Production[ edit ] After viewing Carpenter's film Assault on Precinct 13 at the Milan Film Festival, independent film producer Irwin Yablans and financier Moustapha Akkad sought out Carpenter to direct a film for them about a psychotic killer that stalked babysitters. Akkad worried over the tight, four-week schedule, low budget, and Carpenter's limited experience as a filmmaker, but told Fangoria, "Two things made me decide.
One, Carpenter told me the story verbally and in a suspenseful way, almost frame for frame. Second, he told me he didn't want to take any fees, and that showed he had confidence in the project". Carpenter hired Tommy Lee Wallace as production designer , art director , location scout and co-editor. In the script it said Michael Myers's mask had 'the pale features of a human face' and it truly was spooky looking. I can only imagine the result if they hadn't painted the mask white.
Children would be checking their closet for William Shatner after Tommy got through with it. Penney for around a hundred dollars. An abandoned house owned by a church stood in as the Myers house. Local families dressed their children in Halloween costumes for trick-or-treat scenes. One was labeled "" suggesting that it was additional footage for the television version of the film. Synapse owner Don May, Jr. Luckily, Billy [Kirkus] was able to find this material before it was destroyed. The story on how we got the negative is a long one, but we'll save it for when we're able to showcase the materials in some way.
Kirkus should be commended for pretty much saving the Holy Grail of horror films. There is no sound in any of the reels so far, since none of it was used in the final edit. Yablans and Akkad ceded most of the creative control to writers Carpenter and Hill whom Carpenter wanted as producer , but Yablans did offer several suggestions. According to a Fangoria interview with Hill, "Yablans wanted the script written like a radio show, with 'boos' every 10 minutes.
Although Samhain is not mentioned in the plot of the first film, Hill asserts that: We went back to the old idea of Samhain, that Halloween was the night where all the souls are let out to wreak havoc on the living, and then came up with the story about the most evil kid who ever lived.
And when John came up with this fable of a town with a dark secret of someone who once lived there, and now that evil has come back, that's what made Halloween work. Many script details were drawn from Carpenter's and Hill's adolescence and early careers. The fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois was derived from Haddonfield, New Jersey, where Hill grew up, and most of the street names were taken from Carpenter's hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Laurie Strode was the name of one of Carpenter's old girlfriends and Michael Myers was the name of an English producer who had previously entered, with Yablans, Assault on Precinct 13 in various European film festivals.
Tommy Doyle is named after Lt. Sheriff Leigh Brackett shared the name of a Hollywood screenwriter. While on a class trip at a mental institution in Kentucky , Carpenter visited "the most serious, mentally ill patients".
Among those patients was a young boy around twelve to thirteen years-old. The boy gave this "schizophrenic stare", "a real evil stare", which Carpenter found "unsettling", "creepy", and "completely insane". Carpenter's experience would inspire the characterization that Loomis would give of Michael to Sheriff Brackett in the film. Sam Loomis, the hero of the film. Jamie Lee Curtis, in her feature film debut, plays Laurie Strode, the heroine of the film.
The low budget limited the number of big names that Carpenter could attract, and most of the actors received very little compensation for their roles.
Loomis was originally intended for Peter Cushing , who had recently appeared as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars ; Cushing's agent rejected Carpenter's offer due to the low salary. Christopher Lee was also approached for the role; he too turned it down, although the actor would later tell Carpenter and Hill that declining the role was the biggest mistake he made during his career.
Yablans then suggested Pleasence, who agreed to star because his daughter Lucy, a guitarist, had enjoyed Assault on Precinct 13 for Carpenter's score. I had no idea who she was. However, Lockhart had commitments to several other film and television projects. Kyes had previously starred in Assault on Precinct 13 as had Cyphers and happened to be dating Halloween's art director Tommy Lee Wallace when filming began.
Soles to play Lynda Van Der Klok, another friend of Laurie's, best remembered in the film for dialogue peppered with the word "totally. According to one source, "Carpenter realized she had captured the aura of a happy go lucky teenage girl in the 70s. Carpenter is uncannily skilled, for example, at the use of foregrounds in his compositions, and everyone who likes thrillers knows that foregrounds are crucial The camera slowly moves toward the jack-o'-lantern's left eye as the main title theme plays.
After the camera fully closes in, the jack-o'-lantern's light dims and goes out. Telotte says that this scene "clearly announces that [the film's] primary concern will be with the way in which we see ourselves and others and the consequences that often attend our usual manner of perception".
It should be what they thought they saw that frightens them". Carpenter is not the first director to employ this method or use of a steadicam ; for instance, the first scene of Psycho offers a voyeuristic look at lovers in a seedy hotel.
Telotte argues, "As a result of this shift in perspective from a disembodied, narrative camera to an actual character's eye Remaining relatively un-graphic, this scene displays the use of lighting to create its atmosphere rather than graphic blood and violence. The first scene of the young Michael's voyeurism is followed by the murder of Judith seen through the eye holes of Michael's clown costume mask.
According to one commentator, Carpenter's "frequent use of the unmounted first-person camera to represent the killer's point of view Hill comments, "We didn't want it to be gory. We wanted it to be like a jack-in-the box. According to Curtis, Carpenter created a "fear meter" because the film was shot out-of-sequence and she was not sure what her character's level of terror should be in certain scenes.
She had different facial expressions and scream volumes for each level on the meter. For example, when Castle asked what Myers' motivation was for a particular scene, Carpenter replied that his motivation was to walk from one set marker to another.
Halloween soundtrack Another major reason for the success of Halloween is the moody musical score, particularly the main theme. It took Carpenter three days to compose the entire score for the film. Critic James Berardinelli calls the score "relatively simple and unsophisticated", but admits that "Halloween's music is one of its strongest assets".
The song is heard as Laurie steps into Annie's car on her way to babysit Tommy Doyle. It had its Los Angeles debut October 27, A new documentary was screened before the film at all locations, entitled, You Can't Kill the Boogeyman: Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. After a debate among Carpenter, Hill and NBC's Standards and Practices over censoring of certain scenes, Halloween appeared on television for the first time in October The newly filmed scenes include Dr.
Loomis at a hospital board review of Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis talking to a thenyear-old Michael at Smith's Grove, telling him, "You've fooled them, haven't you, Michael? Loomis at Smith's Grove examining Michael's abandoned cell after his escape and seeing the word "Sister" scratched into the door. Finally, a scene was added in which Lynda comes over to Laurie's house to borrow a silk blouse before Laurie leaves to babysit, just as Annie telephones asking to borrow the same blouse.
The new scene had Laurie's hair hidden by a towel, since Curtis was by then wearing a much shorter hairstyle than she had worn in Unmasked"; a documentary produced and directed by Mark Cerulli which featured an array of interviews with original Halloween cast and crew including Jamie Lee Curtis, Debra Hill, John Carpenter, Nick Castle and others.
The most recent release of the film is the single-disc restored version, with improved picture and sound quality. In , the movie was released on Blu-ray as well, marking the film's first ever Blu-ray release. The Blu-ray features a commentary track by Carpenter, Hill and Curtis, the trailer, TV spots, radio spots, fast film facts and the documentary Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest.
The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: Pauline Kael wrote a scathing review in The New Yorker suggesting that "Carpenter doesn't seem to have had any life outside the movies: Allen noted that the film was sociologically irrelevant but ceded that the Hitchcock-like technique was effective and "the most honest way to make a good schlock film".
Allen pointed out the stylistic similarities to Psycho and George A. Romero 's Night of the Living Dead Audiences have been heard screaming at its horrifying climaxes". The site's critical consensus reads, "Scary, suspenseful, and viscerally thrilling, Halloween set the standard for modern horror films.
Claiming it encouraged audience identification with the killer, Martin and Porter pointed to the way "the camera moves in on the screaming, pleading, victim, 'looks down' at the knife, and then plunges it into chest, ear, or eyeball. Some feminist critics, according to historian Nicholas Rogers, "have seen the slasher movies since Halloween as debasing women in as decisive a manner as hard-core pornography. Although she manages to repel the killer several times, in the end, Strode is rescued in Halloween and Halloween II only when Dr.
Loomis arrives to shoot Myers. Clover argue that despite the violence against women, slasher films turned women into heroines. In many pre-Halloween horror films, women are depicted as helpless victims and are not safe until they are rescued by a strong masculine hero. Despite the fact that Loomis saves Strode, Clover asserts that Halloween initiates the role of the " final girl " who ultimately triumphs in the end.
Strode herself fought back against Myers and severely wounds him. Had Myers been a normal man, Strode's attacks would have killed him; even Loomis, the male hero of the story, who shoots Michael repeatedly at near point blank range with a large caliber handgun, cannot kill him.
Briefel further argues that these moments are masochistic in nature and give pleasure to men because they are willingly submitting themselves to the women of the film; they submit themselves temporarily because it will make their return to authority even more powerful.
She remarks that parental figures are almost entirely absent throughout the film, noting that when Laurie is attacked by Michael while babysitting, "No parents, either of the teenagers or of the children left in their charge, call to check on their children or arrive to keen over them.
Clover believes that killers in slasher films are fueled by a "psychosexual fury"  and that all the killings are sexual in nature. She reinforces this idea by saying that "guns have no place in slasher films" and when examining the film I Spit on Your Grave she notes that "a hands-on killing answers a hands-on rape in a way that a shooting, even a shooting preceded by a humiliation, does not. Teens, Slasher Films, and the Family".
She remarks that Laurie's friends "think of their babysitting jobs as opportunities to share drinks and beds with their boyfriends.