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Halloween Review (1978)

My History With the Film:

God, where do I even start? How do I even review a film like this?

I’m sure I’ll spill hundreds, if not thousands, of more words on Halloween on this website, so I’m going to do my best to keep this short and sweet.

Sometime in the mid-1990’s, I was standing in line at Blockbuster with my father waiting to check out. That’s when he noticed a Blockbuster branded copy of Halloween on the counter for $7.99. That was a fantastic price for a VHS tape at the time and my father knew that I had an interest in horror films, so he picked it up, and asked me if I had ever seen it. I told him no, so he added it to the stack of our rentals and off we went.

That night my life was changed and a fire for horror began that has never been quenched.

I’ve bought all sorts of copies of Halloween over the years and it’s probably the movie I’ve seen the most which I would estimate is around fifty or sixty times. I most recently watched Halloween on Halloween in 2019 as part of Joe Bob Brigg’s Drive In Special on Shudder. The movie held up and was just as entertaining as always.

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
Three babysitters are terrorized by a man in a white mask.

What I Liked About It:

-The Music. Halloween would not be Halloween without that iconic score by John Carpenter. It’s terrifying, catchy, and dread inspiring. I put it alongside Star Wars, Jaws, and Jurassic Park as the top scores of all-time.
-The movie shot beautifully. It really captures our ideal fall Halloween feeling with the breeze, the leaves, and the cloudiness of the skies. The outfits make you think of a cool, fall day and the first daylight scene really establishes the time of season.

-The entire cast is fantastic lead by Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie) and Donald Pleasence (Dr. Loomis). Nancy Keyes (Annie) and PJ Soles (Lynda) do a terrific job portraying Laurie’s friends and being characters you can relate to.

-The pacing of the film is great. It never lags, but only stops long enough for you to catch your breath before the next scare.

-Michael Myers is an amazing presence. Nick Castle did a fantastic job of creating this machine of evil that is just terrifying especially when he seemingly has no motive other than to kill. The mask and the jump suit just work so well at creating this horrifying being.

What I Didn’t Like About It:

Additional Notes:

-Halloween made $47 million dollars on a $300,000 budget.

-The original title was The Babysitter Murders

-The Michael Myers mask was a Captain Kirk mask from 1975 that was purchased for around one dollar. The eyebrows and sideburns were removed, the eye holes expanded, the hair spray painted brown, and the face was painted white.

-The stabbing sound is actually the sound of a knife stabbing a watermelon.

-Despite being set in the Midwest on Hallowen, the movie was actually shot in the spring in California. Paper leaves were bought and painted and after each take they had to be gathered back up to be used for the next scene. Pumpkins were also incredibly difficult for the crew to find.

-The score was composed by John Carpenter in four days.

-Jamie Lee Curtis was paid $8,000 for her role as Laurie Strode.

-John Carpenter was paid $10,000 to write, direct, and score the movie.

Halloween is perfect in my eyes and always has been. Sure, the clothes and hairstyles are dated, but the film’s pacing is truly timeless and it holds up incredibly well. It’s a movie that doesn’t feel like a movie from the 1970’s, but also encompasses some of the best parts of movies from that time period. It’s simple, minimalistic, and extremely effective.

Halloween is without a doubt, a five out of five and a must own. It is the quintessential horror movie and is perfect is just about every way.

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