The success of John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978 inspired a slew of imitators (and sequels) throughout the 1980’s, but none would come close to matching the genius of Carpenter’s taut film. With very little gore, the film relies on music and editing to build tension, as well as everybody’s fear of the unknown. Often copied, but never bettered, this is a modern classic.
Michael Myers (known as The Shape) is now an iconic horror character, up there with classic Universal Pictures creatures like Dracula and The Wolf-Man. Myers is a fabulous creation – we never see his face (he wears a modified William Shatner Halloween mask), his characterisation is through movement and from what Pleasance’s says about him. It’s this simplicity which creates most fear. We can tell that there’s no humanity within him.
I’ve always felt that James Cameron lifted a lot from this film for The Terminator – there’s a killing where Myers impales an unlucky teen against a kitchen cabinet which Cameron lifted for Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The above is a behind the scenes photograph of that particular scene.
Budgeted at just over $300, 000 Halloween grossed $47 million at the US box office in 1978.