The Fantasy Review‘s Spoiler-Free Review of Halloween (1978).
This is a beloved franchise, and John Carpenter’s original Halloween from 1978 is put on the pedestal that every other movie in the franchise gets compared to. I enjoyed this movie, I did, and after watching it a few times now I can be sure that I think it was good, but I don’t get the hype.
First of all, we have to mention John Carpenter’s legendary score. The soundtrack of Halloween feels like a character! Because the story is slow to pick up the pace, it’s the score that keeps you engaged, worrying about what’s around every corner, lurking in the shadows…
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode is the perfect casting – she brings a charm and strength to the character that was sorely missing in Scout Taylor-Compton’s performance in Rob Zombie’s 2007 and 2009 remakes.
Michael Myers’ mask is pretty cool in this movie, and he has some iconic kills that were entertaining.
I didn’t find Michael Myers all that scary in Halloween (1978). Sure, the mask was creepy and the music is designed to startle you, but even then he was just a bloke wandering about with a knife.
We are supposed to think he’s this great thing of evil, some kind of demon walking the Earth (as Samuel Loomis keeps repeating, over and over again, just in case we missed him saying it the last time). It doesn’t work well in this first movie, but they do improve on it in some of the sequels.
Except for Laurie, none of the characters are that great. I just don’t care about any of Michael’s victims or Loomis or anyone – they have no personality, no soul. Again, the story, and the characters along with it, are give more depth in future movies, but that leaves this first one as a very basic, shallow movie.
The simplicity is something many people like about Halloween (1978), and it’s done very well, but I prefer movies with a bit more to the story.
Despite the negatives, I do think Halloween (1978) is a classic. It has undoubtedly influenced the horror genre for the better and it was the start of a pretty good slasher franchise.