31 Great Horror Movies: ‘Halloween’ (1978)
In 1978 John Carpenter put together a little movie with a little budget called “Halloween.” That little movie exploded at the box office and is still THE staple for Halloween movies today. And, needless to say, it’s my favorite horror movie and the No. 1 spot in our 31 Days of Horror list.
“Halloween” opens in Haddonfield, Illinois, on Halloween night. Little Michael Myers snaps and kills his older sister in her bedroom. And evil is born. The movie then cuts to “present day” Haddonfield where a now-grown Michael Myers has escaped from the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. The following day is Halloween, the night He came home.
Michael goes on a mission to find and eliminate his other sister, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis). At this point, no one knows she’s his sister. As far as we know, he’s just a maniac thirsty for blood. And those kind make the best movie slasher. No motive. Just pure psycho.
Laurie and her friends are attacked by Michael on Halloween night. Laurie, with the help of Michael’s doctor Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) survives. But so does Michael. And he’s gone. He will return later that night in “Halloween II” and continue stalking Laurie. But that’s another movie, another time.
The genius in “Halloween” is that it’s subtle, but still scary as Hell. There’s very little blood. The body count is low. But Michael Myers managers to keep your heart pumping. Adorning only a spray-painted William Shatner mask and some overalls, his weapon of choice is a butcher knife. You can’t get much simpler than that. Or scarier.
After you add in Carpenter’s spine-tingling score, you have a movie worthy of anyone’s library. It’s never been bested (no, not even by you Rob Zombie) or even matched. It’s a classic. And it’s our No. 1.
Memorable Quotes: Laurie: “It was the Boogie Man.” Loomis: “As a matter of fact, it was.”
Best Scene: It’s easily Bob’s death. That puppy-dog head tilt at the end of the scene is priceless:
Did You Know? John Carpenter named a lot of the characters after real people or other movie characters. Laurie Strode was his first girlfriend. Tommy Doyle’s name was from Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” and Sam Loomis’ name is from “Psycho.” The name of the sheriff is “Leigh Brackett”. Leigh Brackett was also the name of the screenwriter of Howard Hawks’ classic “Rio Bravo”, which was the inspiration for Carpenter’s previous film, “Assault on Precinct 13.” Michael Myers was named after the European distributor of “Assault on Precinct 13” as a kind of weird “thank you” for the film’s overseas success.
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