User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 175 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 175

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  1. Sep 29, 2014
    10
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  2. Sep 16, 2014
    10
    A phenomenal horror movie that was an instant classic. Halloween has minimal gore and is more chilling than gory, Michael Meyers is a horror icon. ---
  3. Sep 10, 2014
    10
    Halloween is one of the best and scariest movies of 1978 along with Phantasm.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
  4. Aug 27, 2014
    8
    John Carpenter has a masterpiece on his hands. It transcends all other (often annoying) Halloween-related slasher movies. Perhaps, the use of Jamie Lee Curtis as our leading lady makes all the difference. She's wonderful.
  5. Aug 9, 2014
    10
    Ok, let's get this straight, this movie is not scary. Suspenseful, not scary. This is an old film so it wasn't going to be as scary as the new horror films. That doesn't matter though because I really enjoyed this film. It had a few violent parts, nothing like Saw or anything. You know, just stabbing and that kind of stuff. This movie was amazing, I recommend all horror fans, and also everyone, to watch this. Expand
  6. Aug 4, 2014
    9
    A truly suspenseful and terrifying film. John Carpenter is able to bring the scary without gore or torture, just good old fashion tension. Jamie Lee Curtis is brilliant and the films climax will leave you with chills
  7. Jul 1, 2014
    8
    The first half of this classic is rather uneventful, we see Michael escape the hospital, and college girls banter on about their personal life. I'm not much of a fan of this kind of character development. I found it rather trite.

    The suspense does eventually get running as Michael starts killing off these characters, and the soundtrack does justice to this psychotic mass murderer. The
    movie relies less on gore and more on the creeping murderer around every corner.

    Less is more, in this case.

    The presence of Donald Pleasence really makes the character of Michael Myers come to life, and without him, I doubt that I would have given much of a hoot about this film. He adds a more psychological side to Michael's otherwise uninteresting (but still rather creepy) presence.
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  8. May 2, 2014
    5
    It's actually not that gory or violent and it takes over an hour to get to anything remotely interesting but I can see some guilty pleasure value and why others may enjoy it; not to mention it was revolutionary for the horror genre.
  9. Feb 17, 2014
    10
    In my opinion, one of the scariest films ever made! Low budget, but the acting is solid and the scares come at a fast clip. You feel this movie as much as you see it, thanks to Carpenter's now legendary score. Jamie Lee Curtis shines as Laurie, as do the rest of the cast. Carpenter's direction is brilliant, especially that long opening shot. Also, the film does not rely on gore. The lighting is perfect for frightening the audience and the pale-masked killer, Michael Myers, looks and feel more menacing than Jason or Freddy.
    First horror movie I ever saw, and still love to this day. Michael Bay's/ Rob Zombie's remake were vulgar and atrocious.
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  10. Feb 8, 2014
    10
    This is the best movie ever. I was horrified of Michael's stealth and his strength, also he is seen on screen for about 9 minutes and that's what makes the movie scary and how it's creepy in a stalker like manner instead of those crappy horror flicks with nothing but brutal and mass murder. They should have never made sequels after this masterpiece. Wait who is that? OH GOD ITS MICHAEL MYERS! He's got a knife and is walking toward me!
    I'M KENNY FROM THE WALKING DEAD AND I REVIEW IT, OUCH! ... to save lives.
    (Heavy breathing) ................................................................................................
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  11. Dec 3, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The build up to Halloween (the holiday, not the film) has inspired me to explore the old slasher ‘classics’ of the ‘70s and ‘80s, which until now has been something of a neglected pursuit. It transpires that they are often relentlessly formulaic and derivative, although this does serve to highlight the strengths of superior films in the genre.

    Traditionally, we are introduced to a group of carefree and naive teenagers who are then systematically and sadistically dispatched with varying creativity by an unseen killer. The film usually concludes with a battle between the now revealed killer and the final (usually female) survivor, culminating in an often mind bogglingly ambiguous climax.

    Artistic integrity aside, many of these killers have developed into iconic horror characters, and (sometimes in spite the original directors’ wishes) have spawned persistent franchises. It is thus with a sense of genuine curiosity that I look towards the horizon at the undoubtedly heady delights of Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) and an answer as to why Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) is followed by yet another three Nightmare on Elm Street films.

    Where better to start than with Halloween (the film, not the holiday)? Even if it didn’t spawn the genre, its global success certainly solidified it in the public consciousness. It brought horror away from the supernatural and into the idyllic streets of suburban America.

    Naturally, the film opens on Halloween night (purportedly chosen when director John Carpenter realised that nobody had yet made a film by that name) when a teenage girl is murdered by her own brother, the young Michael Myers. He bears a simple name that would come to represent evil incarnate, at least until it became irrevocably associated with a certain Canadian comic actor.

    The tagline “The night he came home!” is enough to reveal that the rest of the film takes place on a Halloween some fifteen years later, when an adult Michael escapes from a psychiatric hospital with the single minded objective of returning to his hometown and indulging his psychopathic tendencies.

    For reasons at yet unknown, his ultimate objective seems to be Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis in a role which would earn her the title of ‘scream queen’ and land her roles in the wave of slashers that appeared in Halloween’s wake, including Prom Night (1980) and Terror Train (1980).

    For all its commercial success, Halloween is at heart an independent film, one of Carpenter’s earliest, brimming with evidence of budgetary constraints and notably fraught with continuity and production errors. The famous mask was in fact a painted William Shatner mask from Star Trek, and the film was shot during spring in Southern California (not autumn in Illinois) on a tight schedule: Donald Pleasence, who played Michael’s psychiatrist Dr. Loomis, filmed all his scenes in under a week.

    Against this backdrop, Carpenter makes use of shadow and subtlety, rather than special effects. Those familiar with more modern films may be surprised by the low body count and lack of graphic violence. The slow pacing draws out the tension, and allows the character development that other such films lack. Much of the first half follows Laurie and her friends through their day, whilst Michael stalks them one step behind. He is the unsettling figure in the distance, always drifting in and out of sight. Only Laurie sees, and her distress falls on the deaf ears of her incredulous friends.

    Not everything about Halloween is completely original. At one point, Michael evokes a traditional campfire tale by hiding in the back seat of a victim’s car, a variant of which has appeared in everything from The Godfather (1972) to The Dark Knight (2008) and even in later slasher films.

    Pleasence steals the show as Dr. Loomis, bringing gravitas to a film of otherwise fluctuating acting quality. It’s faintly hammy, but the sinister British elocution provides a voice of reason and grim truth against the sea of American hysteria as he reveals the true depravity of his patient’s soul in one of the best quotes in the film:

    “I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realised that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”

    We cannot deny that Loomis was right to be wary, but at its most cynical reading this paints a picture of a psychiatric system that has utterly failed Michael as a patient. Nevertheless, for a film which appears grounded in a real world interpretation of horror, there are undeniable echoes of the supernatural: Michael’s nigh immortality to the grievous wounds inflicted upon him lend credence to the diagnosis that there may be something truly diabolic at work.
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  12. Nov 11, 2013
    10
    This is an honestly suspenseful thriller it truly builds up right from the beginning. The fantastic simplicity of using the same soundtrack throughout lacks monotone and adds creepy familiarity, the neighborhood as the setting proves to be a falsely secure yet sunny environment. You're almost begging Michael Myers not to take off the mask which illustrates someone who looks human, but feels inhuman with those dark, merciless look in where his eyes should be. The colour is a muted, almost grainy tone, giving a more authentic 80's feel, with the shadow in the background disappearing with a second look which we unquestionably accept until the real thrills happen, as the haunting presence that contrasted with the setting is able to come out. Even when he does, Myers is still both intimidating and ruthless as he picks them off.
    The self-reference of a director undoubtedly feels out of place, but the psychiatric character of Dr. Loomis played brilliantly with undeniably precise questioning by Donald Pleasance. We can forgive his more likely ridiculous stance as he searches for his patient, because it is counter-acted by such an emotionless, inhuman embodiment of nature vs. nurture with no solid reason to kill.
    The running time was in tune with the story-line without frequent jump scares to provide nutrition, the kills worthwhile when they happen with a amazingly juicy one in the downstairs kitchen. It works with realism a quiet, normal neighborhood disrupted by, rather than a raging presence, a silent stalker that symbolically represents the real safety of our neighborhood which can be likewise seen in other twisted slashers such as A Nightmare On Elm Street. The killer that comes out from beneath its shell and strikes without warning. A 6 year old with no soul, a butcher knife and murder on his mind? That is an argument that writes itself.
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  13. Nov 1, 2013
    10
    On of the greatest American slashers ever created, its the simple fact that the main antagonist is just their, staring at you through his cold heartless eyes, stalking the viewer, its so goddamn creepy
  14. Oct 14, 2013
    10
    I LOVE HALLOWEEN. It's one of the best horror movies ever made and my favourite horror movie! Any fan of horror movies is intimately familiar with Halloween even if they've not seen the actual film itself. The movie has been mimicked and parodied extensively and the cliches present have become embedded in pop culture. The movie begins with the view from the eyes of a killer, who watches a girl have sex with her boyfriend. As soon as he leaves, he stabs her with a knife. The killer turns out to be her six-year old brother and is committed to a mental institution. Fifteen years later, Michael Myers (Tony Moran), returns to his old home to kill once again. His targets this time include three high school students: Annie (Nancy Kyes), Lynda (P. J. Soles), and Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis). Who dies next and who ends up living is the guessing game the audience gets to play (along with the characters). Whether intentionally or not, the movie ends up having a moralistic message. All the people who are killed are involved in sexual acts. Michael Myers is portrayed as the embodiment of evil, as opposed to being a "normal" serial killer, and some of the things he does has a hint of the supernatural. It's interesting that the movies Halloween inspired, in the slash-and-gore horror genre, borrow less from the Psycho-like feel present in the film and instead seek to showcase the scenes we don't see. There's little gore in the film and a lot of the fear is psychological. The movie is made more frightening simply because we don't see body parts splattered about. Yet later movies chose to abandon suspense as a means of achieving terror and sought instead to shock people by showing more blood and gore. Halloween's status as a cult film is assured. The movie has several flaws, but the primary reason it has gained such a status has to do with director John Carpenter's minimalist distillation of the most pure, adrenaline generating, horror and suspense moments seen before in previous films. Definitely worth a rental on Halloween night. Expand
  15. Oct 10, 2013
    9
    The fun scare-fest that it is, Halloween fulfills all your expectations. It's creepy, messes with your mind, and suspense and horror are there. It avoids some horror movie clichés, but still uses some. But, maybe we can forgive that, since this movie was in 1978 when the clichés we see in horror movies nowadays were just starting out then.
  16. Sep 20, 2013
    10
    This movie is a diamond in the horror field. There is yet to be a movie made to even come close to matching it's perfection. Jamie Lee Curtis couldn't have stumbled upon a better debut. The music score is terrifying and eerie and the white mask of the shape scares you even after the movie's over. The acting was perfect and the filming was perfect. Especially for a bunch of teenagers making a horror film in 1978. Beautifully directed movie. Brilliant. Expand
  17. Aug 30, 2013
    10
    Revolutionary in fathering the slasher genre and catering to the masses without the blood and gore viewers are so sensitized by today. Moving briskly at a pace in which the brooding fear of The Shape's attacks build you're left shivering in your seat as the excellent score carries the mood. Carpenter crafted an immaculate piece of Horror, without perverting art in the name of profit.
  18. May 21, 2013
    10
    Wow, was that a pretty good and scary movie.
    My favorite old horror movie after Carrie.
    That epic music and that nervous breakdown!
    Say hello to the nightmares.
  19. May 13, 2013
    10
    Talk about a classic. When people talk about the first slasher film, they actually say Psycho, but this is a close contender. Not that it's not as good as that film, in fact I think that Psycho is a bit better made compared to this, but I'm here to talk about Halloween. This is by far my favorite horror movie, and I'm a Jason fan above all. The killer is not what makes this film; entirely, some good casting and photography makes everything better. Sure by todays standards this not considered scary or horrifying, but then again what is? Anyways, ever so rarely do you get a timeless story for a horror movie, because by now they all run dry in trying to be in on the joke. But wasn't great when you could watch a horror movie and not have to watch them make fun of themselves and the clichés they follow? I'm always up for watching a movie, of almost any genre; drama is not my forte, but horror would be my first suggestion. I watched this with friends on Halloween, it was the start of my horror movie phase; in watching all the classic slasher films, and this one came out on top. If you must know the order of the other 3 main series would be: nightmare on Elm street, Texas chainsaw massacre, and ironically Friday the 13th. Like I said previously, the camera work works well with the suspense, adding to it and making it more "terrifying". Terrifying might be a bit extreme. The story is good, it was made at a time where the formula wasn't dried up yet. Along with timeless storytelling, it manages to create some interesting themes in it. Talking about suburbia and its effects on certain people, pro feminism in how it's a damsel saving the day. So this is not just a bunch of nostalgia for me, this is a well put together film by a talented writer(s), and I think this is the definitive horror movie that should be viewed by anyone who's interested in horror or just plain filmmaking. Expand
  20. Dec 9, 2012
    10
    A brief retort to two common criticisms of this great, great movie.... 1) "Not a lot of big scares, lots of down time." These people have a very loose grasp, if any, on the concept of building tension... To them, the scenes where the killer is peering in from the background are meaningless if they don't immediately culminate in a satisfying kill scene. This may seem funny to say, but this movie was made at a time when nobody knew who Michael Myers was or what he was capable of. Watching this movie through the eyes of a newcomer might help these people appreciate suspense. 2) "They don't give us a reason for all the killing" That's the point! It's scarier that way, if you don't even know what motivates the killer, then he becomes even less human. There's no emotion, no reasoning, just a body walking around, taking death wherever it goes. People who have a problem with this are simply too used to having each and every background detail spoon-fed to them to enjoy a movie that purposely leaves the darkest parts to the imagination. 3) I read one review calling this movie "cliched"... which hilariously overlooks the fact that Halloween *started all those cliches!* So essentially, this person blames this movie for being too much like the movies that copied it... have fun with that one.... Yes, this movie does have its shortcomings (acting, editing, modest production values) but it still stands as an understated masterpiece, and the granddaddy of a sub-genre all its own. The buildup and release of tension are timed as skilfully as any scare flick ever made, and the near-total lack of blood only serves to underline the fact that the world's first slasher flick got its teeth from real directing and storytelling as opposed to cheap visuals and gratuitous violence. JUST REMEMBER: this movie must be seen in full widescreen, otherwise the framing will ruin some key scenes. Expand
  21. Nov 10, 2012
    9
    Film di suspence e non di splatter, nonostante con il tempo si è creato un mito il quale vedeva coinvolto halloween come uno dei primi horror splatter, ciò nonostante di sangue nel film se ne veda davvero poco. Carpenter ha inventato un mito, intrattiene, stupisce e induce lo spettatore a immedesimarsi con la protagonista Lorie Strode, interpretata da una appena 21 Jamie Lee Curtis. La colonna sonora divenuta un cult, venne poi riadattata nei successivi capitoli, tutti inferiori al primo. ma il vero protagonista è il killer: "Michael Myers" forse uno dei migliori killer, grazie al fatto che si discosti dalla realtà dato che nn si veda mai la sua faccia, tranne nella scena iniziale. Un cult superiore a tutti i film horror degli anni 70-80. Capolavoro. Expand
  22. Nov 8, 2012
    10
    One of the greatest horror films ever made; Halloween has an impeccable system of suspense, and echoes the great classic, Psycho.
  23. Nov 1, 2012
    9
    This is a fun, scary movie. "Halloween" is the horror flick that provided the formula for all slasher flicks to come. Though by today's standards it looks really low budget, it thrives in thrills, and the use of atmosphere rather than gore only intensifies our adrenaline. Jamie Lee Curtis gives a great performance (and the one that ruined her career for years), but the real star is director John Carpenter, who directs each scene who loads of tension. "Halloween" is constantly suspenseful, and a work of art among the horror genre-- just avoid all of the needless sequels. Expand
  24. Nov 1, 2012
    2
    Excessively overrated crap. How can I decently scare me when I know so little of the story? Why does Michael Myers kill? Why this girl? And why couldn't you integrate some additional stories, Mr. Carpenter? A good horror movie offers more than apparently purportless killings. Not scary, not intelligent, not good. At least I thought the Michael Myers characters was good. His mask and his groaning are pretty scary, you could've made a good film out of this. Expand
  25. Oct 31, 2012
    10
    The horror movie of horror movies. Whenever someone is asked to listen a popular horror movie, A great majority of them will say Halloween for a reason. It's a must see classic for all horror fans.
  26. Oct 5, 2012
    10
    Halloween One of the best horror movie's 0f the 70's The Exorcist (1973). The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) . The Omen (1976). Carrie (1976). Halloween (1978)
  27. Sep 9, 2012
    10
    Extremely scary and well made low budget horror film that delivers quality scares without gore. Carpenter's direction is brilliant, as is his legendary soundtrack. Very atmospheric and chilling.
  28. Jul 4, 2012
    8
    The twists of the movie and the soundtrack is what causes the suspense!! That's what horror movies lack in these days, particurally the remake of this CLASSIC
  29. Dec 3, 2011
    8
    While it does suffer from terrible over acting - Halloween gives us an actual scary horror film classic that is not only entertaining but its interesting. I enjoyed it.
  30. Nov 14, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Bottom Line: Why appreciate Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street when you can appreciate this? Halloween started it ALL.

    The thing that truly makes this one a classic is that it is certainly a slasher, but it also manages to maintain the actual â
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  31. j30
    Nov 9, 2011
    10
    This is a great movie that has dated a bit, but the premise and atmosphere is creepier than Hell. No guts, no glory doesn't apply here, there is little or no blood and still manages to scare. The thought of being watched has always made the hair on the back of my neck stand.
  32. Sep 25, 2011
    8
    Legendary director John Carpenter made his mark in the horror genre with "Halloween". Yes, its that good (and scary).
  33. May 8, 2011
    8
    Even though this movie is technically a slasher flick the action doesn't come un till much later into the movie so if your looking for a plain blood bath this is probably not your type of thing however the story line is well developed and the suspense does build, as we know that at the end the killer (Michael Myers) will inevitably attack the main character (Laurie Strode) . The basis of the plot is that Michael Myers escapes from a mental institute and goes back to his home town where he starts Stalking a girl, After finding out about the escape his physiologist realises where he is heading and goes to the home town to find, and i will leave the rest of this brilliant movie for you to watch, since if you are a horror fan this is defiantly a must watch. Expand
  34. Mar 12, 2011
    10
    Greatest horror film that has ever been made. This movie is amazing and will always be my favorite. It is so creepy and scary without even showing blood and gore. I can't imagine not loving this movie. This movie is horror! You can't top Michael Myers. John Carpenter is amazing!!
  35. SFN
    Jan 8, 2011
    10
    this movie is amazing, the storyline is amazing, the actors are good, and the whole creation of micheal myers is awesome, John Carpenter is a genuis!!!
  36. Dec 3, 2010
    6
    Halloween was not the best in the series, because first of all, there was no blood. Which made the movie really suck, A horror slasher film needs to have blood.
  37. Oct 30, 2010
    10
    Brilliant film. Great suspenseful movie, John Carpenter is a genius. Not much gore but certainly one of the best horror movies ever. The music is well-written and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Michael Myers is the ultimate horror movie character, well thought-out, a simple character yet creates an atmosphere which is incredibly scary. First saw this film when I was 10 and scared the life out of me, overall, a great film and possibly the best horror movie ever. Expand
  38. Sep 8, 2010
    7
    Boy kills his sister, goes to asylum, escapes 15 years later, goes back to hometown to terrorise teenagers.
    John Carpenter's benchmark slasher film which served as a template for many others to follow & created the horror that is Michael Myers.
    Most of it still stands up quite well using Myers sparingly, sometimes only seeing Myers' mask standing out in the darkness in the corner of your
    eye.
    It does get a bit silly in the last ten minutes but overall a solid horror film.
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Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Emery
    78
    Not entirely without some laughable or dated scenes, Halloween remains an original that continues to inspire a genre and probe middle America's fears about what's really lurking in the laundry room after midnight.
  2. 100
    Halloween is an absolutely merciless thriller...I would compare it to "Psycho."
  3. 100
    From a shock-and-suspense point-of-view, Halloween is the rival of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." With only a few arguable exceptions (such as "The Exorcist"), there isn't another post-1970 release that comes close to it in terms of scaring the living hell out of a viewer... A modern classic of the most horrific kind.