This Halloween, don’t go for the same old jump-scare horror flicks you can pick up on Netflix on a whim. Instead, revisit the classic that inspired so many others by checking out the original Halloween, written by the prolific John Carpenter – released exactly 40 years ago today on 25th October 1978.
The X-Rated slasher follows the deranged serial killer Michael Myers as he escapes a mental hospital to return on Halloween night to the town where, exactly 15 years previously, he had killed his sister, and follows his attempts to terrorise the village. Grisly stuff, and certainly not for the faint-hearted – but if you can stomach it, an instant classic.
Halloween pioneered many tropes that would become staples in the horror genre, chief among them the features of the ‘slasher’ sub-genre, in which a violent psychopath stalks and attacks a group of people. Films like Friday the 13th, Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street and many more were directly influenced by Halloween‘s terrifying, unrelenting antagonist and its hauntingly hopeless atmosphere. It would also prove to be one of the very best of the genre, with the surprising restraint in pacing and gore making for more likeable characters – and greater emotional impact upon their deaths.
Beyond inspiring countless horror flicks, satires, and parodies alike in the years and decades following its release, Halloween would go on to build a franchise in its own right, spawning a confusing continuity of seven sequels, a 2007 remake, a 2009 sequel to that remake, and a sequel to the original film (ignoring all other sequels) which is set to be released this autumn. But it is that 1978 original that still best holds its weight, and which is generally considered one of the definitive horror films of the ’70s and ’80s. So this Halloween, turn back the clock 40 years, and watch the original, terrifying hit that inspired all the rest.
Remind yourself of this influential classic by watching the trailer for the 2018 sequel below.