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The History of Horror Movies: 15 Films that Defined the Horror Genre

Halloween (1978)

This is the point in which horror started to really settle into its own figurative skin. Deep down, the boogeyman scares us all, at least a little bit, and filmmakers are now leaning on that aspect of terror. Thus, we’ve see an unending string of slasher films touch down, each different director hoping to create his own unique version of the boogeyman. The interesting thing is, this tactic has only paid off for a very few select filmmakers. John Carpenter just so happens to be the granddaddy of them all, and Halloween just so happens to be the perfect example of a seamless slasher film and a terrific example of a bone chilling boogeyman.

Carpenter’s idea for Halloween was directly influenced by Bob Clark’s seasonal tale that you just finished reading about two pages ago, Black Christmas. There are obvious differences between both productions, but when you strip the skin away from both movies, what you’ve got is a story about the boogeyman and the complete destruction of the façade of safety that was once associated with suburban neighborhoods. In Clark’s Black Christmas a mad man in the attic turns a sorority house into a hell house, turning a quaint little community into something paralyzing; in John Carpenter’s Halloween Michael Myers picks a suburban American town up and dumps it on its head by ensuring that, even though you’ve got yourself a cozy crib in a beautiful part of town, the bad guy is still perfectly capable of acting out the unthinkable.

Halloween may have produced more legendary fictional characters than any other horror film out there. We all adore Laurie Strode, the queen of all scream queens, and we’ve all allowed doctor Sam Loomis into our hearts, where he’ll remain until these hearts cease to beat. Supporting characters Annie Brackett and Lynda van der Klok are both radically different individuals who each nestle into our thoughts, and even Annie’s father, sheriff Brackett is a likable father figure with a couple of absolutely stellar scenes. And finally, it should go without saying, that Michael Myers himself, despite his lack of dialogue and absence of a face, is a character that’s already joined the ranks of great screen villains like Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and The Wolf Man.

The story, the characters, Carpenter’s cinematic flare, a creepy synth score and a flawless pace ensured John Carpenter’s flick was able to shine like few before, or after it have.

Continue the countdown of the 15 films that defined the horror genre on the next page!

About The Overseer (2283 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

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