Halloween

  • Review Date: September 21, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1978
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Common Sense Media says

First Michael Myers slasher fest isn't for kids.
  • Review Date: September 21, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1978
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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).

Halloween may be saddled with some unnecessary R-rated elements, but it 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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:October 25, 1978
DVD release date:September 28, 1999
Cast:Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Kyes
Director:John Carpenter
Studio:Anchor Bay Entertainment
Genre:Horror
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence, sex, profanity.

This review of Halloween was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byagneumeyer April 14, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

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 Extremely Creepy. It is amazing that this film can age so well, Michael is still scary, Laurie is still fearless, and everyone is still having fun (until they are impaled).
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byDr3w November 8, 2011
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

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." "'Halloween' is very frightening at times and it does contain SOME drug use and sexual content but nothing a mature seven-year old can't handle." "classic horror my first R rated horror movie saw it when i was 6. Ok for 2 and up." I would continue, but what's the point? Ok, so this is not The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Saw. Does that mean you want your young impressionable children being exposed to this? There are so many studies that show that violence in movies (particularly sadistic violence like the violence portrayed in horror films like this one) has an awful effect on young children. So, what if they can handle it? I could probably handle having my legs chopped off too, but does that mean I would go do it? And just because your kids have probably seen a woman's breasts before they turn ten (and I certainly hadn't seen many breasts when I was ten) doesn't mean that you should willingly expose them to more. I'll stop now before I get really upset. I guess I should have known when I was reading reviews by people who enjoy these kinds of movies that they would have different views about films. Just out of curiosity, how old do you think your kids should be before they see the Saw movies? Twelve?
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byHotaru Chan May 6, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

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 though; there is slight cursing and some female nudity (it's subtle though, not in your face). And being a slasher, there is violence. Although you never really see much, if any blood, so it should be fine for kids over 10, maybe younger if they're pretty mature. Laurie Strode is a good role model, going out of her way to protect the kids (although she does suffer from a few things characters in horror movies usually do, such as turning your back on the killer and not keeping the killer's weapon with you so he can't grab it again. But overall she's a fine role model). Halloween is possibly my favorite movie of all time, and will probably stay that way for a long time. Even if you're not crazy about horror movies, give Halloween a try. You may be surprised.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Great role models

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