doesn’t win any points for that damn musical score, though. He wrote it himself, and it has two themes. The most famous one is that four-note piano riff, which is perfect for the mood of the film. The other one, though, is all cheesy synthesizers and goofy crap, and it drives me crazy. Awful, awful stuff.

I am amazed at how little time it takes people to have sex in Haddenfield, Ill. The opening sequence has Michael’s sister and her boyfriend doin’ it, in real time, and it takes no more than one minute. Later, another amorous couple gets it on, once again with no cutting away, and once again it is over in mere seconds. The girl remarks that it was “wonderful,” too, which makes me wonder just how much sex she’s had.

Donald Pleasence’s performance is calculated and chilling, and I like it. Jamie Lee Curtis doesn’t do much but scream (though not as much as she’s famous for -- only three real screams in this film), and it’s hard to get behind a main character who’s so unexciting. But maybe it’s Michael Myers who is the real main character. In which case, mission accomplished: I’m freaked out.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 08/29/01 07:10:25
[printer] printer-friendly format  
Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

10/27/18 morris campbell HALLOWEEN RULES ITS NOT OVERRATED 5 stars
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
3/03/10 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
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
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
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
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
1/02/04 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
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
4/04/02 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: ***½ (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
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  17-Oct-1978 (R)
  DVD: 14-Oct-2008

  N/A (18)

  01-Jun-1979 (R)

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast