BY KYLE LESNAK
“Halloween” is a classic horror film directed by John Carpenter featuring Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. “Halloween” at the time of release became one of the most profitable independent films of all time making $70 million from its $300,000 budget. The movie was released on October 25, 1978.
On Halloween night 1963, in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois, six-year-old Michael Myers stabbed his teenage sister Judith Myers to death. For 15 years Michael is incarcerated at Smith Groves Sanitarium. When his psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis and his associate arrive at the sanitarium to escort him to a court hearing, Michael ends up escaping. He steals the doctor’s car and returns to Haddonfield, killing a trucker for his overalls and stealing a white, emotionless mask from a hardware store. Laurie Strode, a teenage girl living in Haddonfield, is seen by Michael dropping off a key to the old Myers house that her father plans to sell. The rest of the day Michael is seen stalking the young girl and when she tries to tell her friends Annie Brackett and Lynda van der Klok, they dismiss her beliefs. Loomis arrives at Haddonfield and alongside Annie’s father, Sheriff Leigh Brackett, attempts to hunt down the killer before it’s too late.
I think this movie was pretty good with some amazing cinematography and sound design. The way the camera moves in the first half as Michael follows Laurie feels so odd, like someone is watching her from the bushes. It’s an unnerving feeling and enhances the horror aspect of it all. Even subtle details like seeing Michael following behind the girls in his car as Loomis talks with the sheriff make you wonder what else might show up if you aren’t paying attention. During the second half of the movie what you hear in the background is mostly something on the TV or a random noise outside, but whenever Michael is nearby you can hear him breathing in the background, indicating to the audience that he’s about to strike. It’s something you might not notice on your first watch, but it’s some great sound design in a horror movie.
Though the acting is by no means bad, there were times during the film that kind of took me out of the movie as they felt like they didn’t know what kind of emotion to show, and there were times where the dialogue sounded so forced and cheesy it made me laugh. I do believe Nick Castle did a great job as Michael Myers portraying this mentally insane killer towering over every other character, making him feel like some kind of unkillable monster. One of the only things I heard about this movie before watching it was Michael’s iconic theme. It’s a theme that drones on and on but never loses that ominous feeling, and I understand why it’s so iconic.
“Halloween” is a classic slasher film, and though nowadays it can feel a bit underwhelming and cheesy, I think back in 1978 it worked pretty well. The film had some great cinematography and sound design and for the most part, I was invested in the world and characters. John Carpenter has made an notorious horror icon that’s still going on now, and no matter how convoluted the story might get, the original film is a good first film in this long-running franchise.