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Halloween (1978)

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Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.

Director:

John Carpenter

Writers:

John Carpenter (screenplay), Debra Hill (screenplay)
Popularity
598 ( 84)

John Carpenter: Defining "Carpenteresque"

"Kubrickian" is in the Oxford English Dictionary, but "Carpentersque" isn't. Here's why John Carpenter's style and influence should have earned him the honor.

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6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Pleasence ... Loomis
Jamie Lee Curtis ... Laurie
Nancy Kyes ... Annie (as Nancy Loomis)
P.J. Soles ... Lynda
Charles Cyphers ... Brackett
Kyle Richards ... Lindsey
Brian Andrews ... Tommy
John Michael Graham ... Bob
Nancy Stephens ... Marion
Arthur Malet ... Graveyard Keeper
Mickey Yablans Mickey Yablans ... Richie
Brent Le Page Brent Le Page ... Lonnie
Adam Hollander Adam Hollander ... Keith
Robert Phalen Robert Phalen ... Dr. Wynn
Tony Moran ... Michael Myers (age 23)
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Storyline

The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers' psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it'll be too late for many people. Written by Massive Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Night HE Came Home! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Facebook | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Halloween See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$325,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$47,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$47,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Extended TV Version)

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Halloween theme is written in the rare 5/4 time signature. John Carpenter learned this rhythm from his father. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 22 mins) The position of the bed sheets and pillows differ between when Laurie runs into the bedroom to find a place to hide and when she leaves the closet to retrieve Tommy and Lindsay. See more »

Quotes

Loomis: [into phone] You've got to believe me, Officer, he is coming to Haddonfield... Because I know him! I'm his doctor! You must be ready for him... If you don't, it's your funeral.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The music for the film -- written and performed by John Carpenter -- is instead credited to "The Bowling Green Philharmonic Orchestra." Carpenter grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky. See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2000, a 'Limited Edition' DVD of "Halloween" was released from Anchor Bay. This was the Television Extended-Version which includes 12 minutes of extra-footage shot in 1981 while filming "Halloween II" and was available as a stand-alone or a two-disc (along with the theatrical cut). Later, in 2001 commemorating the 25th Anniversary DVD, Anchor Bay released yet another DVD of the theatrical cut. This DVD contains new special features, giving a brief look at the incredible "Halloween" Cast Re-union filmed on October 2000. It also had a new transfer approved by John Carpenter,which caused some controversy amongst fans, as he apparently adjusted the color quite severely, a radical departure from the previous transfer supervised by D.P. Dean Cundey. See more »

Connections

Featured in 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Better Check the Kids
Written by John Carpenter
Performed by The Bowling Green Philharmonic Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

The Most Influential Of All Slasher Films!
31 October 2015 | by CinemaClownSee all my reviews

Possibly the most influential of all slasher films, John Carpenter's Halloween is the reason why this particular subgenre of horror even exists in the first place. Although it wasn't the first of its kind, it certainly was the game-changer for almost every other slasher flick that followed this low-budget indie horror only ended up imitating the formula that this classic originated.

Set in Haddonfield, Illinois, the story of Halloween begins on the titular night in 1963 where we witness the 6-years old Michael Myers stabbing his older sister to death with a kitchen knife. The plot then jumps 15 years in the span of which Myers remained silent in a mental hospital he was confined to, only to escape from the facility and returns to his hometown to kill some more.

Co-written & directed by John Carpenter, whose innate ability to churn out quality pictures from mere scraps of filmmaking elements has earned him a place amongst world cinema's most influential filmmakers, Halloween is one of the finest works of his career that presents the director in complete control of his craft, and the way he sets the pace & eerie tone from the beginning is a delight to watch.

Carpenter creates an uncanny mood during the title sequence only which has nothing but a jack-o-lantern on the black screen, accompanied by the now iconic score, and follows it up with an expertly shot prologue which instantly brings the audience into the story. The script is equally impressive for the character of Michael Myers is handled with extreme care, and the writers leave no stone unturned to show him as an unstoppable force of evil.

The technical aspects are skilfully executed, and every dollar of its low budget is efficiently used in service of the story. Setting the plot in a suburban location turns the very openness of the area into a playground of mayhem. Cinematography is inventive for the camera stalks our characters at all times, benefits from some ingenious placements, and is further uplifted by clever lighting while Editing makes sure that the suspenseful ambiance is kept alive from start to finish.

But the biggest contributor, in my opinion, is John Carpenter's minimal, synthesised score for it elevates the tension to a whole different level and greatly amplifies the desired effect of its disquieting camera-work & editing. Whenever its main theme surfaces on the screen, there's an uneasiness felt in those moments & whispers of an ominous presence dominate those sequences. It's one of Carpenter's most notable musical pieces & is a major reason behind this film's success.

Coming to the acting department, Halloween features a budget-friendly cast in Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis & Nick Castle. The film marks Curtis' acting debut and she does a neat job as Laurie; a high-school student who's continuously stalked by Myers throughout the movie. Pleasence is in as Myers' psychiatrist and the only person who knows what this homicidal maniac is capable of. And Soles & Loomis do a fine job as Laurie's friends who are also pursued by Myers.

But it's the character of Michael Myers and how he's portrayed in this film that establishes him as one of the greatest antagonists in cinema history. Using nothing but a cheap mask that conveys no emotions, keeping him mute throughout the story & giving him an almost mythic strength that renders him invincible, Carpenter presents Myers as a devil incarnate who kills without empathy, and intelligently uses his presence in the film to build a sinister aura, not to mention the very aspects of this character has gone on to inspire many more villains.

On an overall scale, Halloween remains one of the genre-defining films of the 1970s whose narrative structure has been adopted as a blueprint for slasher films ever since and its vast influence on cinema & pop culture cannot be downplayed. There were a couple of moments that bothered me but for the most part, this is a thrilling, entertaining & satisfying ride from Carpenter that is every bit worthy of its legendary status. A lesson in horror filmmaking that downplays the elements of gore & graphic violence to show the lasting effect a consistently maintained tense ambiance can have on the viewers, Halloween is the very definition of a slasher film.


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