John Carpenter's horror classic remains as sickeningly brutal today as ever and is considered quite rightly as a highly influential film by many. Halloween is paced almost sickeningly slowly, with the tension climbing to ghastly levels for over an hour before unleashing the ever mysterious but brilliantly realised Michael Myers.
Jamie Lee Curtis plays the terrified teen Laurie to perfection, depicting the perfect balance between sheer terror and bravery, but the real star is of course Myers who we ironically see very little of for most of the film. Foreboding shots of him from a distance combined with the subtly chilling soundtrack, composed by Carpenter himself, and Myers' heavy breathing are enough to haunt many a bold viewer.
Halloween succeeds largely through its subtle nature, with a simplistic plot and an unexplained killer creating more and more unease as Myers edges ever closer towards Laurie. As mentioned, the soundtrack plays a large part, and, as with the plot, is chillingly simplistic yet subtly different every time it reappears. There is also some impressive and excellently fitting use of first-person camerawork early on which quite literally puts the viewer in Myers' shoes.
The design of the killer is strikingly unique, with his bleach white mask and gaping, empty eyeholes striking terror every time he appears, even if it is only a fleeting glimpse. The sense that he is unstoppable adds to the menacing atmosphere and savage murders he commits
Halloween works as a viciously effective horror flick through the use of fear, which it inflicts upon the viewer impressively well. There is little blood or gore and Carpenter never relies on cheap scares, instead working to unrelentingly increase the atmosphere of complete hopelessness and total terror on both the characters and viewer.