John Carpenter’s much imitated Halloween defined the eighties stalk and slash genre, spawning inferior copies like the Friday the 13th series (including six sequels of it’s own) and for a time making star Jamie Lee Curtis into the premium ‘scream queen’. Later on the conventions of the genre were cleverly re-invented for a nineties audience by director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson in Scream, which pays direct homage to Halloween. John Carpenter opens his film with an unnerving point of view shot of the young psychotic Michael Myers brutally stabbing his teenage sister to death on Halloween night. Flash forward to Halloween 15 years later and Michael has escaped the mental institution he has been locked up in. Meanwhile shy, virginal teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her girlfriends are preparing for Halloween, unaware of the menace that lurks in their quiet suburban community. Carpenter makes great use of the sparse, atmospheric music score (which he also composed) and uses to maximum creepy effect the white mask Michael Myers wears throughout the film. The film also established the classic horror genre rule if your a sexually active teenager, you die! Also staring: Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Tony Moran.
Our collection comprises over 40,000 moving image works, acquired and catalogued between the 1940s and early 2000s. As a result, some items may reflect outdated, offensive and possibly harmful views and opinions. ACMI is working to identify and redress such usages.
How to watch
Stream, rent or buy via
In ACMI's collection
VHS; Access Print (Section 1)