Halloween (1978)


Halloween is a 1978 American independent horror film directed, produced, and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut. The film is set in the fictional midwestern town of Haddonfield, Illinois. On Halloween, six year old Michael Myers murders his older sister. Fifteen years later, he escapes from a psychiatric hospital, returns home, and stalks teenager Laurie Strode and her friends. Michael's psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis suspects Michael's intentions, and follows him to Haddonfield to try to prevent this from happening. Halloween was produced on a budget of $320,000 and grossed $47 million at the box office in the United States, and $60 million worldwide, equivalent to over $203 million as of 2010, becoming one of the most profitable independent films. Many critics credit the film as the first in a long line of slasher films inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Halloween had many imitators and originated several clich├ęs found in low-budget horror films of the 1980s and 1990s. Unlike many of its imitators, Halloween contains little graphic violence and gore. In 2006, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Some critics have suggested that Halloween may encourage sadism and misogyny by identifying audiences with its villain. Other critics have suggested the film is a social critique of the immorality of youth and teenagers in 1970s America, with many of Myers's victims being sexually promiscuous substance abusers, while the lone heroine is depicted as chaste and innocent hence her survival (the lone survivor is seen smoking marijuana in one scene). Carpenter dismisses such analyses. Several of Halloween's techniques and plot elements, although not founded in this film, have nonetheless become a standard slasher movie trope.


On October 31, 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers (Will Sandin) murders his fifteen-year-old sister [10] Judith (Sandy Johnson) with a large kitchen knife at their home in Haddonfield, Illinois. His parents arrive home minutes later and find him in a trance-like state. Michael is incarcerated in Smith's Grove Warren County Sanitarium, where he is placed under the care of child psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence). Eight years of treatment convince Loomis that Michael is pure evil. An additional seven years is spent trying to keep Michael locked up. On October 30, 1978 Michael turns 21 and is to be brought to court to determine if he is competent enough to stand trial for his crime. Loomis and his assistant Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens) arrive at Smith's Grove to take Myers to court. Michael attacks them, nearly killing Marion, steals the car and escapes. Loomis goes in pursuit of Myers. He learns that Judith Myers's tombstone is missing, and is convinced that Michael will return home. Michael (Nick Castle), wearing a mechanic's coveralls and a mask, indeed returns to his now derelict home in Haddonfield. He stalks teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), and follows her and her friends Annie Brackett (Nancy Kyes) and Lynda Van Der Klok (P.J. Soles) as they walk home from school. Laurie becomes unnerved after spotting Michael several times that day, but Lynda and Annie dismiss her concerns. That evening, Laurie meets Annie, who is babysitting Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards) across the street from where Laurie is babysitting Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews). During the evening Michael watches Annie through the windows of the Wallace house. Annie later arranges to pick up her boyfriend, and takes Lindsey across the street to stay with Laurie. When Annie gets into her car, Michael emerges from the backseat, strangles her, and cuts her throat. Tommy sees Michael carrying Annie's body into the Wallace house and thinks he is the Boogeyman. Laurie dismisses this and sends Tommy and Lindsey to bed. Lynda arrives at the Wallace house with her boyfriend Bob Simms. They learn that Annie and Lindsey are out, and have sex. When Bob goes into the kitchen he is killed by Michael. Michael dons a bed sheet and Bob's glasses and goes upstairs. Linda assumes it is Bob wearing the sheet. Michael strangles Lynda with a phone cord as she calls Laurie. Laurie is worried by the telephone call consisting of muffled gasps. She walks across to the Wallace house to investigate. There she discovers the three bodies plus Judith Myers's tombstone. Michael attacks Laurie at the top of the stairs, but she falls down the staircase. Michael gives chase, but Laurie manages to escape back to the Doyle house. Michael gains entry to the house, but Laurie jabs a knitting needle into his neck. She goes upstairs to check the children but Michael has survived and followed her. She tells the children to escape and call the police, locking herself in a closet. Michael breaks through the closet door and Laurie stabs him in the eye with a wire clothes hanger, causing him to drop the knife. She stabs him in the torso with the knife and he falls to the floor. Loomis sees the panicked children running from the house and enters. Behind Laurie, Michael gets up and begins to throttle her. Loomis appears and shoots him six times, sending Michael through a window and off the balcony. Loomis assures Laurie that everything is all right. When he looks over the balcony, Michael's body has disappeared.