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Halloween

In 1978, John Carpenter launched one of the most prolific film franchises in history. With HALLOWEEN, the director introduced movie audiences to actress Jamie Lee Curtis, and unleashed the soon-to-be-legendary monster, Michael Myers, upon the world. Audiences and critics alike embraced the unrelenting, low-budget terror, and from that moment on, HALLOWEEN became a horror staple. Over the course of the following 40 years, sequels were rolled out on a regular basis, and the franchise got a grisly reboot under the helm of Rob Zombie. And, while longevity certainly didn’t seem to be an issue, quality definitively did. Originality and creativity took a backseat to schlock and absurdity, and like Freddy Kreuger and Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers became a laughable shell of his former terrifying self.

It seems fitting then, that four decades after the release of Carpenter’s classic, writer/director David Gordon Green (alongside co-writers Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley) decided to scrap the entirety of the follow-ups in HALLOWEEN canon, and produce a film that would be a direct sequel to the original.

The aptly titled HALLOWEEN begins with podcasters Aaron Korey (Jefferson Hall) and Dana Haines (Rhian Rees) visiting Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, where they meet with Dr. Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer.) They are investigating the events that had unfolded in Haddonfield, IL in 1978, and yearn to learn more about the infamous Michael Myers. Dr. Sartain has a reverence for his most famous patient, and allows Aaron and Dana to approach the silent behemoth in hopes that their appearance will serve as a catalyst for a breakthrough. Though Michael appears to hear the words that the podcasters speak, he provides miniscule acknowledgement of their existence. Even when Korey produces the silicone mask that was the symbol of Myers reign of terror, the killer remains virtually immobile. This early sequence was absolutely fantastic, and instantly illustrated that this venture was going to be far different than those that had preceded it.

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, coming face to face with the nightmare that she escaped 4 decades ago.

The podcasters then head to Haddonfield, where they meet up with Laurie Strode (Curtis). Her isolated country home is a veritable fortress, and the frazzled woman has very little interest in delving into the psychology of Michael’s propensity for murder. Her relentless doomsday preparation and belief that she and Myers will eventually have a winner-take-all showdown, has led to a fractured relationship with her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer) and her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak). While they feel that Laurie is completely paranoid and teetering on the brink of insanity, she knows that she is making the necessary choices in order to save herself, and her family.

Obviously, this wouldn’t be HALLOWEEN without the obligatory murder and mayhem, so when Michael makes his inevitable escape, the body count builds rapidly. The kills are shocking and brutal, immediately allowing Myers to transfer into the monster audiences knew he would become. With his hulking frame and singular driving force, he once again becomes an iconic symbol of terror. In the sequels, Michael dissolved into a token baddie who shuffled around butchering co-eds and unenthusiastically slicing his way through one predictable sequence after another. In Green’s film, however, he is genuinely unnerving. Stalking through Haddonfield with murderous intent, no one is safe, and everyone is disposable.   

There are numerous sequences in this iteration of HALLOWEEN that are strikingly savage, with glimpses of brutal originality that are as uncomfortable to watch as they are exhilarating.

There are numerous sequences in this iteration of HALLOWEEN that are strikingly savage, with glimpses of brutal originality that are as uncomfortable to watch as they are exhilarating. Though not for the squeamish, the visuals are striking, and as a viewer, it’s nice to see an effort exerted that hasn’t existed since the Carpenter’s original. And, while I am usually a proponent of backstory and character development when it comes to villains, I liked the way that Green’s film toyed with these notions. While there are characters who wish to humanize Michael, and attempt to break through his impenetrable psyche to see what makes him tick, Myers brutally teaches them that these efforts are for naught. He is a killer, a demon, and the exact type of creature that horror fans have been waiting 40 years to see again.

hough not for the squeamish, the visuals are striking, and as a viewer, it’s nice to see an effort exerted that hasn’t existed since the Carpenter’s original.

Halloween: GRADE: B+

RATED: R

RUN TIME: 1h 46min

GENRE: Horror, Thriller

STARRING:  Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak

DIRECTOR: David Gordon Green

Writers:  David Gordon Green, Danny McBride

A special thanks goes to Regal Cinemas at Destiny USA for allowing me to attend this month’s film.

Brian Miller
Film Critic
Based out of Central New York, Brian Miller is a film critic who works in television, radio, and print. Providing passionate and energetic takes on every movie he sees, he looks for the best in a movie, not the worst.