Halloween (also known as John Carpenter's Halloween) is a 1978 American independent horror film set in the fictional Midwest town of Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween. The original draft of the screenplay was titled The Babysitter Murders. John Carpenter directed the film, which stars Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, and Nick Castle as Michael Myers (listed in the credits as "The Shape"). The film centers on Michael Myers' escape from a psychiatric hospital, his murdering of teenagers, and Dr. Loomis's attempts to track and stop him.
Halloween was produced on a budget of only $325,000 and grossed $47 million at the box office in the United States, becoming one of the most profitable independent films ever made. Many critics credit this film as the first in a long line of slasher films inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). The movie originated many of the clichés seen in low-budget horror films of the 1980s and 1990s, although first-time viewers of Halloween may be surprised by the fact that the film contains little actual graphic violence or gore.
Critics have suggested that Halloween and its slasher film successors may encourage sadism and misogyny. Others have suggested the film is a social critique of the immorality of young people in 1970s America, pointing out that many of Myers' victims are sexually promiscuous and substance abusers, while the lone heroine is depicted as chaste and innocent. While Carpenter dismisses these analyses, the perceived parallel between the characters' moral strengths and their likelihood of surviving to the film's conclusion has nevertheless become a standard slasher movie trope.