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Plot summary: A man disguised as William Shatner alarms neighborhood teens.
It is a mystery to me that John Carpenter's third movie, his most celebrated and most influential, the one movie that made him a director star, is also his most boring. It is slow, oh so very slow, slow even for Carpenter's trademark style of building atmosphere and tension. There is practically no gore or spectacle here, which means no appreciation for the special effects which normally are the bread and butter of the slasher genre, and that made Friday the 13th such a success two years later. There is also no comedy, nothing to amuse or distract. There are a lot of things this movie is not, which should not be held against it, of course, but we are only left with a blood-thirsty psychopath stalking teenagers - in slow motion - for 91 minutes. I was left deeply dissatisfied, even when I knew what to expect on the way in. I can appreciate the historical value of the movie in popularizing the slasher genre and introducing scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. I can also appreciate Donald Pleasence's outstanding monologues and John Carpenter's moody synth score, but the picture as a whole, apparantly scary in 1978, can't hold a candle to some of the slashers that followed in its footsteps. It is definitly not scary and certainly not entertaining. It has simply been reduced, over the years, to a historical artifact.
this movie made the slasher genre. psycho invented it, but halloween perfected it and brought it into the mainstream. horror movie trying to emulate halloweens style continued to get made through the 80s into the early 90s, and it had a huge impact on the horror genre in general. a great film and worthy of being higher on the list. above re-animator anyway.
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In 16 official lists
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This movie ranks #5 in TSZDT's The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films
This movie ranks #10 in Grindhouse Cinema Database's Top Grindhouse Classics
This movie ranks #31 in IMDb's Horror Top 50
This movie ranks #68 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills
This movie ranks #84 in MovieSense 101
This movie ranks #180 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #191 in Reddit Top 250
This movie ranks #358 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #385 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #409 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #416 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #461 in Empire's The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #465 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
This movie ranks #633 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #655 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Adjusted Box Office
This movie ranks #820 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?