Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns home for a murderous Halloween night rampage in this classic slasher-horror film.
Runtime: 1hr 31m
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Nick Castle, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews, John Michael Graham, Nancy Stephens
Information Page: https://www.newonnetflix.info/info/569090
The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Lane only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death… by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalised for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realises it, it’ll be too late for many people.
Jamie Lee Curtis portrays the protagonist perfectly, from the first time you meet her character Laurie you start to care for her. She feels very much like the girl next door, who is conscientious and willing to help anyone. Once she realises that something is amiss you can both see and feel her terror. Whilst Donald Pleasence is totally captivating in possibly his most famous role as Dr. Loomis, you can read his eyes to feel everything that he’s feeling and the way he delivers the lines is so believable.
John Carpenter‘s mastery behind the camera can be seen early on with the brilliant opening sequence that takes us from outside the house, to the murder upstairs and then back outside, all of which is filmed as if you are Michael. This is a now classic sequence and it still holds up well today. The middle sequence of the film is perfectly written for us to get to know the characters but I love how Carpenter also uses it to build up the atmosphere of it being Halloween. The various pumpkins, the horror movies on television and even something as simple as the leaves falling perfectly puts us in the mood for everything that’s going to follow.
Halloween does everything right for the low budget that it had ($325,000 USD) and the time period it was filmed in. Mixing innovative new ideas with several homages to Alfred Hitchcock. We have scenes that are much too dark to see what is going on, but set a very good mood. We have first-person perspective from the killer or from over the shoulder of the killer (an often imitated technique). But best of all, I liked how the film constantly built suspense without ever letting the viewer relax (you never knew when the killer would strike).
A criticism could be that there is very little gore in this film at all… maybe only a spoonful of blood. But somehow Carpenter does what others have failed to do and made the deaths such an inconsequential part of the killer genre. Unlike Freddy or Jason, who hack their victims in half, Michael can kill off-screen and still be menacing.
This 43 year old film really stands the test of time, the ending even feels quite modern (if not a little rushed) by having an ending in it’s own right but at the same time setting up for a sequel.
You can also read our review of the sequel: Halloween II
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!