Halloween (1978) is a genre essential, which is to say it’s not generally essential, i.e. a must-see for all who love movies, but if you’re into horror flicks or creepfests you really should get around to seeing it. Better genre essentials in the ring include Paranormal Activity, Saw, The Blair Witch Project, The Shining, and The Ring.
Not that Halloween is bad. The film features a terrific flow and a lush cinematic look, the earlier parts of the film rich in daylight sidewalk scenes — this is the part of the movie I loved. But the plot has too many holes and continuity problems, and by comparison to more recent horror films, the payoff disappoints. Sure people are being hacked and slashed frequently enough once the lights go down, but it’s just not that scary.
But it’s not boring In its own modest way, it is creepy, compelling and dramatic. But I wouldn’t classify it as a “Riveting Rental,” nor does it hit the fright factor like The Shining or The Ring — but then so few films do. Besides being a good movie, it stands as the influential leader of the slasher sub-genre, and a horror classic — good reasons to give it a go. Other items of note: the iconic soundtrack, and Jamie Lee Curtis’ first appearance in film. For more, look at the extensive Wikipedia entry. 6/10
Availability: iTunes / Apple TV rental.