Halloween

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Halloween Movie Poster Image
First Michael Myers slasher fest isn't for kids.
  • R
  • 1978
  • 93 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 42 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 129 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Without Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie -- a realistically smart, brave teen who tries to protect the kids she babysits -- the film's cast would be a pretty unsympathetic bunch of shallow, hormonal teens (who disdain books and education) and nasty adults.

Violence

Though the blood flow is left to the viewer's imagination, there are stabbings and strangulation, including one victim left hanging on a door (pinned by the knife). Another character is stuck in the eye with a wire hanger, and another falls down the stairs. One shooting. One of Myers' victims is the family dog.

Sex

A teen girl is shown clad only in panties after sex. Another underage couple is shown in bed together.

Language

Some PG-13-level swear words -- surprisingly it's nothing serious.

Consumerism

Plugs for other movies admired by filmmaker John Carpenter, in clips from The Thing and Forbidden Planet.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

High schoolers smoke and drink beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, while the blood and gore are left to your imagination in this horror classic, there are numerous stabbings and slayings. And most (though not all) of the victims seem to be sexually active teenagers.

User Reviews

Adult Written byDr3w November 8, 2011

Seriously people?

I'm just going to quote a few of the other reviews first: "There is toplessness but nothing that a kid over the age of 10 hasn't seen."... Continue reading
Adult Written byOlderThanMyAge January 4, 2012

Good classic horror

"Halloween" is a (mostly) mindless slasher flick. Giving the main villain more depth than just a ruthless killer would have been nice, but hey, you ca... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byagneumeyer April 14, 2011

Watch Carefully.

In this film, there are scenes of violence, sex, and drinking that is not appropriate for younger viewers. As a film, it is Groundbreaking, Atmospheric, and Ext... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHotaru Chan May 6, 2011

Amazing movie, perfect for horror movie fans

Halloween is the mother of all slasher films. The suspence will keep you on your toes, and Michael Myers is scary as heck. Of course, it's not for everyone... Continue reading

What's the story?

On Halloween in 1963, Michael Myers stalks and kills his own sister after she has sex with her boyfriend. Some 15 years later, Michael escapes from an asylum on the anniversary of the murder. He soon becomes fixated on three high school girls who are looking forward to hot dates and a horror-movie marathon on trick-or-treat night -- all except for bookish Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), who has to babysit. While Michael's psychiatrist leads a skeptical sheriff around town in search of Michael, the killer gets to the schoolmates, one by one, until he's left with just Laurie, who's like Sigourney Weaver in Alien, terrified but resourceful enough to fight back. (Of course, she's not caught unawares in bed with a boyfriend, either.)

Is it any good?

Despite some unnecessary R-rated elements, Halloween still provides frightening moments with more taste and subtlety (you rarely ever see any blood -- you just think you do) than its imitators. Like Hitchcock, Carpenter has an innate sense of exactly where to put the camera, how to light a scene, and what to have going on in the frame to make you shudder and jump. His use of careful silences and the sudden bursts of his now-famous pulsating electronic musical score are especially unnerving and effective.

If critics could send a Terminator robot back in time to destroy a movie at the film-processing lab, all because of the countless trashy ripoffs and imitations it would inspire, HALLOWEEN would probably be the main target. But many critics hail the original Halloween as a masterpiece, and it earned then-largely unknown director John Carpenter a reputation as the new Alfred Hitchcock (maybe Orson Welles is more accurate, since Carpenter has never been quite able to make as big a hit again).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes the movie so scary, especially because it doesn't fall back on using gore-makeup effects or fancy, swooping digital camera angles. Parents might point out that director Carpenter pays tribute to the science-fiction classic The Thing (1951), which took a similar straightforward approach to a homicidal space monster (and somehow avoided sex-minded teenagers and curse words in the process).

Movie details

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