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Halloween Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    From a shock-and-suspense point-of-view, Halloween is the rival of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." With only a few arguable exceptions (such as "The Exorcist"), there isn't another post-1970 release that comes close to it in terms of scaring the living hell out of a viewer... A modern classic of the most horrific kind.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Halloween is an absolutely merciless thriller...I would compare it to "Psycho."

  • 50

    out of 100


    After a promising opening, Halloween becomes just another maniac-on-the-loose suspenser. However, despite the prosaic plot, director John Carpenter has timed the film's gore so that the 93-minute item is packed with enough thrills.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Bruce Fretts

    Carpenter's brutally efficient exercise in tension and release.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    Don't see "Halloween" in an empty theater on a weekday afternoon. See it on a weekend night in a packed house. "Halloween" is a film to be enjoyed with a boisterous crowd; it's an "audience picture," a film designed to get specific reactions from an audience at specific moments. With "Halloween," the most often desired reaction is screaming. It's a beautifully made thriller -- more shocking than bloody -- that will have you screaming with regularity. "Halloween" was directed by John Carpenter, 30, a natural filmmaker and a name worth remembering. [22 Nov 1978]

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Not for kids 16 and under

First Michael Myers slasher fest isn't for kids.

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.

  • 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).

The good stuff
  • message true0

    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.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    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 false5

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

  • language false3

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

  • consumerism false3

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

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: High schoolers smoke and drink beer.