Halloween is a 1978 American slasher film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut. Originally a single film, it is the first installment in the Halloween franchise. The film tells the story of serial killer Michael Myers as he stalks and kills teenage babysitters on Halloween night. The film predominately focuses on Michael who was committed to a sanitarium as a child for the murder of his older sister, Judith Myers. Fifteen years later, he escapes to stalk and kill the people of the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois while being chased by his former psychiatrist, Samuel Loomis.
Halloween was produced on a budget of $300,000 and grossed $47 million at the box office in the United States and $23 million internationally for a total of $70 million worldwide, selling almost 30 million tickets in 1978. It became one of the most profitable independent films. Primarily praised for its direction and musical score, many critics credit the film as the first in a long line of slasher films inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho(1960). In 2006, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Some critics have suggested that Halloween may encourage sadism and misogyny by audiences identifying with its villain. Others have suggested the film is a social critique of the immorality of youth and teenagers in 1970s America, with many of Myers' victims being sexually promiscuous substance abusers, while the lone heroine is depicted as innocent and pure, hence her survival. Carpenter dismisses such analyses.