Three O’Clock High (1987)
DP: Barry Sonnenfeld
Director: Phil Joanou
Format: 35mm
Lenses: Spherical

In Three O’Clock High, a notorious new transfer student (played by Richard Tyson) challenges a meek reporter from the school paper to an after school showdown. Tyson’s legendary delinquent Buddy Revell gets not one, but two memorable introductions. In the first (pictured below) the camera pulls back from the giant clock outside the school and then follows various students as they detail Revell’s rumored exploits – with each new group of students picking up the gossip where the last group left off. The long tracking shot ends inside the school as the camera pushes in to the school store where Casey Siemaszko’s character works.

Now that Revell has been introduced verbally as a mythic figure, the next scene physically reveals him to the audience. Below is a shot-by-shot breakdown of that intro.


Halloween (1978)
Cinematographer: Dean Cundey
Director: John Carpenter
Camera: Panavision Panaflex
Lenses: Panavision C-Series anamorphic
Format: 35mm

One of the genre’s most famed opening sequences – a four-minute point-of-view tracking shot done with a Panaglide that follows a young Michael Myers as he murders his sister. The shot – operated by Ray Stella – was done on the last day of principal photography.

“The way (the Myers) house really looked in real life was the way that the house looks for the rest of the movie – all decrepit and broken. This was the last shot of the movie and the entire crew and cast spent the day at this house white-washing it, furnishing it, carpeting it, wallpapering it, and making it look like (it does in this prologue). (During the shot) there were grips hiding in every corner of (the rooms) with lights because the minute that the camera passed they were moving the lights out of the room to put them in another place because we didn’t have enough lights.” – Halloween star Jaime Lee Curtis


The Faculty (1998)
DP: Enrique Chediak
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Format: 35mm with spherical lenses

This Invasion of the Body Snatches meets The Breakfast Club bit of post-Scream teen horror opens by introducing each of its six high school protagonists with a freeze frame.

Zeke (played by Josh Hartnett) also gets his own intro as he careens into the school’s parking lot.


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