DirkH’s review published on Letterboxd:
It is intriguing to think about why some films seem to imprint themselves on the collective psyche of genre lovers and others don't. In the case of Halloween it seems to have been a perfect blend of circumstance, creativity and novelty. These three elements combined seem to have provided a perfect breeding ground back in the day for one of the most iconic and influential horror films ever made.
Due to the extreme budget limitations, Carpenter couldn’t afford to use that many special effects. As a result the film often opts for the power of suggestion over actually showing things, thus relying on the audiences’ ability to fill in the gaps. Horror shown is almost never as powerful as horror imagined. This aspect is what makes this film so fantastic, it creates an oppressive atmosphere, making this film not something you watch but experience, not unlike a fierce rollercoaster ride you cannot get out of once you start.
No money also meant that Carpenter couldn’t hire a composer, leading him to compose his own music. That score perfectly mirrors the minimalistic approach to this film and its main theme has become an iconic piece. For me it holds the same quality something like the shrieking strings accompanying the shower scene in Psycho holds. When hearing it, it automatically conjures up images, taking me back to that film instantly.
It is practically common knowledge that Carpenter got his inspiration for the masked look of Michael Meyers from Belgian impressionist painter James Ensor ( Go here to see where the inspiration came from ) and I just love the fact that they took the cheapest mask they could find (a Captain Kirk mask), altered it a bit and in that way created yet another iconic aspect of this film. I cannot get over the fact how the coldness and death that seems to radiate from that mask unsettles me still. Simplicity combined with creative solutions sometimes achieve greatness it seems.
This film could not have existed without Carpenter. It is absolutely astounding how he has directed this film. From the legendary opening sequence to the nerve wrecking murders committed by Mr. Meyers, Carpenter singlehandedly turned over a new page in film history, giving shape to and setting the benchmark for an entire generation of filmmakers that followed him.