release year: 1978
genre: horror
viewing setting: home DVD, 10/23/03

synopsis: In 1963, a 6-year-old boy commits a gruesome murder, then spends 15 years in an asylum. On the anniversary of his previous murder, he escapes and returns to the same town to kill some more.

impressions: It's so easy to forget that this was not only the first of its series, but the first real slasher film, period. For that sole reason, many people make fun of it, especially in light of this era's horror films with "rules" and such. They fail to understand that the rules, the knowing when to run and hide and when to fight, etc. were all established by movies like this one. To those people, I say this: sit in your house alone, with the lights off and no cell phone or other interruptions, and actually WATCH THIS MOVIE. I guarantee you'll be scared. Anyhow, end of rant. This is a scary movie that uses very little blood or gore, instead relying on creepy music, shadows, and such to generate its scares.

things to watch for: I think the early scene at the asylum sets a good tone.

something this movie has that no other movie has: Technically, nothing - it's been imitated dozens of times. But it's unique in that it was the first of its kind.

body count: 5, plus 2 dogs

acting: A young Jamie Lee Curtis portrays one of the teens stalked by the madman. Donald Pleasance is the one doctor who truly understands what (not who) the killer is.

final word: Absolutely necessary viewing for any horror fan.

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