This being the season of sugar, scares and sexy costumes, let’s give a nod not only to the film of the same name, but which defined a huge chunk of horrordom. The slasher sub-genre has been a little slow of late, but you can still expect at least one movie each year that copies its formula. And that all started back in 1978, when Donald Pleasance got top billing and Jamie Lee Curtis was still someone who needed introduction…
When Sean S. Cunningham, creator of the Friday The 13th series, speaks about how the legend of Jason and his mom got started, he openly admits watching Halloween a lot and copying a lot of its ideas (and camera angles). Purists can argue that there have been earlier iterations of the ‘bad man stalking young people’ film – stuff like Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Wes Craven’s Last House On The Left. But John Carpenter wrote down the numbers everyone else would paint by. And Jamie cemented the classic horror protagonist: an attractive, smart, attainable, naive and ultimately survivalist teenage girl next door. Nobody has taken her scream queen yet.
The Halloween series has not had the same pop culture longevity as the likes of Jason or Freddy (or even Pinhead). Still, many still recognise Mike Myers and his ghostly facade. Myers is, for all purposes, a total psychopath. The film starts with him, aged around eight, slaughtering his sister. More than a decade later he escapes from a mental asylum and heads back to his old home. Here a chance encounter with the young Lee Curtis leads him to stalk her and her friends, with several ending up quite dead.
Today Halloween may seem trite and old-fashioned today. But for the audiences of the late seventies it was an ultra-violent watershed in mainstream horror, and the unstoppable serial killer trope was born. The Eighties would become awash in these films and a string of revivals would keep the slasher afloat across the Nineties and into the 21st century. Sadly the Halloween series never cultivated the sequel cachet and reputation of its contemporaries, and Jason has stolen Michael’s thunder. But even films like Saw would not exist were it not for Mike Myers stalking suburbia.
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Last Updated: October 28, 2013