Three decades later, John Carpenter's Halloween still tops lists as the scariest American movie ever made. Back in 1979, however, it was just another low-budget horror movie trying to make a few bucks at the box office.
This 45 was sent out by Compass International Pictures and no doubt turned into carts for easy airplay. Carts, for those who don't know, were similar in appearance to 8-track cassettes with around a minute of recording time. A DJ could load several into a cart machine, press a single button and have an entire break's worth of commercials play out. Since the tape was on a small loop, the spot would be ready to play again as soon as it ended.
Cut 3 is the interesting track here, as the high-profile reviews put this late in the box-office marketing cycle. American cinema was being forever changed by Francis Ford Coppola's concept of the blockbuster--a film that opened simultaneously throughout the country. Prior to that, films were released on a regional basis. Movie prints were expensive to make, particularly for low-budget productions, so a few would be struck, tested in major markets, and then hand-carried to the next town. If a film got big enough, they'd make more prints.
During the early days of Halloween's release, little more than newspaper ads were affordable. As the film's reputation grew, so did the marketing budget. Halloween premiered in 1978, but the Roger Ebert review quoted in Cut 3 wasn't written until October 1979.
For those who love a scare, Halloween is a must for your viewing list. Anchor Bay has been dipping into the vaults with this one for years, producing at least seven different versions, including the latest release on Blu-ray. My personal favorite is the Extended Edition, which restores footage shot a year later so that NBC could air the movie in prime time. It's worth seeking out either on the original two-DVD release (long out of print) or in the 2008 box set.
EDIT: Third time is the charm. Cut 3 is working now.