There are plenty of great horror movies to watch during the Halloween season, but one film stands out among the rest. John Carpenter's Halloween is a classic in the horror genre and one of the films that helped launch the slasher movie into popularity. There have been many sequels, remakes and timeline reboots to the franchise, but most fans think the 1978 original is still the best.
It can be hard for a horror movie to remain effective after more than 40 years and it's true that some aspects of the movie feel rather dated. But you might be surprised how well the original holds up even after all this time. Here are some reasons why John Carpenter's Halloween has aged poorly and some reasons why it remains timeless.
10 Aged: The Dialogue
For even the best horror movies, the dialogue is often a weak point of the script. Not many people are showing up to horror movies to listen to snappy dialogue but it is nice when the characters speak intelligently and like real people. In the case of Halloween, the dialogue is on the edge of being distractingly bad.
A lot of this could be a result of the era with some slang and phrases feeling especially outdated. While that is forgivable, it does get a little irritating at times, like when one character says "totally" in every sentence they speak.
9 Timeless: The Music
John Carpenter is not only an incredibly talented filmmaker but also a very talented musician. He has scored a number of his films, often creating iconic music that is remembered as fondly as the films are. His best score still remains the haunting score for this movie.
As soon as the score kicks in with the opening credits, it draws the audience into the story and gives a sense of foreboding. The music used throughout the film adds a lot to the tense and wordless scenes.
8 Aged: The Mythology
In one way, the fact that Halloween has lived on in so many different films is a testament to the brilliance of the first film. On the other hand, almost all of the follow-ups have failed to do justice to that original film and they actually distract from the original's effectiveness.
The sequels introduced a lot of ideas dealing with the Myers family lineage, Michael's origins and even occult aspects. While the recent direct sequel sought to ignore all that and simplify things, it can be hard to wipe all that from your memory and just enjoy the original.
7 Timeless: Laurie Strode
Jamie Lee Curtis had her film debut in Halloween and it launched her status as the iconic "Scream Queen". She played Laurie Strode, the innocent and strait-laced babysitter who becomes the final target of Michael Myers.
While some think of Laurie as the hysterical teen screaming and running for her life, she is a much stronger character than that. Even as one of the first "final girls" from slasher movies, Laurie sets herself apart for being brave, protecting the children she is looking after and fighting back against the killer.
6 Aged: Scares
There is no doubt that Halloween was a terrifying movie when it was first released. Unfortunately, times have changed since 1978 and horror movie audiences have become harder to scare.
The movie still has an incredibly effective creepy vibe throughout the film, but it terms of eliciting genuine scares, it does pale in comparison to modern horror movies, including the recent Halloween sequel. Perhaps audiences have just come to expect the kind of jump scares and reveals that Halloween helped to popularize in the first place.
5 Timeless: Less Is More
While the scares of Halloween might not match up against modern horror movies, it is an overall better movie that almost everything that comes out in the genre these days. That is less a knock against modern horror and more praise of John Carpenter's skills as a filmmaker.
Halloween is so effective for how simple it is. Some of this is due to the film's small budget, but this is also how Carpenter worked for his entire career. He is a director who can do so much with so little. He uses locations and setups to their full potential, drawing every last bit of tension from it that he can.
4 Aged: Slasher Film Tropes
Halloween was so effective as a horror movie that it resulted in a number of copycat films, or at least films that tried to emulate the style. This resulted in a number of tropes being established that became comically clichéd the more we saw them in horror films.
The teen couple having sex and immediately getting killed. The terrorized babysitter. The killer walking calmly towards his victims. These and many more were inspired by Halloween. While it's not fair to the movie that introduced the tropes, it's hard to watch Halloween and not see it as cliched.
3 Timeless: Influence
Though the clichés of the slasher genre might be evident when watching Halloween, it's important that we don't overlook the immense influence the movie had on the horror genre. While it wasn't the first slasher film, the genre might never have become as popular as it did without Halloween.
From the music to the masked killer to the atmosphere of the film, Halloween showed filmmakers how to do these movies in an effective and exciting way. It may have inspired some bad movies, but it also inspired a lot of classics as well.
2 Aged: The Stalking Scenes
Early in the film, we see that Michael Myers takes a special interest in Laurie and begins following her throughout her day. This leads to the famous moment when Laurie looks outside her classroom window and sees Michael watching her only to disappear when she looks again.
It's a great moment that has been copied many times. However, the subsequent four or five times it happens in the movie become less and less effective. It eventually starts to get repetitive and even silly, especially when Michael manages to disappear outside Laurie's house even though she is looking at him the whole time.
1 Timeless: Michael Myers
One aspect of the film that helped make Halloween such an iconic movie was the character of Michael Myers. Michael has become one of the most recognizable villains in cinematic history and an iconic figure in the horror genre. Though he has appeared in many different films, he's never been better than in the original.
From his silent stalking to his eerie and wordless persona, to that infamous mask, Michael is unforgettable. He is the kind of figure you have nightmares about and has inspired so many other cinematic killers. But nothing beats the original.