John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ — Courtesy of Compass International Pictures
2. The Babysitter Murders (Halloween)
A couple years before Halloween, John Carpenter directed the under-appreciated Assault on Precinct 13. The film was noticed by an independent film producer named Irwin Yablans, who approached Carpenter with financier Moustapha Akkad. Yablans wanted to produce a film about a killer that stalked babysitters, hiring Carpenter to write and direct the film.
With his girlfriend at the time, Debra Hill, Carpenter wrote an original draft of the screenplay, calling it The Babysitter Murders. Presumably, he was thinking, “You want a movie about babysitter murders? Fine, here’s The Babysitter Murders.” It’s to the point, but it lacks a certain flair. Yablans realized this, and fortunately, he had a revelation. He suggest to Carpenter he set the film on Halloween night, and simply just call the film Halloween.
The filmmakers were very fortunate in that the name somehow hadn’t been taken before. As we all know, the film became a smash hit, and has become synonymous with the holiday itself. Every year in October, people will undoubtedly talk about Michael Myers. He has made an incredible impact on pop culture.
If this movie didn’t take place on Halloween, and was just a run of the mill horror story about a man killing babysitters, would it still have become a phenomenon? With Carpenter at the helm, I think it’d still be a good movie. But without the Halloween setting, and subsequent design for Michael Myers with his trademark Halloween mask, it’s hard to picture it coming close.