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Halloween (movie)

From Academic Kids

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Halloween2.jpg
Michael Myers, unstoppable psycho-killer

The Halloween films are a series of horror movies, of which the first film is considered one of the most important and influential of the genre.

Contents

The original blockbuster

The first film, Halloween, (originally titled The Babysitter Murders), was released in 1978. It was written by Debra Hill and John Carpenter, who also directed, and was executive produced by Moustapha Akkad. It starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence. Shot on a budget of $300,000, it became the highest grossing independent film ever, and held that title until Dirty Dancing was released in 1987. It is still the most profitable horror movie title to date.

Telling the story of an unstoppable psycho-killer wearing a William Shatner mask, Halloween is generally considered the first of a long line of modern-day "slasher" movies (although there are several potential predecessors, including Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960)). The movie originated a great many of the clichés seen in countless low-budget slashers of the 1980s and 1990s (although first-time viewers of Halloween may be surprised by the fact that compared to its many imitators and competitors, the original film actually has very few explicitly violent scenes).

Deeper meaning has been read into this movie by some film critics, including the idea that everyone who dies in the film is sexually promiscuous, while the "innocent" (chaste) heroine survives. Carpenter has been quoted as saying that inclusion of this sort of morality into the story was entirely unintentional, and he did not mean for the movie to be seen as a form of "punishment" for those who indulge in sex and drug use. Nevertheless the parallel between a character's moral strengths and their likelihood of not getting killed has become a standard slasher movie trope.

Plot

Six-year-old Michael Myers brutally kills his older sister on Halloween night, 1963, and is locked in a mental institution. Fifteen years later, he escapes and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois (trivia: named after co-writer & producer Debra Hill's hometown of Haddonfield, New Jersey) to repeat his rampage. Pursued by his psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Pleasance), Myers sets his murderous intentions on babysitter Laurie Strode (Curtis) (after already killing two of her friends). Eventually, Loomis catches up with Myers in the upstairs room of a house, and shoots the murderer six times. Myers falls through a window and Loomis rescues Laurie. But looking out of the upstairs window, Loomis discovers that Myers is gone... Myers has "come home" (as the tagline on the movie poster mentions).

Sequels

Halloween II

Main article: Halloween II

Halloween's success led inevitably to a sequel. In 1981, Akkad sold the film rights to maverick producer Dino DeLaurentis (though Akkad was still actively involved in production of any films that used those rights). Later that year, DeLaurentis (in partnership with Universal Pictures) released Halloween II, also written by Carpenter, but this time directed by Rick Rosenthal. It was designed to pick up precisely where the 1978 original left off, in fact taking place on the same night the original movie ended. At the time, this sequel was intended to be the final chapter of the series.

Critics generally agreed it was not the calibre of its predecessor. Carpenter himself was extremely displeased with the end result, describing it as "about as scary as an episode of Quincy" and, reportedly, reshooting many scenes himself. Retrospectively, it is now generally considered by far the best of the sequels. Many of the original films' fans are disenchanted by the seemingly endless spate of further sequels featuring Michael Myers, which are perceived as cynically-motivated moneymakers, rather than quality horror films made by dedicated filmmakers with a love for the originals and a genuine artistic vision.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Main article: Halloween III: Season of the Witch

A third film in the series, Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released in 1982, also by Universal Pictures. It was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, with John Carpenter only acting as producer. Whereas the first sequel was a direct continuation of the original story, Halloween III was an entirely unrelated film. Many were disappointed that Michael Myers did not return in this entry, although it was Carpenter himself who felt that the Myers storyline could not be extended any further.

Post-Carpenter sequels

Main articles: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

John Carpenter was to play no further part in the series, other than supplying the original Halloween theme music. In 1988 (the tenth anniversary of the release of the original movie), Moustapha Akaad bought back the rights to the series from Dino DeLaurentis, and produced Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.

The film (which was released independently) brought both murderer Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis back from their graves (in Hollywood scriptwriting tradition). The success of this sequel inspired yet another the following year, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, also released independently.

Dimension Films sequels

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Halloween Resurrection poster art

Main articles: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Halloween: Resurrection

In 1995, the sequel rights were sold again, this time to Miramax Films (via its Dimension Films division). Miramax/Dimension then released Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, which partially told the story of Michael Myers' origins. Joe Chappelle directed, but studio interference caused re-editing of the film and the re-shooting of certain scenes, leaving the door open for another sequel.

Donald Pleasance, who had appeared in every entry of the series to date, died before Halloween H20: 20 Years Later could begin production in 1998 (the 20th anniversary of the first film). Halloween H20 marked the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode (since her character had died sometime before the events of the fourth film, the continuity of the previous three films in the series are ignored and this film is treated as a direct follow-up to Halloween II).

Both Halloween H20 and its follow-up, Halloween: Resurrection (2002), were produced in the same style as Dimension's previous 1990s horror films (such as Scream (1996)).

The film rights

  • Halloween
  • Halloween II
    • Main rights: Universal Pictures
    • Home video rights: Universal Pictures
    • Television rights: Universal Pictures
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch
    • Main rights: Universal Pictures
    • Home video rights: Universal Pictures
    • Television rights: Universal Pictures
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
    • Main rights: Trancas International Films
    • Home video rights: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    • Television rights: Anchor Bay Entertainment
  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
    • Main rights: Trancas International Films
    • Home video rights: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    • Television rights: Anchor Bay Entertainment
  • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
    • Main rights: Miramax/Dimension
    • Home video rights: Miramax/Dimension
    • Television rights: Miramax/Dimension
  • Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
    • Main rights: Miramax/Dimension
    • Home video rights: Miramax/Dimension
    • Television rights: Miramax/Dimension
  • Halloween: Resurrection
    • Main rights: Miramax/Dimension
    • Home video rights: Miramax/Dimension
    • Television rights: Miramax/Dimension

Dimension Films also currently own rights to any further sequels in the Halloween series.

See also

Halloween, the holiday the movie is named after, and around which the events of the films take place.

External links


Template:Halloweenfilmsde:Halloween (Film) fr:Halloween, la nuit des masques sv:Alla helgons blodiga natt

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