Year – 1978
Decade – 1970s
CinematographerDean Cundey
Director – John Carpenter
Aspect Ratio – 2.39
Genre – Horror; Slasher
Camera – Panavision Panaflex
Lenses – Panavision C-Series anamorphic lenses
Format – 35mm; Anamorphic
CategoriesTitle Cards; Two Shots; Vanishing Point Perspective; Venetian Blinds; Full ShotsHigh and Low Angles; Silhouettes; Color: Blue; Frames Within Frames; Wide Shots; Establishing Shots

The Movie
“It was the boogeyman.”
“As a matter of fact…it was.”

Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween, Michael Myers escapes from a psychiatric hospital and returns to terrorize his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois. Though set in the Midwest, this formative slasher was actually lensed in Pasadena, California in the spring of 1978 with a 30-year-old John Carpenter at the helm. Many of the subgenre’s tropes appeared earlier in Italian giallo thrillers and the Canadian holiday-themed horror classic Black Christmas, but it was the financial success of Halloween – shot for $320,000 with an international box office haul of $70 million in late-1970s dollars – that prompted a cycle of imitators for much of the next decade.

Single Frames


John Carpenter’s iconic score plays over a slow push in to a flickering jack o’lantern. The flame goes out just before Carpenter’s “Directed By” credit appears.

Opening Scene

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

Grouped Frames

Shot By Shot

Annie’s death scene

After the bravura opening tracking shot, the next on-screen kill scene in Halloween doesn’t arrive for 45 minutes of screentime.

Bob’s death scene

1 Comment »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s