The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized 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 realizes it, it’ll be too late for many people.
I was 20 back in 1978, and saw this on opening weekend. I knew nothing of it, and after growing up on the old Hammer films, followed by a period of almost nothing, this was quite a nice surprise. It really worked! Had me checking the back seat in cars, gave me a sinking feeling when I lost my keys, etc. The low death toll and relative lack of blood, as compared to subsequent slasher films, has me really admiring how effectively it created the atmosphere & suspense that kept me on edge, and made me jump at the right places. I certainly don’t jump any more at it, but I do have fun remembering what it was like watching it when the now-cliches were fresh & new. I laugh at the ‘horror’ flicks of the 30s & 40s, but when they were new, I bet they were something. And I bet in another 20 years, today’s toddlers will find Scream/IKWYDLS, et al, to be tame and passe too, at least compared to what they’ll (& I’ll) be watching then!
I’m surprised at the number of people half my age who wish they could’ve been around to see this film when it was brand new!
Looking back, Halloween probably scared me more when it was new, than other horror movies have,when they were new. Horror films are indebted to Halloween for breaking some new ground, and I can’t wait for the next horror film that will do something on a similar scale.