John Carpener's Halloween is among 25 films named to the National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress on Wednesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The trade paper has posted an interesting article about the National Film Registry (see link at the bottom of this story) and here some highlights concerning Halloween. The National Film Registry list, begun in 1989, now numbers 450.

"The annual selection of films to the National Film Registry involves far more than the simple naming of cherished and important films to a prestigious list," Librarian of Congress James Billington said. "The registry should not be seen as the Kennedy Center Honors, the Academy Awards or even America's most beloved films. Rather, it is an invaluable means to advance public awareness of the richness, creativity and variety of American film heritage and to dramatize the need for its preservation."

Billington made his selections from more than 1,000 titles nominated by the public after lengthy discussions with the library's motion picture division staff and members of the National Film Preservation Board.

Congress created the registry in 1989 to preserve films of cultural, historical and artistic significance. Selection in the National Film Registry singles out films for preservation either in the Library of Congress' own archive or facilities elsewhere.

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Halloween might not have the artistic chops of two other films on this year's list -- "The Last Command," director Josef von Sternberg's 1928 story that starred Emil Jannings in an Oscar-winning performance, or 1946's "Notorious," arguably Hitchcock's best black-and-white American film -- but it launched a genre, Leggett noted.

"Halloween launched Carpenter's career and started the slasher genre," he said. "Some people may say that's good or bad, but it's really a good film."

Halloween (1978) : John Carpenter's first commercially successful film not only became his most famous work, but it also ushered in the dawn of the slasher film. But unlike many later films of that genre, it creates a chilling tension with minimal blood and gore. The setting is Halloween night, and homicidal maniac Michael Myers has escaped from his mental institution and is hunting teenagers in his hometown of Haddonfield, Ill. Although the numerous imitations and elements of the genre are now considered cliche, Carpenter's style of point-of-view shots, tense editing and haunting piano score make the film uniquely artistic, frightening and a horror keystone.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange