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Halloween (1978) Review

The Night He Came Home.

Release Date: October 25th, 1978
Length: 1 Hour, 31 Minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller
MPAA: R

It is always intimidating as a film reviewer to review a film with such a large and intense history like the Halloween franchise does. I kind of avoid doing them because what can be said that has already been said? there is so much history and the die hard fan base that this franchise has, its hard to add in a different voice. I felt like after seeing this film on the big screen this year it was a sign to sit down and write about it.

Halloween (1978) is a horror and thriller film set fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night in 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.

Halloween is directed by John Carpenter. If you don’t know who this man is, whether you’ve been under a rock or just not noticed, he is a fantastic director who has had a really illustrious career. His filmography consists of Dark Star (1974), Assault On Precinct 13 (1976), Elvis {TV Movie} (1979), The Fog (1980), Escape From New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Christine (1983), Starman (1984), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987), They Live (1988), Body Bags {TV Movie} (1993), In The Mouth of Madness (1995), Village of the Damned (1995), Escape From L.A. (1996), Vampires (1998), and Ghosts of Mars (2001). His major breakthrough that is also said to contribute to the beginning of the Slasher horror genre is Halloween (1978).

I can honestly say that I have seen every single John Carpenter movie except for 3 of them, and its not that I don’t want to to watch them, I own them, they’re on my shelf. The thing is that I am not too sure when or if we will get another John Carpenter directed film anytime soon, so the thought of running out of new John Carpenter films to watch is a bit sad, I’m super glad he’s still making music though. He is one of my favourite filmmakers. Not everything he makes is perfect, he has definitely made a couple of just merely okay films, but Halloween is far from just a merely okay film.

I remember showing this film to a really good friend of mine a couple years ago. I was skeptical as she wasn’t super into older horror movies at the time and I found myself watching her respond to stuff rather than watching the movie. You know that feeling? You show someone something that means a lot to you and instead of enjoying the film yourself you try to enjoy the film through their reactions. It was like that, I like to think of it as experiencing the film for the first time again, but through another set of eyes. Her only response was “when was this made?” and I replied “1978” and she replied “really? how? that felt like a new horror movie.” Halloween is a timeless film by a timeless director. John Carpenter doesn’t usually make sequels to his films, minus Escape from L.A. (1996) which was not a great film, and definitely doesn’t touch Escape from New York (1981) but I think the original Halloween is so highly regarded because Carpenter only did one film in the franchise, and his name didn’t get tarnished as they made 8 sequels from 1981-2018. He came in, left his mark on the horror genre early and then tried to add to his mark as the years progressed.

Halloween (1978) stars Jamie Lee Curtis in her breakout role as Laurie Strode and Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis.

Jamie Lee Curtis’ filmography consists of The Fog (1980), Terror Train (1980), Escape From New York (1981), Halloween II (1981), Halloween III (1982), True Lies (1994), Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Freaky Friday (2003), Scream Queens {TV Series} (2015-2016), Halloween (2018), and Knives Out (2019). Jamie Lee Curtis is a blessing to film, I’ve enjoyed everything that she is in and throughout the years of watching her act, she just seems to genuine and is always seeming to have the best time. She is excellent in Halloween as to be expected if you’ve watched any of her other roles. She is genuine and there is a reason she is called the “Scream Queen.” Laurie Strode is an iconic character to the Halloween franchise, much like Michael Myers is.

Donald Pleasence’s filmography consists of The Great Escape (1963), Escape From New York (1981), Halloween II (1981), Prince Of Darkness (1987), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), and Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995). I didn’t realize before looking at his filmography how many John Carpenter films he ended up being in before his death in 1995. I remember reading or watching a bit of trivia about the film that they didn’t think Donald Pleasence would sign onto the original Halloween film because he was considered a legend, but “everything came together when he signed on.” I need to see more of his films, I think he was a great actor and he has this LOOMing (i’m sorry) presence in the Halloween franchise, and I would put him in the iconic characters of Halloween with Michael and Laurie.

Lastly, and I feel like it must be said because its a John Carpenter film. The score of the film done by John Carpenter is absolutely second to none. Halloween without the simple yet effect Halloween film isn’t a Halloween movie in my eyes, Its almost as important as Michael Myers is to the franchise. (We learned this as Halloween III: Spirit of The Witch removed Michael Myers and the fans were UPSET). I find myself listening to a lot of John Carpenter music, but the Halloween score just hits differently. The Movie is absolutely not complete without it.

I feel like I did a lot of rambling in this review, but I feel like it was thorough. Ask me though on a different day how I would rate this films and it would change. Either between a 4.5/5 or a 5/5. Depending on my mood it’ll change, but that goes with any film rating I do. I think this is absolutely essential watching even if you’re not a horror fan, you owe it to yourself to see this brilliant piece of filmmaking.

Until Next Time,
Andrew

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