Thirty years ago was the night HE came home!

posted by efriedmann on October 28, 2008 at 10:00 am

Thirty years ago, on October 25, 1978, horror films changed forever. A very young John Carpenter, whose previous films were “Dark Star” and “Assault on Precinct 13”, made a low budget, independent film which many critics credit as the film which inspired many years of slasher films to come. Although it can be argued that “Halloween” is originally inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”. It launched the career of Jamie Lee Curtis (a.k.a. “Scream Queen” during her early horror film days).

Because I was only eleven years-old when the film came out and was not permitted by my parents to see horror movies, I would not discover “Halloween” until 1980 when I was able to catch bits and pieces of its edited version on NBC-TV. In fact, it was not until college that I would finally see the entire uncut and unedited version on VHS. To this day, I have (sadly) never seen “Halloween” on screen.

Here are some “Halloween” movie facts that may interest you:

  • The original draft of the screenplay was titled “The Babysitter Murders”.
  • It was produced on a budget of $325,000 and grossed $47 million at the box office in the United States.
  • Although the film takes place in Illinois, it was filmed in South Pasadena, California.
  • Twelve minute of extra filmed footage were added to the film’s 1980 NBC television premiere to help fit it into the designated two hour time slot.
  • John Carpenter pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock with two character names: Tommy Doyle is named after detective Thomas Doyle in “Rear Window” and Dr. Loomis is named after Sam Loomis in “Psycho”.
  • The character of Michael Myers (played by Nick Castle) was billed in the end credits as “The Shape”.
  • As well as director, John Carpenter also scored the film’s soundtrack.
  • Carpenter includes scenes from RKO’s “The Thing” in his film, which he would later remake in 1982 with Kurt Russell.
  • Although the film performed well with little advertising, the first real positive review came from film critic Tom Allen of the Village Voice. Following his review, other critics took positive notice.
  • The film spawned (too) many sequels and a Rob Zombie remake in 2007. Only “Halloween II” (1981) was written by Carpenter.

And so, with all of this said, I can only say to you now…happy HALLOWEEN!

Comments (8)

CinemarkFan on October 28, 2008 at 12:21 pm

I first saw this movie (at the age of seven) about 11 years ago on USA network’s “up all night” lineup. Great movie. I hope there will be another movie of it’s type for this generation.

Being from Chicago, I will have a list of the Chicago-area bookings soon.

efriedmann on October 28, 2008 at 12:42 pm

I wish there had been a major 30th anniversary theatrical re-release of this movie. I’ve never seen it on screen.

CTCrouch on October 28, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Heavily influenced by Bob Clark’s “Black Christmas” (74'); an equally well crafted horror film that hasn’t recieved the wide-spread recognition it deserves (as with “Halloween”, “Black Christmas” was butchered in a semi recent reworking/remake).

moviebuff82 on October 28, 2008 at 3:07 pm

I first saw this movie when I rented it from a local Blockbuster store back when I was in my junior year of high school, compared with the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street films, this one was less scary and sexy and more suspense. I have since owned the movie when it came out on a 20th anniversary 2-tape set complete with a doc on the making of the film (the widescreen version) and once in awhile Monsters HD shows it uncut!!! I didn’t get to see the remake until I borrowed it from a friend of mine and it’s about equal to the original, although more modern and scarier. I hope the new Friday the 13th stays true to its roots as well.

KingBiscuits on October 28, 2008 at 11:46 pm

I first saw this on FX (edited, of course) when I was thirteen. Shortly after, I saw all of the sequels on DVD (best sequel: Halloween II, worst sequel: Halloween: Resurrection). I saw the remake in theatres the day it opened at the Springfield 8 in Springfield, Missouri. The first half (which focused on the origin and Michael developing into The Shape) was very good but the second half failed to live to the first half.

And here’s another little-known fact about Halloween:

According to “A Cut Above The Rest” from the 20th Anniversary DVD, the film premiered in Kansas City, Missouri. Not a big premiere or anything but it was first released regionally in the Midwest and Kansas City was the first city to get the film. It ended up playing for more than six months in Kansas City theatres. Nowadays, horror films are lucky to get one month in first run.

Marcel on October 30, 2008 at 8:52 pm

They really should have re-released it. I was born in ‘72 so I first saw it in '80. I did enjoy seeing the final minutes of the film on the big screen in the beginning of “Halloween 2.”

WayBackWhen2008 on December 15, 2008 at 12:49 am

Glad to see you back on the website LMHG. I truly enjoy your postings. Had not seen any commentaries from you for awhile. Can you start a piece on Christmas Story? Bob Clark is the Director. He was referenced on this posting (Black Christmas). Christmas Story is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this years. I saw a house this week that had the famous “major award” lamp. Just found out about the house that it was filmed in is now a tourist attraction in Ohio!

carolgrau on February 5, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I ran Halloween in the Colonial Theatre in Harrisburg,Pa. The booth was painted black and the only light was a 15 wattt bulb in the middle of the ceiling.. I remember being so scared I actually chewed a hole in my shirtsleeve.. Funny now , but was'nt then.. Plus I lived near the Harrisburg State Hospital…Every little sound made me jump…

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