100

Empire

Turn off the lights. Put on the widescreen version, showcasing Carpenter’s masterful framing and chill-inducing, Michael Myers-concealing use of shadows. Crank up the sound, and be scared witless by horror’s greatest director.
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100

ReelViews

By 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

Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
Halloween is an absolutely merciless thriller...I would compare it to "Psycho."
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90

Chicago Reader

By Dave Kehr
Carpenter displays an almost perfect understanding of the mechanics of classical suspense; his style draws equally (and intelligently) from both Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock.
Full Review
88

Chicago Tribune

By 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]
Full Review
80

TV Guide

There's nary a drop of blood on screen in this rollicking funhouse of a movie but there is enough sheer cinematic ingenuity on display to coax screams out of the most jaded gorehound.
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78

Austin Chronicle

Not entirely without some laughable or dated scenes, Halloween remains an original that continues to inspire a genre and probe middle America's fears about what's really lurking in the laundry room after midnight.
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75

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

By Jay Scott
This low-budget horror film, sophisticated far beyond its budget, is the work of John Carpenter, an authentic prodigy whose style recalls both Martin Scorsese and the Brian De Palma of "Carrie," but who has a metaphysical, sophomoric sense of humor both of those directors lack.
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75

Entertainment Weekly

By Bruce Fretts
Carpenter's brutally efficient exercise in tension and release.
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50

Variety

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.
Full Review
85 out of 100
Universal acclaim
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.