Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Nominee #10 - Halloween (1978)
When Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital fifteen years after he killed his sister on Halloween night 1963, he returns once more the town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.
Director: John Carpenter
Writers: John Carpenter (screenplay), Debra Hill (screenplay)
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran
So this film was chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Well, you can imagine how a film that’s considered horror genre, brutal, slasher-type drama makes such an impact on audiences across the world and is deemed culturally significant…it must be really one heck of a movie.
Shot with a budget of $300,000, the movie raked in over $70 million, making it one of the most profitable films of all time.
The film centers around a deranged child; a six-year old boy Michael Myers, who kills his teenage sister on Halloween night. After years in a mental care home, he escapes when being escorted for a hearing and as Psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis played by legendary actor Donald Pleasence pursues him, he goes stalks and kills teenagers (apparently sexually free-thinking ones) for no stated reason. Jamie Lee Curtis made her debut in this film as Laurie Strode, who survives this brutal murderer.
A lot of thought goes into the seemingly senseless acts of murder because he takes care to kill a car mechanic and steal his clothes, put on a white mask and steal knives from a store, and then stalk his victims with cunning and caution.
In the climax, after a series of attacks and murders when he goes after Laurie, she manages to fend him off, help arrives, and Dr. Loomis shoots him…six times, he falls off the balcony and then there is no trace of him. The movie leaves the end open ended in many ways…we’ve left wondering not just what happened to him, but even more fundamentally who Myers was, what made him do what he did, and what would come next.
Evil that has no rhyme or reason, and perhaps simply enjoys being evil.
Of course, the movie was followed by several in a series, including a remake and a sequel to the remake. What made it unique was its lack of back story. The movie doesn’t tell us the what or the why; it just leaves us to accept the fact that evil exists and such evil as can barely be comprehended. Evil that has no rhyme or reason, and perhaps simply enjoys being evil.
Director John Carpenter was said to have had a real experience with a disturbed patient which inspired the chilling lines of Dr. Loomis, “I met this six-year -old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes; the devil's eyes ... I realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply ... evil.”