A horror film that launched a film career and was the beginning of a franchise of scary thrills: Halloween.
Written and directed by John Carpenter, Halloween’s premise was focused on character Michael Myers, a six year old who murders his sister on the night of Halloween, 1963.
Fifteen years later, Myers escapes from the sanitarium to go home, and stalks Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), whose concerns are dismissed by her friends, who become victims of Myers.
As his psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) and law enforcement try to apprehend Myers, he continues to follow Laurie and tries to kill her, as well as targeting other teenagers. Myers is played by Nick Castle, who in the script is called The Shape.
Made for US$300,000, the film was Curtis’ debut on the big screen and Carpenter’s big risk, and is credited for creating this horror genre that focused on slasher violence.
The film’s low budget led to inventive creations by the crew, like Myers mask made from a $2 Captain Kirk mask and filming done in less than a month in two locations in southern California and using an abandoned house. The memorable film soundtrack was written and played by Carpenter.
Curtis, the daughter of Janet Leigh who had starred in Psycho, was good for publicity as was Donald Pleasance, who had played a villain in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.
Released on October 25, 1978, the 90 minute film may not have been filled with marquee actors and early reviews were negative. But a few good reviews and a storyline that appealed to movie goers enabled the film to succeed at the box office.
Although many criticize the film for its slasher content and misogyny, Halloween went on to make over US$70 million at the box office and spurned not only seven sequels, but several slasher films throughout the 1980s.