The haunting, simplistic theme song. The creepy mask, created from a William Shatner costume. The performance of Curtis’ plucky, virginal Final Girl. The omnipresent force lurking around every corner. These elements of horror movies have become so iconic, it’s understandable to forget how groundbreaking these ideas were when Carpenter unleased them on unsuspecting audiences 40 years ago, working with a meager $300,000 budget. Over the years, it was often imitated and never duplicated, as the original film remains by far the best in the franchise and one of the best horror films ever made. Sound, lighting and cinematography all play a huge role in creating the tension, as you perceive what’s happening much more than you see it. Of course, it helped to have a star-making turn from Curtis (in her movie debut) anchoring the film and none of the backstory and convoluted plot twists that bogged down the sequels. This is a lean, mean movie that succeeds in making you scared, which is easier said than done.