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Review: Halloween (1978)

Reviewer: Chris Youngblood


In 1978 a young and unknown team of filmmakers set out to make their next project. A low budget film about a babysitter being stalked by the boogeyman on Halloween night. The film had an unknown director and a unknown producer and was financed by an individual famous for making epic movies in India. Who would believe their cheap film shot in a matter of weeks using mainly volunteer crew members and with a minuscule budget of $350,000.00 would go on to be one of the finest horror movies ever made and set box office records for decades. Until recently 'Halloween' was the highest grossing independent film of all time. Only to be dethroned over 20 years after it's release by another independent cheapie film 'The Blair Witch Project'.

On Halloween night young Michael Myers brutally murdered his older sister while she was baby sitting him. With no apparent motive or signs of remorse Michael's parents reluctantly send him off to a mental hospital. While at the hospital Michael goes under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis who quickly see's that there is more to this young boy than people see. Dr. Loomis sees pure evil in the boy's eye's and requests that the boy remain institutionalized for the remainder of his life. Years later when Loomis and a nurse are approaching the hospital housing Michael Myers to prepare him for a hearing they are shocked to find several of the patient's walking around the grounds unsupervised. It is then when Michael makes his move attacking the unsuspecting Doctor and Nurse stealing their car to make his escape. Meanwhile the sleepy town of Haddonfield Illinois are prepping for their Halloween festivities. Pumpkins are being carved decorations are being hung and costumers are being donned. A group of teenage school girls preparing for a night of babysitting among other things have no idea that a deranged psychopath is heading their way and his agenda is to complete what he began so many years before.

The story of how 'Halloween' was created is almost as good the story being told in the movie. Young director John Carpenter and young producer Debra Hill began writing a screenplay off of an idea from colleague Irwin Yablans. The film which has nearly no gore in it at all managed to do something most horror movies strive for...Be scary as hell! The suspense that Carpenter creates is creepy and slow moving. Using his killer more as an idea then an actual on screen maniac being shown every 20 seconds worked well for the film. Michael Myers barely has any screen time which makes him all the more terrifying. When he does appear he is almost non-existent, wearing all black and featureless white mask. It is these things that made the original Michael Myers the scariest out of all the movie killers.

The film only cast one recognizable name in the movie as their budget was small and it was British actor Donald Pleasence best known for having roles in films like 'The Great Escape'. The rest of the cast were virtually unknown as well as the crew making the film. After all the entire production was being ran by kids. While filming producer Debra Hill knew that her and John Carpenter were creating something special. The movie gave John Carpenter his career as one of the greatest directors of horror films today and not to mention the career of one of his leading ladies Jamie Lee Curtis as one of the biggest names in film today. Carpenter other than writing and directing the picture composed the music for the film. His theme was a simple melody that he got from an exercise that had to do when he was learning to play the piano. The music has gone down to be as famous as the movie and is arguably some of the creepiest movie music in history.

John Carpenter has gone on to an amazing career and his early picture is often compared to Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' because the story was built on suspense rather than gore. The film became a franchise and has gained one of the largest fan bases since Star Wars. The franchise released some memorable and some not so memorable sequels and in 2007 Rob Zombie took on the gargantuan task of remaking the film. A task that many of the original fans felt was an impossible feat and did not want an attempt to even be made. The film boasts huge conventions that draw thousands of people from around the world to celebrate this glorious film. As stated previously the film held the record for the highest grossing independent film off all time. Not bad for a very low budget movie made by a bunch of kids.



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