It’s been 42 years since Jamie Lee Curtis first screamed her way into our hearts.
On Oct. 25, 1978, the iconic actress made her film acting debut with a little low-budget flick called, simply, Halloween. Directed by horror maestro John Carpenter, the movie introduced Curtis as Laurie Strode, an unlucky babysitter whose life would become forever inextricably linked to that of a masked murderer by the name of Michael Myers.
The film would not only jumpstart a highly lucrative franchise—spawning 10 more movies, so far, with two more on the way, while generating collectively over $640 million at the box office—but it inspired a laundry list of imitators. It also introduced us to the idea of the Final Girl. You know, the one woman who, like Laurie, is able to outwit, outplay and outlast the maniac as the bodies pile up around her.
Curtis had no idea exactly what sort of legacy she was setting in motion for herself all those years ago, as she told Variety recently. “We had nothing to lose; we didn’t know that we had anything to gain. We were just so happy to have this gig,” she explained. “The original Halloween was made in 17 days with like 12 people…Everybody was young. There was magic happening and none of us, not one person—I would dare say even John Carpenter and [co-writer] Debra Hill—I don’t think anybody knew.”