Imitated, ripped-off and stricken with sequelitis, Halloween made its mark as the original slasher movie back in 1978 when it scared audiences silly and, as word-of-mouth spread, went into the record books as "the highest grossing horror movie ever".

It has lost its power somewhat over the years. Now that we are familiar with stalk'n'slash flicks, such as Friday The 13th and the overly contrived comeback of the genre when Scream made them cool again, a masked killer lurking in the darkness just isn't scary anymore. It's too brainless and uncomplicated to make us think twice about the plot.

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The tagline was "The night HE came home" and the "he" in question is Michael Myers - no, not the guy from Austin Powers. I'm talking about a cold, emotionless killer, who pointlessly murders teenagers while his face is hidden behind a William Shatner mask. It wears thinner than Calista Flockhart and the bodycount is lower than this reptile's blood/sugar level.

As a six-year-old child, Michael killed his older sister for no reason on Halloween night. Now, 15 years later, he escapes from the loony bin (suspiciously easy) and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield to kill random teenagers and, for some reason, picks Jamie Lee Curtis as his ultimate prey. I guess at the time the senseless killing was scary in a way, but recent attempts to give it logic are plain laughable. The sequels just got worse and worse, more so than any other smelly franchise. The only thing that improved was the score.

The 2.35:1 photography is quite good and it's bizarre that the rip-offs were never shot in full Panavision-anamorphic widescreen, because this is definitely the film's best quality. Director John Carpenter knew this and has stuck with the format ever since. The POV camera and the gradual fading-in appearance of Michael in the background is clever and quite cinematic, something the imitators and sequels never were.

No matter how tame it may seem by today's standards, this is landmark film will always remain a classic.

Reviewed on: 08 Nov 2001
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Slasher shocker about a crazy guy who kills teenagers in a sleepy suburban town. On Halloween re-issue.
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Director: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis, Donald Pleasance, Nick Castle, PJ Soles

Year: 1978

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: USA

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