is as pure and undiluted as its title. In the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois, a teenage baby sitter tries to survive a Halloween night of relentless terror, during which a knife-wielding maniac goes after the town's hormonally charged youths. Director John Carpenter takes this simple situation and orchestrates a superbly mounted symphony of horrors. It's a movie much scarier for its dark spaces and ominous camera movements than for its explicit bloodletting (which is actually minimal). Composed by Carpenter himself, the movie's freaky music sets the tone; and his script (cowritten with Debra Hill) is laced with references to other horror pictures, especially Psycho
. The baby sitter is played by Jamie Lee Curtis, the real-life daughter of Psycho
victim Janet Leigh; and the obsessed policeman played by Donald Pleasence is named Sam Loomis, after John Gavin's character in Psycho
. In the end, though, Halloween
stands on its own as an uncannily frightening experience--it's one of those movies that had audiences literally jumping out of their seats and shouting at the screen. ("No! Don't drop that knife!") Produced on a low budget, the picture turned a monster profit, and spawned many sequels, none of which approached the 1978 original. Curtis returned for two more instalments: 1981's dismal Halloween II
, which picked up the story the day after the unfortunate events, and 1998's occasionally gripping Halloween H20
, which proved the former baby sitter was still haunted after 20 years. --Robert Horton
The complete collection of 'Halloween' films. In 'Halloween' (1978) psychotic killer Michael Myers escapes from the lunatic asylum he was confined to fifteen years before and returns to his home town of Haddonfield. Bookish babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), all alone in the house on Halloween, soon discovers that she is Michael's new target. Can Doctor Loomis (Donald Pleasence), a psychiatrist who has studied Michael's case, arrive in time to save her? 'Halloween II' (1981) catches up with Laurie as she spends time in hospital recovering from her horrific encounter with Myers. She thinks he is now dead, but before long he has her on the run again. 'Halloween III - Season of the Witch' (1983) deviates from the tried-and-tested slasher formula to tell a story about an evil corporation which plans to take over the minds of the populace by transmitting hypnotic TV adverts that are received by novelty Halloween masks. 'Halloween 4 - The Return of Michael Myers' (1988) sees Michael Myers escape and return once again to Haddonfield, where he sets his sights on his niece Jaime (Danielle Harris). 'Halloween 5 - The Revenge of Michael Myers' (1989) has Jaime team up with Doctor Loomis when she senses that her uncle is about to go on the rampage once more.In 'Halloween 6 - The Curse of Michael Myers' (1995), Doctor Loomis warns the townsfolk of Haddonfield that Michael will soon make another bloody return. In 'Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later' Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) apparently killed in a car crash actually faked her death so that she could adopt a new identity. She is now Keri Tate, headmistress of a private school in California, and mother of a teenage son, John. Unfortunately, Halloween 1998 - the twentieth anniversary of Michael's original attack - sees the slasher decide that the time is now right to get back in touch with his family. In 'Halloween: Resurrection' it is revealed that in the previous film 'Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later'', Laurie Strode (Curtis) beheaded the wrong person. Confined to a mental institution, she soon falls victim to Myers (Brad Loree). Meanwhile in Haddonfield, Illinois, a group of college students are to star in an online reality show where they spend the night in the killer's childhood home. It isn't long before Michael Myers is stalking them one by one.