Making lists is fun and arguing about them even more so, but on this let’s agree: “Halloween” is one of the three greatest horror films ever made, and one of the best films, period.

(The other two are “The Shining” and “The Exorcist,” by the way.)

John Carpenter’s 1978 classic is hugely influential. It helped popularize the notion of the Final Girl and the slasher film. It also paved the way for an endless stream of inferior sequels.

Two out of three ain’t bad.

The movie’s beauty is in its simplicity. As a child Michael Myers (he didn’t have a name in the first film) kills his sister with a butcher knife on Halloween. Years later he escapes the psychiatric hospital where he’s been under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, and begins slaughtering teenagers. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) fights him off and survives.





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