William Shatner is a very famous man. He’s single-handedly changed the face of genre entertainment with his work in Star Trek, T.J. Hooker, and of course, John Carpenter’s 1978 fright fest, Halloween, though not in the way you’d expect.
Shatner was not an actor, assistant director, or producer in the film, but his face will forever be tethered to the film, because it is the bleached white face of Michael Myers.
The film follows high school student Laurie Strode, who part times as a babysitter. Of course as we become closer and closer to Ms. Strode, it becomes clear what sort of girl she is. The sweet one, the poor timid creature no one reaches out to, and no one dates. So while her friends are out participating in steamy pubescent antics, poor Laurie if left babysitting kids on Halloween night.
Of course things do not stay quiet for long, as in perfect horror movie style, an insane tenant at the local nuthouse escapes. His name is Michael Myers. He was shut away shortly after murdering his sister when he was the tender age of six. Now he is out and roaming, and no amorous teenager is safe from his steel. The audience never sees his face, as it is covered by the aforementioned visage of a William Shatner mask. Just as this silent masked stalker seems at his worst, enter Sam Loomis (played brilliantly by Donald Pleasence), the psychiatrist in charge of Myers. After more senseless murder, and a few chilling sylloquies, the showdown between Loomis and Myers comes to a dramatic and fascinating end (or does it?).
John Carpenter knows how to direct a movie. Halloween was relatively early in his career, and shows the promise of a talented, creative director about to enter his prime. Most interestingly, Carpenter composed the score, and singlehandedly created one of the most memorable murder melodies since the whining violins of Hitchcock’s Psycho.
Also, Halloween kickstarted one of horror cinema’s most powerful movements: The Slasher Genre. It set the mold for every single nugget of low-budget gold that arose during the 80s slasher craze. Halloween is a classic in every sense. It set the mold for other to follow, established one of the greatest talents in film, and helped the career of Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, and yes…William Shatner, though he’d never know it.