In 1978, John Carpenter made a low-budget horror movie that unexpectedly birthed an entire franchise. Unnervingly simplistic in premise, yet hugely stylish, Halloween followed a creepy white-faced lunatic as he stalked, then slashed a group of wholesome babysitters including Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode (the film's original title was The Babysitter Murders).
Since then, Halloween has become synonymous with slasher flicks. Eight sequels followed (the last, 2002's Halloween: Resurrection , is easily the worst, which is no mean feat givenHalloween 5 has Tina), plus Rob Zombie's muscular reboot and its sequel. And with October 31 just around the corner, we decided to take a look at some of the franchise's most skin-crawling moments...
1. Killer Opening – Halloween (1978)
How could this NOT be number one? John Carpenter's sparse slasher flick borrows the POV technique from Bob Clark's Black Christmas and delivers one of the most memorable openings of a film ever shot as we watch an unknown figure enter a house, put on a mask and stab a topless teen to death.
That the POV approach only breaks to reveal that the attacker is actually a kid in a clown costume only ups the chill factor. This is one heck of a way to open a horror film, and it only gets better from there on in...
2. Wakey Wakey – Halloween (1978)
Poor Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has just survived a Michael attack at the Doyle's house, which included her hiding in the closet, being dramatically discovered and then using a coat hanger as a weapon. After a fight, she seems to have incapacitated her attacker, which means she can have a little sit down by the door to recover.
But then unbeknownst to Laurie, Michael sits up in the background. Cue screams, wails and full-body heebie-jeebies.
3. Grave – Halloween (1978)
If you're a horror movie heroine, the last thing you should be doing is checking up on anybody. Your friends? Yeah, honey, they're pretty much dead. And you've just put yourself in life-threatening danger.
That's what happens when Laurie heads over to the Wallace's house to make sure her buddies Annie (Nancy Kyes) and Lynda (PJ Soles) are alright. Instead, she discovers everybody's dead. Oh, and Annie's been laid out on a bed that now bears the gravestone of Judith Myers. Creeeeepy.
4. Jamie – Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988)
It's not often that a stalk-n-slash flick attempts to examine the psychological repercussions of being repeatedly stalked by a creepy guy in a white mask, but Halloween 4 isn't just any stalk-n-slash flick.
At least, it's not in its final moments, when the POV-killer gambit is given another airing as somebody grabs a clown mask and stabs young Jamie's (Danielle Harris) mother to death. The big reveal: it's Jamie herself, pulling a Michael in a clown costume and breathing heavily over the credits. Shudder.
5. Door Drama – Halloween (1978)
The ultimate slasher suspense scene unfolds as Laurie, fresh from discovering all her friends dead at the hands, phone-cord and butcher's knife of Mr Myers, attempts to get back into the Doyle's house. With Michael in hot pursuit (well, creepily strolling at least), she makes it to the front door – except it's locked.
As Michael approaches, Laurie screams at the kids to let her in, and only just makes it in time.
It's been 20 years since Michael attempted to kill little sister Laurie for no apparent reason, and this franchise-wiping sequel is here to show that once Michael sets his mind to something, he ain't going to stop until he gets the job done.
Laurie's now going by the name Keri Tate and working as the headmistress of an elite school, which is the perfect place for Michael to kick off another game of cat-and-mouse. And – finally – the two come face-to-face through a door window in a scene that can't help but induce full-body chills.