We’re talking to you Millennials. This 1978 film (yes they had cameras and everything in those days) is a forgotten film classic. John Carpenter’s Halloween is often imitated, took the suspense building drama of Psycho and made a slasher film to scare the living daylights out of teenagers. There was little blood or gore, but instead it relied on shock and a slow powerful build up of suspense in the viewers’ mind.
The premise is simple; a teenage babysitter tries to escape from a seemingly unstoppable serial killer. The director’s use of shadow and a minimal classic soundtrack made this film groundbreaking. Carpenter took many nods from Hitchcock not least the casting of Jamie Lee Curtis (Janet Leigh's daughter in her screen debut) in the main role. A scene where our heroine is trying to get into her house whilst impending danger looms is a classic scene, full of atmosphere and suspense that it will have you biting your nails and hanging off the edge of your seat.
And now to one of the great horror icons, Michael Myers, an unreasoning and unstoppable force of nature, his (now classic) white-masked face emerges from the shadows only slowly, he’s often seen in glimpses or on the edges of the screen, a back of head, a shoulder until his full terrifying presence is revealed in the last third of the movie. This treatment can be seen in other horror/suspense classics like Jaws or Alien, the terror is always implied until it needs to be shown. You will be hooked until the very last second of the film.
If you’re looking for a fright-night in on 31ST of October, you can watch Stranger Things Season 2 on Netflix or true Horror classic that defined and set the standards of great film making and great horror movie. Halloween deserves your time.
Halloween Film trivia:
- The Movie was only made for $300,000
- Half of the $300,000 budget was spent on the Panavison cameras so the film would have a 2.35:1 scope.
- Donald Pleasence was paid $20,000 for 5 days work.
- John Carpenter approached Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee to play the Sam Loomis role (that was eventually played by Donald Pleasence) but both turned him down due to the low pay. Lee later said it was the biggest mistake he had ever made in his career.
- Halloween was shot in 20 days in the spring of 1978 it became the highest-grossing independent movie ever made at that time.
- The opening POV sequence took 2 days to film.
- As the film was made in spring, the crew had huge difficulty in procuring pumpkins.
- Due to its shoestring budget, the prop department had to use the cheapest $2 mask that they could find in the costume store: a Star Trek (1966) William Shatner mask. They later spray-painted the face white, teased out the hair, and reshaped the eyeholes. Shatner admitted that for years he had no idea his likeness was used for this film.