One of the greatest horror films ever made was “Halloween,” which was produced by Syrian-born Moustapha Akkad in 1978. The film was so thrilling that Roger Ebert proclaimed “I would compare it to Psycho.”
Apart from producing the Halloween series, Akkad is perhaps most famous for directing “The Message”—the sword and sand “epic” glorifying the life and conquests of Muhammad. “The Message” was released just two years prior to “Halloween.” It seems a rather dramatic change in focus—does it not?—to be making a religious biography one year and a gory slasher flick shortly thereafter? But there is more continuity between the two movies than meets the eye.
First person camera
There are a few famous films in history, such as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” that have used the viewpoint of the camera to simulate the viewpoint of a character in the movie. Two of the other best known films to employ that technique are—you guessed it—“The Message” and “Halloween.”
More often than not, arch-villain Michael Myers is depicted either by the camera or in the shadows, at a distance, and only in a mask. Like our beloved Prophet, you never see his face. The production of “The Message” was interrupted, protested, and boycotted on many occasions over rumors that an actor would portray Muhammad on screen. If Moustapha Akkad ever desired to show the face of Muhammad, the death threats convinced him otherwise. Akkad decided to use first-person camera and only portrayed Muhammad’s more distant relatives and companions to avoid the controversy of showing Muhammad’s inner circle.