Halloween

1978 | 91 minutes | Rated R

The original Halloween directed by John Carpenter introduced movie audiences to a young Jamie Lee Cutrtis. It also spawned several sequels, and was one of the first examples of what would become known as the “slasher film.” 

The film begins with a point-of-view shot outside of a home with a jack-o-lantern on the porch. We peek into a window and see a teenage couple making out on the sofa before heading upstairs. Shortly thereafter, the young man leaves.  We enter the home and see a hand take a large knife from a drawer in the kitchen. We follow along, heading upstairs. We hear the young girl singing. The same hand picks up a clown mask from the floor and puts it on. Through the eye holes in the mask we watch as the young girl is brutally stabbed with the knife. We go back downstairs and out the front door. A car pulls up to the front of the home. A couple exits the car. The man says, “Michael.” The camera then pulls back to reveal a young boy in a clown costume holding a bloody knife.

We then jump ahead 15 years. Dr. Loomis, portrayed by Donald Pleasence, and a nurse are driving to the State Mental Hospital in Illinois. Dr. Loomis has spent the last 15 years with Michael. The first eight attempting to treat him, and the last seven making sure that he stays in captivity. According to Loomis, what lies behind that blank stare is pure evil. As they approach the hospital, we see several inmates wandering the grounds. Dr. Loomis leaves the car to check the gates. An inmate leaps to the roof of the car and reaches for the nurse through the window. She runs from the vehicle as the inmate drives off.

We then return to the town of Haddonfield, Illinois where the film began. Teenager Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, leaves home on her way to school. Her father, a real estate agent, reminds her to drop off the keys at the old Myers place on her way, as he is selling the place soon. We recognize the home as the one where the murder of the young girl occurred 15 years ago. 

Laurie meets young Tommy on her way, she is supposed to babysit him that evening. On his way to school we see someone watching Tommy from the stolen car. At school, Laurie sees someone outside of the window. On the way home, we meet Laurie’s friends Lynda and Annie. Annie is upset that her boyfriend Paul is grounded and will be babysitting a young girl just across the street from Tommy’s. As the stolen car passes the young girls, Annie yells “Speed Kills” and the car stops for a moment before going on. Laurie sees someone behind the bushes. Annie checks and no one is there.

We return to Dr. Loomis where we learn that Michael has escaped and that Loomis knows where he is going.

Halloween holds up well. It is a bit slower paced than more recent films of this nature. The body count is also lower, and much of the violence actually occurs off screen. The acting is excellent as well. While the story has a few holes in it, the movie is still an excellent example of this type of film.

Halloween is rated R for violence, language, and some nudity and sexual content. It is suitable for older teens and up. I rate it four out of five bloody knives.