I cannot imagine Halloween without, uh, Halloween. Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho may be the mother of all slasher films, but John Carpenter's Halloween is the one that reinvented the genre and wrote the playbook for many inferior slasher films that would follow.
Jamie Lee Curtis is perfection as the virginal Laurie Strode who gives us one of the iconic performances of the horror genre. You find yourself rooting for her character every step of the way, wincing every time she stumbles and screaming "run" every time her nemesis Michel Meyers appears lurking in the background of the scene. I also love Donald Pleasence's portrayal of Dr. Loomis who has some ridiculous lines to deliver, but he does them with such sincerity and conviction that I find myself buying into it hook, line and sinker.
The soundtrack is one of the finest that is found in horror. It's right up there with Psycho in my book with an instantly recognizable theme and moody synths that help maintain the sense of dread throughout the film. Carpenter's direction is also a joy to watch. Michael Meyers may not utter a single word throughout the film, but Carpenter somehow manages to make him a commanding present in every scene. Nicely done!
Without the success of Halloween there may have never been a Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street or the Scream series. Halloween got the ball rolling and it keeps on rolling to this very day with the likes of Jeepers Creepers, The Ring and [unfortunately] Saw.
My favorite print of Halloween is the 25th Anniversary edition by Anchor Bay. This Divimax big resolution transfer bests every other one I’ve seen that’s out there. The images are crystal clear and the colors look natural. I found it for $3.00 at my local Book/CD/DVD store and there are reasonable used copies available online.
There are many excellent commentaries out there that extol the virtues of this film. My absolute favorite is Halloween: The Inside Story (2010) that can be found on YouTube. There is not a more exhaustive commentary to be found on this iconic horror film.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.