YMMV / Halloween (1978)

  • Awesome Music:
    • The main theme is considered one of the most bone-chilling pieces ever put on screen. What makes it all the more awesome is that John Carpenter, who did the music for the film, has stated that he cannot read or write sheet music, and plays entirely by ear. "Fortunately, I've got a pretty good ear."
    • The intense and equally creepy The Shape Stalks, which plays during the climax, has also become iconic to the series to the point it is Michael's unofficial theme within the films.
  • Complete Monster: Michael Myers, a cold-blooded Serial Killer with a hatred of teenage sexuality and a fondness for carving knives. After killing his sister at the age of six, Michael breaks out of prison as an adult and goes on a killing spree through his hometown of Haddonfield, on his way to kill his surviving sister, murdering three of her friends before targeting her. He's stopped, but the horror doesn't end there. Michael returns repeatedly, making numerous attempts on Laurie, her daughter Jamie, and anybody else who gets in his way. Incapable of feeling empathy, and driven by a loathing of seemingly everybody he encounters, the unstoppable and perpetually silent Michael helped to define the Slasher Movie as we know it, and remains one of the most bone-chillingly evil.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Bob has this joke when he and Lynda are about to go into the Wallace house.
    "First I rip your clothes off, then you rip my clothes off. And then we'll rip Lindsey's clothes off."
    • FYI, Lindsey is the little, 6-10 year old girl Annie was babysitting. To be fair, Bob was half-drunk.
  • Ear Worm: That theme...
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Lynda gets the least screen time out of the three girls (disappearing for the second act) but is easily the most remembered - for her Catch-Phrase "totally" and her Adorkable giggling.
  • Evil Is Sexy: When he's unmasked, Michael is surprisingly attractive. Naturally, after the events of the sequel, his face is never clearly seen again.
  • Fair for Its Day: Although the Death by Sex trope was codified here and slasher films became associated with only virginal girls surviving, Laurie is quite feminist. Notably despite being terrorized by seeing her friends' dead bodies, she's able to fight off Michael three times. Although she's clearly scared, she doesn't fall apart and prepares to defend herself. She demonstrates that she'll do whatever she can to keep Tommy and Lindsey safe. Even if Loomis saves her from Michael the last time, he doesn't stop Michael either.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In one scene, Laurie and the boy she's babysitting are seen watching The Thing from Another World, four years later, John Carpenter would direct its pseudo-remake.
  • Memetic Badass: Jamie Lee Curtis, thanks to playing the archetypal Final Girl - and Scream (1996) naming her the "scream queen".
  • Memetic Mutation: Debra Hill talks about sitting in a theatre while the film was showing, and loads of people saying "totally" whenever Lynda did.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Myers killing his sister at the age of six.
  • Narm:
    • Laurie runs across the street with Michael stalking her. She runs up to the door of the house and reaches into her pocket to find the keys. Her line?
    Laurie: My keys? OH MY KEEEEYS?!
    • The theme is a bit overplayed in the beginning of the movie as well.
    • There's also the scene of the kids bullying Tommy. Somehow a bunch of kids who can't be younger than ten going on about "the boogeyman" fails to be anything but hilarious.
    • The...odd way Dr Loomis turns around to check on Marion Chambers after she gets out of the car.
  • Narm Charm: The film has equal measures of Idiot Plot and Purple Prose, but Mundane Made Awesome Rule of Scary overshadows them so much that they're all excused.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Bob is off screen for most of the film, only appearing for around ten minutes. But he's still memorable for a couple of good lines, and those funky glasses (which his actor still has to this day).
  • Retroactive Recognition: Michael Myers' actor, Nick Castle, would become a director and made films such as The Last Starfighter, Dennis the Menace, and The Boy Who Could Fly.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Even though Michael Myers came first, in the later sequels, he ends up seeming like a rip-off of Jason Voorhees. Also since all the cliches Halloween created (or in some cases popularized) have now become cliches they are no longer frightening or even brilliant to younger viewers.
  • Special Effect Failure: When Michael smashes one of Marion's car windows, he obviously has a wrench taped to his hand.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Black Christmas (1974), to the point where Halloween was intended to be a sequel to the former.
  • Tear Jerker: Always in small doses, but there are two obvious moments:
    • When the bullies push Tommy, making him smash his pumpkin.
    • Laurie has finally killed Micheal (as far as she knows). She doesn't run or keeping stabbing, she just sits against the doorframe and silently cries, wiping tears with a finger.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Subverted with John Carpenter. Most of his films released afterward (The Thing (1982), Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China among them) were not critical or commercial successes but have had second life on home video and cable going on to become classics and Vindicated by History. The Thing (1982) in particular is now considered a heavy contender for his best film alongside Halloween.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Laurie of course. She's the rule abiding good girl who prefers babysitting to parties, in contrast to her wilder friends. PJ Soles joked that Jamie Lee Curtis told her she was lucky she wasn't playing "the boring one". Still, Curtis uses her acting to make Laurie likable and she does still go Mama Bear on Michael when he threatens the children.