Halloween (1978)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Slasher Film, Teen Movie  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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With its almost blood-free frights, gutsy heroine, and peerless score, Halloween became the gold standard for the late '70s-'80s teen slasher cycle (as Scream cheekily acknowledged in 1996). Taking full advantage of the widescreen frame (and offscreen space), John Carpenter builds tension through the constant suggestion that something terrible lurks just out of Laurie's and the audience's view, whether it's behind a bush or in a passing car. Carpenter also shifts to the killer's point-of-view, leaving the audience with only the sight of the unaware victim and the sound of Michael's breathing. Evoking Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and Vertigo, as well as Howard Hawks' original The Thing, Carpenter and co-writer/producer Debra Hill render Myers an inhuman force that paradoxically points up the psychosexual anxieties under the surface of small-town life, especially in the wake of the late-'60s/early-'70s sexual revolution. Teens responded to Halloween's thrills, as the 325,000-dollar indie film went on to gross 47 million dollars, begetting six sequels and numerous imitators, like the Friday the 13th series.