This week I set out to study the cult classic horror slasher film by John Carpenter called Halloween. It is great timing since Halloween is in season. I have seen this movie pretty much every year my entire life (since I first saw it in 1978) in anticipation of the Halloween holiday.
This low-budget cult classic set a new standard for horror films. The film was made for $325,000 which set a new standard for creating low-budget horror. This ushered in a new trend in the ’80s of low-budget horror films. Anyone with a video camera and fake blood took to the backyard to create the next blockbuster.
Another thing that John Carpenter’s Halloween did for the horror movie industry was set a new standard as an example of launching an ongoing series of sequels to create a horror franchise. After that, almost every horror film that was released had a sequel or even a series.
The concept of a slasher going after a group of young teenagers and killing them off one at a time has become an overused theme that is cliché by modern standards. It makes the plot more predictable. But these movies continue to be made and released because although they are so cliché, they are fun and entertaining.
Halloween created another new trend or at least perpetuated the trend of horror slasher films having a final girl standing at the end. As the characters fall victim to the slasher throughout the movie, there is one girl that survives at the end. There are even movies that make fun of this concept like Scream or Cabin in the Woods.
One element of this movie that I had never considered before this year was the use of the setting to weave a story. Halloween does a brilliant job of allowing the setting to almost become a character in the story creating tension and suspense. Right from the beginning, the setting starts setting the stage for what is to come as we see the kids preparing for trick or treating.
One last interesting fact that I am embarrassed to admit I did not know. The mask worn by Michael Myers was a William Shatner mask. I literally just found this out this week as I was researching the Halloween movie facts. Wow, I know what you are saying, “How did you not know that?” Yup, now I know!