tek's rating: ½

Halloween (R)
AFI Catalog; Black List; Dread Central; IMDb; Lionsgate; official website; Rotten Tomatoes; TCM; Trancas International Films; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Caution: spoilers.

This came out in 1978 (when I was three years old). The first time I saw it was in 2019 (on Halloween night). And then, for various reasons, I didn't get around to writing this review until a couple weeks later, by which time I couldn't actually recall how much I might have liked it. I feel like I probably wasn't greatly impressed, but I know this is a modern classic of the horror genre, and more specifically the slasher genre. Countless fans and critics have praised it, over the decades since its release, for many reasons. (A lot of it has to do with symbolism that completely went over my head. For example, reading the Black List review just before starting my own review made me realize just how much I didn't get about the movie. I tend to take stories at face value, far too much of the time.) It's possible I liked it more than I remember, and it's even more likely that the movie deserves to be liked (or loved) much more than I am capable of. But I probably would like to re-watch it someday, and hopefully I'll have a greater appreciation for it the second time around.

Before I watched it, I basically only knew that there was a killer named Michael Myers, and that the movie starred Jamie Lee Curtis. (Oh, and I guess the theme music was kind of familiar.) After watching it, I don't feel like I know much more than that, so I don't know how much I can tell you about the film. Well, it begins in 1963, on Halloween, in Haddonfield, Illinois. A teenage girl and her boyfriend are home alone, and I guess they decide to have sex. Meanwhile, outside the house, we see from the perspective of someone who's watching them, and after the boyfriend leaves, the stalker goes inside and kills the girl. It turns out the killer is her six-year-old little brother, Michael Myers. He spends the next fifteen years in a sanitarium, under the supervision of Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence). After the now-adult Myers escapes, Dr. Loomis becomes very concerned with the need to catch him, and convinces Maddonfield's sheriff, Leigh Brackett, of how important that is.

On the Halloween of Myers's escape, he inexplicably begins stalking three high school girls, the main one of which is Laurie Strode (Curtis). Her friends are named Lynda and Annie, and that's more than I would have remembered about them without reading it online. (Though while I was watching the movie, I probably found them more interesting as characters than I remember now.) Oh yeah, Wikipedia also reminds me that Annie was the sheriff's daughter. Anyway, Laurie takes a job babysitting a couple of kids. Well, actually she's just babysitting a little boy named Tommy, but Annie eventually brings over a little girl named Lindsey, whom she was babysitting, to get Laurie to take over for her. And... Michael Myers eventually kills some of the characters, and tries to kill more, but is finally defeated... and disappears without a trace, when he really should have been dead. Beyond that, there really isn't anything I can say. Because as I mentioned, I'm a surface-watcher. And I found the surface of the movie just okay. I wasn't really impressed by Myers as a character; he was more of an ominous cipher, with no personality at all (a fact that's neatly paralleled by his mask, which I found pretty nondescript, though it's actually a modified mask of Captain Kirk from Star Trek). But maybe he gets more interesting in the sequels. I definitely do want to check out at least some of them, sometime. Anyway, at least I thought Laurie was a good character. Yeah, I don't know what else to say. (But I really do wish I had written this review much sooner, and if I ever do get around to re-watching the film, I'll try to write a better review. Until then, there are plenty of reviews online that are better than anything I could ever write about it, anyway.)

Followed by Halloween II

Halloween index
slasher index