Long live the queen of slasher flick: the 25th anniversary of John Carpenter’s 'Halloween'

The film introduced the world to a 20-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis, who made her big-screen debut as protagonist Laurie Strode

RPD9T0 JAMIE LEE CURTIS, HALLOWEEN, 1978. Alamy

Even though John Carpenter's 1978 horror flick Halloween was shot in only 20 days with a budget of about $300,000 (Dh1.1 million), its success has endured for decades. Yet, when it was released on October 25 that year, critics were quick to dismiss it as a "well-made but empty morbid thriller" (that burn appeared in the Los Angeles Times). Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker that "maybe when a horror film is stripped of everything but dumb scariness … it satisfies part of the audience in a more basic, childish way than sophisticated horror pictures do". 

Even so, the Halloween franchise became a firm favourite among gore-loving film fans. It popularised the slasher flick, spawning seven sequels and also introducing the world to a 20-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis, who made her big-screen debut as protagonist Laurie Strode.

Before then, the Californian actress, daughter of actors Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, had only dabbled in TV roles, having starred in episodes of series such as Columbo, Operation Petticoat and Charlie's Angels.

After that first Hollywood appearance, Curtis went back to the small screen for a couple of years before her cinematic career truly took off. In 1980, she starred in three movies, all horror flicks (The Fog, Prom Night and Terror Train), then in 1981 she was cast in five. 

While she later spread her wings beyond horrors – she's now well-known for her roles in True Lies, My Girl and Freaky FridayCurtis returned to the silver screen as Strode in the Halloween reboot, which was released in the UAE on October 25 last year. On opening weekend, it brought in more than Dh1.5 million at the box office across the country.

It's not over either, as there are two more films in the franchise, both starring Curtis, yet to come. Halloween Kills is set for an October release next year, with Halloween Ends to come one year later.