As well as introducing Jamie Lee Curtis to cinema audiences, Halloween also set in motion a genre of films that led to the Friday the 13th series, amongst others. But it was never done better: from the opening steadicam shot to Carpenter’s nervous score and, at the time, its surprise ending, Halloween has many shocks and surprisingly little gore.
Conceived by John Carpenter as a modest thriller entitled The Babysitter Killer (“a really schlocky kinda title”) it evolved into a global phenomenon that combined the traditions of Halloween night with the sub-genre of the horror movie about the psychopath.
Unashamedly of the view that it was both inspired by and hoped to eclipse the films of Alfred Hitchcock Halloween proved that ‘Boo!’ – not blood – was required to scare ‘70s audiences.
More than 30 years later audiences are still being terrified by Michael Myers, a silent, stalking maniac in a William Shatner mask who prowls the streets and homes of Haddonfield, Illinois.
Jamie Lee Curtis is Laurie Strode, the embodiment of every modern scream queen and a character who finds inner steel beneath a potential victim’s exterior. Donald Pleasence is Sam Loomis (Carpenter had wanted Peter Cushing), Myers’ doctor who traces his patient to a new killing ground and is fearful of what he will find.
An instant classic on release, Halloween is re-released on digital.