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Halloween (1978)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 8.5/10
Reviews Counted: 50
Fresh: 47 | Rotten: 3

Scary, suspenseful, and viscerally thrilling, Halloween set the standard for modern horror films.

80

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

Scary, suspenseful, and viscerally thrilling, Halloween set the standard for modern horror films.

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 297,654

My Rating

Movie Info

It was "The Night HE Came Home," warned the posters for John Carpenter's career-making horror smash. In Haddonfield, IL, on Halloween night 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers inexplicably slaughters his teenage sister. His psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) can't penetrate Michael's psyche after years of institutionalization, but he knows that, when Myers escapes before Halloween in 1978, there is going to be hell to pay in Haddonfield. While Loomis heads to Haddonfield to alert police,

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Horror

John Carpenter, Debra Hill

Oct 27, 1997

Compass International Pictures

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Cast

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All Critics (50) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (3) | DVD (44)

After a promising opening, Halloween becomes just another maniac-on-the-loose suspenser.

August 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (99)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

John Carpenter's 1978 tour de force, perhaps the most widely imitated film of the 70s.

August 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (6)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Perhaps not quite so resonant as Psycho to which it pays due homage, but it breathes the same air.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Halloween is an absolutely merciless thriller, a movie so violent and scary that, yes, I would compare it to Psycho.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (14)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Halloween remains untouched -- a modern classic of the most horrific kind.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sets the standard for slasher films and horror in general...

October 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Halloween still remains the greatest horror film of all time.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Examiner.com
Examiner.com

Still relevant. Still scary. Make a date on Halloween night to witness cinema's scariest Michael Myers (unless you've seen The Love Guru) causing carnage on the big screen.

October 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

[A] simple but horribly effective low-budget suburban horror ...

October 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Well worth another look on the big screen.

October 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Made on a tiny budget of $300,000, and shot in only 20 days, Halloween is one of the most influential, imitated, and commercial indies in American film history.

August 16, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

... if there's one John Carpenter film which is a must-see, it's Halloween.

October 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Playback:stl | Comment (1)
Playback:stl

First Michael Myers slasher fest isn't for kids.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A seminal slasher that gets better with age.

October 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

... except for its shamelessly (and irresistibly) zingy music score (by the director), Halloween achieves its considerable power almost entirely through visual means.

September 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

To call Halloween merely brilliant isn't giving it enough credit. As a horror film and as a historical milestone that single-handedly shaped and altered the future of an entire genre, it's downright transcendent.

October 27, 2008 Full Review Source: DustinPutman.com | Comments (4)
DustinPutman.com

Who could have predicted that the low-budget pic Halloween would have a profound influence on an industry, not to mention on the concept of Halloween itself?

October 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Virtually perfect. It is the one horror film that I would beg each and every lover of movies to watch, if I could pick only one.

July 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy | Comments (3)
Antagony & Ecstasy

John Carpenter and Debra Hill's film is a genuine landmark in the horror-thriller genre.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The movie itself is repressed; Hitchcock would have admired the way Carpenter artfully avoids explicit bloodshed.

September 17, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

The film hits us at a level deeper than most slasher films, and even as we are entertained by it, we are drawn in by its powerful suspense and implications.

September 5, 2007 Full Review Source: DVD Review
DVD Review

A modern horror classic.

August 27, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Regardless of how silly you think it all is, this will have you scared witless by the time the end credits roll; low budget horror hog heaven.

August 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Halloween

A maniac stalks and kills young women.
The first hour of this film is spent "building suspense." With long pans, stalking shots, heavy breathing, and an effective but redundantly used score, the film thinks that we're waiting in anticipation, bundling our nerves, but I was just bored. At about the forty-five-minute mark, I couldn't wait to watch a blonde fuck and die. Even the kill scenes didn't serve up any suspense especially since i predicted who was going to die first about five minutes into the film.
Overall, while it's possible that time has turned all that was original about Halloween into a cliche, there is something to be said for films that withstand time's test, and whatever that is can't be said about this film.
September 21, 2013
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

An unparalleled classic of the most horrific kind. If I have to pick the horror movie that has scared me the most, but made me appreciate what a good horror movie can provide, this is most definitely it. John Carpenter's film is masterfully filmed and directed with some of the most truly terrifying moments in cinema. The soundtrack has earned its place among the greatest in film, but even hearing it without the film on, it still gives me the chills. It really is sad that there has been so many mediocre to just plain awful sequels because I feel like sometimes people forget just how amazing this film truly is.
October 18, 2012
jlewis07

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]

Hitchcock's masterpiece Psycho provided a lot of inspiration for Halloween and yet John Carpenter's film has been deemed even more inspiring to the slasher sub genre of horror film making and that's all a bit confusing. But it's definetely not a bad horror movie, it has some very good jumps, an absolutely spine tingling soundtrack and amazing direction from horror expert John Carpenter. However, despite a fine execution the film is very predictable and unambitious. The story has been done before, the acting is pretty terrible and the villian goes under developed because of an unfortuate half told back story. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Nightmare on Elm Street at least had some sense of personality. I dont want to give the impression I didn't enjoy watching it, I greatly admire elements of it such as the superb shooting and brilliant build up's. It works but it's not amazing.
April 29, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

The greatest horror film of all time. Call it what you want: Classic, effective, a milestone, a masterpiece, whatever you please, this film will not be forgotten. This film not only revolutionized the Slasher genre, it perfected it. The suspense, the music, the atmosphere, the subtlety, the cast, (Donald Pleasence in particular, he did a fantastic job.) everything about this movie is flawless. I love it, I never get tired of it, this is what today's horror movies should be like.
February 6, 2012
Tyler Robertson

Super Reviewer

    1. Laurie: What's the boogeyman?
    2. Doctor Loomis: As a matter of fact, it was.
    – Submitted by John B (3 months ago)
    1. Bob: I can't help it. The phone keeps ringing.
    – Submitted by Aaron B (8 months ago)
    1. Laurie: Lynda, if this is a joke, I'll kill you!
    – Submitted by Nick S (10 months ago)
    1. Graveyard Keeper: Damn kids. They do this all the time.
    – Submitted by Judson P (12 months ago)
    1. Brackett: Doctor, do you know what Haddonfield is? Families, children, all lined up in rows up and down these streets. You're telling me they're lined up for a slaughterhouse?
    2. Doctor Loomis: They could be.
    3. Brackett: Alright, I'll stay with you through the night, just on the chance that you're right. And if you are right... damn you for letting him go.
    – Submitted by Logic J (18 months ago)
    1. Doctor Loomis: He came home!
    2. Doctor Loomis: This isn't a man!
    – Submitted by Gary E (18 months ago)
View all quotes (60)

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Foreign Titles

  • Halloween (DE)
  • Halloween (1978) (UK)
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