Halloween (1978 film)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Halloween is a 1978 American independent horror film set in the fictional midwestern town of Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween. The original draft of the screenplay was titled The Babysitter Murders. John Carpenter directed the film, which stars Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, and Nick Castle as Michael Myers (listed in the credits as "The Shape"). The film centers on Myers' escape from a psychiatric hospital, his murdering of teenagers, and Dr. Loomis's attempts to track and stop him. Halloween is widely regarded as a classic among horror films, and as one of the most influential horror films of its era, thus causing, in 2006, to have this film selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Halloween was produced on a budget of $325,000 United States dollars and grossed $47 million at the box office in the United States, equivalent to over $150 million as of 2008, becoming one of the most profitable independent films ever made. Many critics credit the film as the first in a long line of slasher films inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). The movie originated many clichés found in low-budget horror films of the 1980s and 1990s. The film contains little graphic violence and gore.
Critics have suggested that Halloween and its slasher film successors may encourage sadism and misogyny. Others have suggested the film is a social critique of the immorality of young people in 1970s America, pointing out that many of Myers' victims are sexually promiscuous substance abusers, while the lone heroine is depicted as chaste and innocent. While Carpenter dismisses such analyses, the perceived parallel between the characters' moral strengths and their likelihood of surviving to the film's conclusion has nevertheless become a standard slasher movie trope.