Combustible Celluloid
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With: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Castle, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, Arthur Malet, David Kyle
Written by: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Directed by: John Carpenter
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 91
Date: 10/24/1978

Halloween (1978)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Trick, Treat or Stab

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

John Carpenter directed this movie on a low budget, patterned after Psycho and other great horror movies, and made a small fortune; for a while, it was the most successful independent movie of all time.

In addition to tuning into a particular autumn, suburban feel, Halloween makes brilliant use of its widescreen frame, a lot of steady, creeping hand-held camerawork, and scary foreground and background action. Donald Pleasence hams it up as a doctor who believes that the convicted killer Michael Myers is pure evil. Jamie Lee Curtis is the prototype slasher-film heroine, the smart girl (and virgin) who lives to the end. P.J. Soles is the playful sex goddess who gets killed.

Carpenter's simple synthesizer score is still great and creepy. Siskel and Ebert were avid supporters of this movie, and lended it some credibility. There have been 11 films in the franchise as of 2020, and more are coming.

This all-time great horror film has already been released in numerous special editions, but Anchor Bay's Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray is now the ultimate. The sound and picture are exceptional, though it does come with the original mono soundtrack for purists. It comes with a new high-definition transfer, a terrific new documentary featuring Jamie Lee Curtis at her first horror convention, a new commentary track by Curtis and director Carpenter, plus a featurette from the 25th anniversary edition, footage from the TV version, and trailers. A great liner notes booklet contains more info.

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