Halloween—25th Anniversary Edition

John Carpenter was 24 when he shot one of the most influential films in movie history in just 20 days, on a budget of just over $300,000, for the apparently meagre salary of $10,000, a cut of the profits and his name above the title. Looking back, a quarter of a century on, it was probably the best deal he ever made. After a faltering opening run, Halloween quickly became a critically acclaimed box-office smash that went on to gross over $50 million and spawned a raft of sequels and an entire industry of mostly inferior slasher movies.

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John Carpenter was 24 when he shot one of the most influential films in movie history in just 20 days, on a budget of just over $300,000, for the apparently meagre salary of $10,000, a cut of the profits and his name above the title. Looking back, a quarter of a century on, it was probably the best deal he ever made. After a faltering opening run, Halloween quickly became a critically acclaimed box-office smash that went on to gross over $50 million and spawned a raft of sequels and an entire industry of mostly inferior slasher movies. It also made Carpenter the hottest young director in Hollywood, although the relationship quickly soured after a series of costly flops. Halloween, of course, is a masterpiece of sustained tension and looming terror, notable for its pioneering use of Steadicam, brilliant simplicity?baby-sitters in peril!!?and the sheer audacity of the direction. There’s plenty of violent incident, but no lashings of pointless gore or dripping guts. What Carpenter at his best did better than anyone was create atmospheres of dread in which lurked suggestions of even worse things to come. He kept you in a state of permanent fright, in other words. Genius.

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