Top Horror Films – #4 – Halloween

1978; directed by John Carpenter; written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill

Allen: Of all the movie killers in film history, none had quite the effect on me as Michael Myers did in Halloween. He has become a staple of horror movie legend, alongside the ranks of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Norman Bates. With his all-white mask, shaggy brown hair, and hollow black eyes, the very look of Myers scared the heck out of me as a child. In fact, in this film, he wasn’t yet known as “Michael Myers,” but “The Shape,” the representation of death, hurtling toward its victims with reckless abandon. In a way, he is much like the modern movie version of the Grim Reaper. With a great cast featuring Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, the man hot on the heels of this killer, and Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, the one person able to stand up to Michael, Halloween has become one of the great slasher films, a blue-print for the kind of movies that would follow it.

Ed: If Psycho was the Grandaddy of the slasher genre, this was the Papa. I know a lot of people prefer Freddy Krueger because he has more personality than Michael Myers. And growing up I was always kind of a Jason fan myself. But you have to respect this movie for starting the modern slasher film, and for the fact that most of the scares in it have to do with nothing more than atmosphere and camera placement. Michael shows up at the edge of a frame, and it’s more chilling than the murder that follows. The sequels got progressively worse, but give it up for this one.

John: John Carpenter is my favorite horror director and I feel this is his best film. Still the best slasher movie, even after hundreds of imitators. The score is arguably the most well-known in horror history and still sends chills up my spine. The cinematography by Dean Cundey (Back to the Future, Jurassic Park) is some of the best ever done for a horror film. Several sequels/remakes followed; the only ones of interest are parts 2 and 4.

Brandi: An extremely well-made film that is one I always want watch. This is not just my favorite horror film, but one of my very favorite films of any genre. No figure is more frightening, or more poignant to the common human experience, than the simple bogeyman. Michael Myers is the ultimate.

Team Rankings:
Brandi – #1
John – #3
Ben – #5
Allen – #6
Ed – #8
Spencer – #14
Jeremy – #23


Brandi is one of those people who worries about kids these days not appreciating black and white films. She also admires great moments of subtlety, since she has no idea how to be subtle herself.

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