Halloween

A superb essay in Hitchcockian suspense, which puts all its sleazy Friday the 13th imitators to shame with its dazzling skills and mocking wit. Rarely have the remoter corners of the screen been used to such good effect as shifting volumes of darkness and light reveal the presence of a sinister something. We know, and Carpenter knows we know, that it's all a game as his psycho starts decimating teenagers observed in the sexual act; and he delights in being one step ahead of expectation, revealing nothing when there should be something, and something - as in the subtle reframing of the girl sobbing in the doorway after she finally manages to kill the killer, showing the corpse suddenly sitting up again behind her - long after there should be nothing. Perhaps not quite so resonant as Psycho to which it pays due homage, but it breathes the same air.

Release details

Duration: 91 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Carpenter
Screenwriter: Debra Hill, John Carpenter
Cast: Nancy Loomis
Kyle Richards
Brian Andrews
John Michael Graham
Charles Cyphers
Jamie Lee Curtis
PJ Soles
Donald Pleasence

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Joe Hoare

As the reviewer claims, Psycho may be the more resonant film in its skewered take on modern Americana, coupled with its killer's complex pathology, but Halloween is of the same ilk: exsquisitely crafted, satisfying in its simplicity and almost mystical in its storytelling. Everything seems fittingly sheared down to the basics: the faceless white of the mask, the single-strand plotting, which - aside from exerting a raw power over the viewer - showcase Carpenter's early talent. And that soundtrack...

Joe Hoare

As the reviewer claims, Psycho may be the more resonant film in its skewered take on modern Americana, coupled with its killer's complex pathology, but Halloween is of the same ilk: exsquisitely crafted, satisfying in its simplicity and almost mystical in its storytelling. Everything seems fittingly sheared down to the basics: the faceless white of the mask, the single-strand plotting, which - aside from exerting a raw power over the viewer - showcase Carpenter's early talent. And that soundtrack...