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Halloween is a 1978 American independent horror film directed, produced, and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut. The film is set in the fictional midwestern town of Haddonfield, Illinois. On Halloween, six year old Michael Myers murders his older sister by stabbing her with a kitchen knife. Fifteen years later, he escapes from a psychiatric hospital, returns home, and stalks teenager Laurie Strode and her friends. Michael's psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis suspects Michael's intentions, and follows him to Haddonfield to try to prevent him from killing.
The limited budget also dictated the filming location and time schedule. Halloween was filmed in 21 days in the spring of 1978 in South Pasadena, California and Sierra Madre, California (cemetery).
An abandoned house owned by a church stood in as the Myers house. Two homes on Orange Grove Avenue (near Sunset Boulevard) in Hollywood were used for the film's climax. The crew had difficulty finding pumpkins in the spring, and artificial fall leaves had to be reused for multiple scenes.
Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) is sometimes given the distinction of also starting the slasher craze and preceding Halloween in originating the stylistic techniques as well as the usual plot devices. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, released five years prior to Halloween, has several things in common with the film: a group of free-spirited teenagers falling into the clutches of a sadistic, weapon-wielding masked villain ( Leatherface ) with a lone heroine. The film has also gone onto significantly influence the horror genre, much like Halloween.
Several subsequent films with similar stylistic elements and themes became popular with audiences, including Friday the 13th, and later, A Nightmare on Elm Street .