I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later

tn_H20Earlier this month when I reviewed HALLOWEEN II I wrote that it was “easily one of the best or the best HALLOWEEN sequel they made.” I was being a little cagey, saving it for today to reveal my opinion that the actual best sequel is 1998’s HALLOWEEN H20: TWENTY YEARS LATER. First I watched it again and verified that the verdict still stands now that we’re only a couple years away from being able to make HALLOWEEN H20-20: HALLOWEEN H20 TWENTY YEARS LATER. Also this time I learned that it plays even better when watched immediately after II.

It seems designed for that, because it begins with “Mr. Sandman” by the Chordettes, the same thing that played as Laurie rode off in the ambulance at the end of II. Unlike the other sequels it leaves Loomis dead after blowing himself up with Michael (Donald Pleasance had passed away by this point anyway). But Laurie isn’t the only major character to survive II: there was also Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), Loomis’s nurse colleague. That’s who Michael comes after first.

Marion’s still working as a nurse, and still chain smoking. She comes home to her house in a different Illinois suburb besides Haddonfield and finds it broken into. The police take their sweet time coming, but two neighbor boys (one played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, SHADOWBOXER, KILLSHOT, LINCOLN) keep her company while she waits. I like that because in HALLOWEEN Laurie tried to run to a neighbor’s house for help and they turned off the lights and wouldn’t answer the door. Marion does have helpful neighbors, but things don’t turn out any better.

Of course this is the opening kill scene, but it’s also a strategic move by Michael, who ransacks Marion’s office, searches her files and leaves an empty one labeled “Laurie Strode,” signaling that he’s figured out the whereabouts of his sister (a triumphantly returning Jamie Lee Curtis), last survivor of the Halloween Murders. She’s in California, working as headmistress at a boarding school attended by her 17 year old son John (introducing Josh Hartnett) under the assumed name Kari Tate.

I forgive the corniness of Marion being obsessed with the past and having a wall covered in articles about the murders because it makes for a great opening credits montage/visual explanation of the backstory. And another little touch I like is that she’s referred to as Marion Whittington. In interviews with Stephens it sounds like she’s supposed to have changed her name like Laurie did, but since she stayed nearby and in the same profession that seems a little too Skywalkery. I prefer to think that she got married at some point, but since she’s alone and accustomed to the help of these neighbor boys that must’ve ended a long time ago, either in heartbreak or tragedy. Just the changed name tells us she’s been through some things since those Michael Myers days that still clearly haunt her.

Can you guess what decade this poster was designed in?
Can you guess what decade this poster was designed in?

Laurie has explicitly had that type of troubled past. That she lives a pretty good life anyway is a further act of Final Girl survival. She’s traumatized, overprotective and on edge about Halloween coming up, but she has lived through not just The Shape, but also a husband she describes as an “abusive, chain-smoking methadone addict,” and doing a good job of raising a son on her own (even when his dark Hartnetty eyes remind us that he’s related to The Boogie Man of Haddonfield).

She tries to let go of some of her fears, and for the first time reveals her traumatic past to her boyfriend, school counselor Will (Adam Arkin, Justified). But of course that nagging fear of hers was actually correct. Michael Myers is coming. It’s the night he came. To California.

We meet Laurie’s son, his girlfriend Molly (Michelle Williams, SPECIES) and their friends (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe and Adam Hann-Byrd), who all decide to stick around to enjoy the abandoned school while everybody else is on a trip to Yosemite. If you don’t want to see another slasher movie about teens you’ll be happy to see how quickly it zips through this part of the story. At a brisk 80 minutes H20 is very economical in setting things up and then literally cutting to the chase, with the surviving adults protecting the surviving kids as Michael comes after them.

Director Steve Miner and cinematographer Daryn Okada (PHANTASM II) came up with a good visual style, paying homage to Dean Cundey’s wide, gliding cameras. There’s no Michael Myers P.O.V. scene as in I and II, but we get a scene floating through Laurie’s office and into its closet, which dissolves into the famous closet attack scene from HALLOWEEN, and then into Laurie’s POV during what of course turns out to be a nightmare.

Miner was brought in by Curtis after Carpenter decided not to do it. She knew him from when she co-starred in FOREVER YOUNG in 1992, but he brought with him his meat and potatoes slasher movie chops, as demonstrated in my two favorite FRIDAY THE 13THs, parts 2 and 3D. He knows how to throw in those important beats – a knife just missing and sticking into wood, for example – that make a cat and mouse chase thrilling, and he stages many scary location based scenarios, like when Laurie crawls under a row of cafeteria tables and to taunt her Michael first walks over them, then walks along and casually flips them over. My favorite is when John and Molly are penned inside a small gated entrance, backed up against the door, the keys to which they dropped outside of the wrought iron gate, which Michael is reaching through, slashing around with his knife, just barely unable to reach them.

still_H202
Setting the movie in a boarding school was a masterstroke, because it’s a perfect location both for character and for horror. Of course Laurie would want her son nearby, under her watch, even when he’s in school, inside a self-contained community with a gate and a security guard (LL Cool J, I should mention) keeping people out. But once everybody leaves for a field trip it transforms into a spooky place that we know is out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by woods. It becomes a ghost town, eerily quiet, and startling when you come across one of the handful of people who are still inside. It also is perfect to become a contained area where Michael can cut the phone lines and chase Laurie through various buildings and obstacles with no one around to intervene.

In a way this is all designed to string together two great moments:

1) Laurie coming face-to-mask with Michael. After 20 years of hiding and worrying and hallucinating, she’s standing here looking him in the eye, only a circle of glass separating them. (The oh shit moment.)

2) Laurie getting John and Molly outside of the gate, telling them where to go to get help (just like she did Tommy and Lindsey when she was babysitting 20 years ago), then locking herself in, getting an ax and yelling “MICHAEL!” She could’ve gotten away, but then what? Fake her death again? Make up a new name again? No. She doesn’t want to run anymore. She wants to go get that fucker. (The oh shit it’s on moment.)

And from that point on it’s a series of fighting and chasing until Laurie takes that fucker out. I remember seeing this in the theater and being thrilled by the conclusion. It’s a good “That’ll do, pig” ending and perfect finale to the series.

The script is credited to Robert Zappia (Team Knight Rider) and Matt Greenberg (CHILDREN OF THE CORN III, PROPHECY II, REIGN OF FIRE, 1408, SEVENTH SON). Zappia came up with the boarding school location for a different script that was going to be DTV and not have Laurie in it. Meanwhile Curtis had been discussing a 20 year reunion movie with John Carpenter and Debra Hill, and continued with the idea even after they opted out, so Dimension had Zappia start over.

Though only credited as a co-executive producer, SCREAM writer Kevin Williamson is described on the Miner/Curtis commentary track as the writer of the movie. If so he didn’t bury it in postmodernism and references and shit, as his naysayers might’ve expected. There’s only one scene that I think overdoes it with the winks and nods. Laurie is frightened by her secretary, who says “Well, it’s Halloween, I guess everyone is entitled to one good scare,” a reference to the original HALLOWEEN, where Sheriff Brackett said almost the same thing to her. Then the secretary wants to give Laurie some “maternal” advice, a reference to the fact that we’re looking at the actress Janet Leigh acting with her real life daughter Jamie Lee Curtis. Then she says that “We’ve all had bad things happen to us,” which is a nod to the fact that she is famous for playing a character who was killed by Norman Bates in PSYCHO. At the end of the scene she walks over to her car, which is the car from PSYCHO. And in case you didn’t get those two previous “she was in PSYCHO” nudges, the score quotes the theme from PSYCHO.

That doesn’t ruin the movie by any means. It’s cute. But that’s way too many layers of reference there. There’s also a scene where SCREAM 2 is playing briefly on a TV. It seems like a bit of Dimension Films pride and in retrospect a handy marker of where we were on the timeline of horror history when this movie came out. Also Chris Durand, the stuntman who plays Michael in H20, also played the killer in that movie. But if you start thinking about it too much you’re in trouble because you realize that Molly is watching the sequel to a movie that discussed and heavily incorporated footage of her boyfriend’s mother being attacked by his uncle. The SCREAM movies can’t exist in the world of HALLOWEEN because the HALLOWEEN movies exist in the world of SCREAM.

Maybe the real threat here is if they go back and watch SCREAM 1 then the whole universe will implode. But maybe when these kids watch it it’s an alternate dimension version where Randy and the others are watching some other movie at the party. Come to think of it, there’s a tape of Wayne Wang’s SMOKE sitting on top of the TV in that scene. I bet that’s what they’re watching in the SCREAM that exists in the HALLOWEENverse.

In 1998 I think some horror fans looked down on H20 for being made in the ’90s and not the ’70s. Back then people who were no longer teens would get mad at the SCREAM-inspired horror movies for still being for teens, and casting “WB actors,” people who were or looked like they were from a teen soap opera. Williams, for example, became one of the stars of the Williamson-created, Miner-produced Dawson’s Creek before H20 was released. This was a silly thing to hold against it though, because Curtis herself had only done TV before HALLOWEEN, primarily Operation Petticoat. Lance Guest of part II had only done an episode of Dallas and a couple of TV movies. Now that H20 itself is old it’s easier to look past that dumb hangup, especially since Hartnett and Williams went on to have legitimate movie careers. Hartnett has since been directed by Robert Rodriguez, Sofia Coppola, Ridley Scott, Brian DePalma and, uh, others. Williams has racked up Ang Lee, Todd Haynes, Wim Wenders, Kelly Reichardt, Charlie Kaufman, Martin Scorsese and Sam Raimi and been nominated for best actress three times. So fuck what you think.

I suppose it’s normal, especially among horror fans, to prefer the old style and have a loathing for the contemporary. That’s the cool thing about this movie being old. Now it finally seems like the good old school days instead of the stupid slick new shit that they do.

Here’s one quibble. I’ve always been a little bothered by the mask in this one. It’s always frustrated me that Michael’s mask changes in all the sequels. I had the impression they just couldn’t figure out how to make it look the same, but of course Rob Zombie got it to look exactly the same (but battle damaged) in his remake. For this one, Miner filmed for about three weeks using a very different version of the mask, which he wanted to look fairly featureless. The Weinsteins disagreed with this choice and commissioned new masks. I agree with them, but they should’ve fuckin figured it out before they started filming! Reportedly they spent a few million dollars in reshoots for all the closeups of the mask, and even still there are changes between one that John Carl Buechler molded from the part 6 mask, and another variation apparently made by Stan Winston. The original mask can be seen when Michael is in the distance, as well as in the main publicity still that was released early on.

Here’s the original mask that Miner wanted to use, followed by the one that ended up in the movie after reshoots:

still_h20-masks

I don’t know. I don’t think either of them look right. The worst part though is the shot where they weren’t able to reshoot so they decided to digitally touch up the Miner mask!

still_H20

I actually never knew that was why this shot looked like that until recently. I thought it was airbrushed or something. It just looks weird, and not really in a good way.

To be fair, though, alot of us sported looks in the ’90s that seem embarrassing now.

Although I don’t like how the mask looks in alot of the movie, the continuity issues sort of fit in with Miner’s approach. In the scenes before Michael makes it to the school Laurie keeps imagining that she sees him. He’ll appear in reflections, or he’ll be walking toward her and she’ll keep closing her eyes until he disappears. In the scene where Will thinks he’s shooting at Michael but it’s really Ronny the security guard, the first shot of the sequence is Michael. So the movie is presenting a subjective reality, it’s showing us what people think they see. With that in mind an ever-shifting mask kinda makes sense.

There was also some disagreement over the score by John Ottman (THE USUAL SUSPECTS). His most impressive contribution to the finished movie is the sweeping orchestral version of Carpenter’s original HALLOWEEN theme that plays over the opening credits. His vision was to approach the score more like PSYCHO, but with references to Carpenter’s cues. Apparently the studio liked his keyboard demos but then when they heard the finished recordings with the orchestra they got confused and frightened or whatever. Bob Weinstein wanted it to be like SCREAM so he got Marco Beltrami to compose some “original music” and also edited in cues from SCREAM and SCREAM 2. That movie they were watching earlier.

I don’t know. They might’ve been right. The Blu-Ray/DVD presents a few scenes with the original Ottman score, and they do feel weird. On the other hand they don’t have the sound effects and stuff, so it’s hard to be sure. At any rate his parts of the score are the most memorable parts. I actually have his original score on CD, it was released under the secret code name Portrait of Terror.

* * *

And now let’s discuss the ending and its unfortunate retroactive undoing. Here’s a rare case where I’ll side with the Weinsteins. According to one of the extras on the blu-ray, they wanted this to be the end of a trilogy – HALLOWEEN, HALLOWEEN II, HALLOWEEN H20, the end. Moustapha Akkad, original HALLOWEEN producer, disagreed, and didn’t want Michael’s head to be chopped off. Luckily the Weinsteins won. Then allowed it all to be undone in the execrable HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION, which pretended Michael had pulled a slick Ethan Hunt move where he switched clothes with a paramedic and that was who Laurie killed. Ironically, H20 had paid maximum respect to Rick Rosenthal’s work on part II by treating it as the only canonical sequel, the middle part of a solid trilogy. Then Rosenthal undid it himself by directing RESURRECTION and turning it back into an endless series of mostly crap tacked on after Carpenter’s masterpiece.

This was an honest-to-God shocker for me: we learn from the interviews and the commentary track that RESURRECTION’s asinine workaround was actually planned from the beginning and known by everyone. Curtis only wanted to do the movie to kill off Michael, but Akkad would not do the movie if Michael was killed off. Kevin Williamson came up with the “she kills Michael Myers so the audience can enjoy a good ending but later we will ruin it with a terrible piece of garbage movie where it turns out she murdered an innocent paramedic” idea as a compromise to keep Curtis on board. They all filmed it knowing that was the idea, so what play as Michael’s vulnerable, brotherly last moments can also be read as a guy who wakes up smooshed with a weird mask on.

Curtis was only in her early 40s at the time, and if you do the math she’s playing 37, but in Final Girl terms this is almost an UNFORGIVEN or ROCKY BALBOA type of role for her. The teen responsibility of babysitting has turned into the adult responsibility of being a single mother and having a job as a school administrator, but in fact her kid is taking care of her. In high school she stayed out of her friends’ beer drinking and pot smoking for fun, but after surviving she becomes a functioning alcoholic just to deal with the trauma. She knows how to chug a glass of Chardonnay and order another one while her date is in the bathroom; she keeps a bottle of vodka in the freezer and uses mouthwash to hide that she’s drinking from it. (This on top of the jam-packed medicine cabinet.) If we believe Randy from SCREAM and she was a virgin in HALLOWEEN then clearly that wasn’t the case for long, as she had a kid 3 years after the incident and now gets frisky with her boyfriend.

H20 turns Laurie into more than just the survivor of one skirmish. She becomes a metaphor for anybody who has had a rough time early in their life and tried to move beyond it. It doesn’t matter what kind of trauma you had, whether you were the victim of a crime, or an abusive situation, or a disease, or even if it’s just that you saw HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION. You can survive it, because Laurie Strode can. Except for that last one.

Happy Halloween, everybody. Part 8 never happened.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 30th, 2015 at 10:49 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

88 Responses to “Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later”

  1. This is the only Halloween I saw at the cinema and I got a kick out of it as it seemed really legit

  2. I loved this one & love the ending. I am firmly in the camp that only part 1, 2 & H20 exist.

  3. I know I’ve been the wet blanket a lot around here, but I’m going to do it again with this one (so happens I just watched it last week). Just remember that I dug Zombie H2, original Nightmare on Elm Street, New Nightmare, many of the Jason films, etc. I really want to like a good slasher film.

    This movie is a big disappointment. Not a bad movie, but just “okay.” The Carpenter score is mostly marginalized by a Psycho score knock-off. Also absent is the slow burn creepiness, the chilly autumnal midwestern small town trick or treating atmosphere, the plain-to-moderately-attractive central cast. These are switched out for 50 minutes of drawn-out reintroduction of Laurie and her life today; a completely generic boarding school in California as a backdrop; and a cast ripped from Teen People 1998 (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, LL Cool J). It’s not until about 1 hour into this film’s <90-min running time that some momentum builds. Michael slinking down from the ceiling is a very cool move, and Laurie battling it out with Michael and chopping his head off are pretty cool, but otherwise this movie is a self-indulgent whiff that completely fails to capture the Carpen-try ethos of 1 and 2. None of that classic Halloween Carpenter atmosphere or tension–Rosenthal Halloween 2 does much, much better on that score.

  4. It always surprises me when I hear that this is one of the most hated HALLOWEEN movies out there. Okay, its reputation grew over the years and not just because all the haters hate Rob Zombie’s version more, but still: WTF?!

    Anyway, let’s make the whole Shared Weinstein-verse thing even more complicated: Another tape that is in the pile of vids in SCREAM, is CLERKS, but Jay & Silent Bob appear in SCREAM 3. And in J&SBSB, they visit the set of SCREAM 4, where the killer is revealed to be a monkey, but as we all know, that’s not the case. (Not to mention that the real SCRE4M came out 10 years after that movie predicted.)

  5. Crushinator Jones

    October 30th, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    If you’re going to rag on a movie for casting “generic teens” you probably shouldn’t pick H20, because all the people listed went on to have excellent careers working for high-profile directors. That kind of casting is called “prescient”.

  6. I don’t think I called them generic teens. I said it was the kind of cast one would derive by thumbing through teen people. I’m knocking any of the actors themselves. My point is that, like almost every other aspect of this film, the approach to casting abandons Carpenter’s approach. Carpenter’s film (and, to a lesser extent, part 2) emphasizes atmosphere, tension, dread, visual and sonic storytelling (with the exception of Loomis), and, most importantly, relatable “everyman” characters who seem to embody plausible situations in a believable midwestern town. This film completely ditches all of that in favor of photogenic teens at a posh boarding school in California (whose security guard is LL Cool J), melodrama and excessive character development, a mostly generic score, and very few scares or set pieces. It bears a much closer family resemblance to the WB-esque Kevin Williamson-era peers than it does to first two Halloween films.

  7. *not knocking

  8. I liked this movie a lot when it was new (I went to see it twice), but now I only think the final Laurie/Michael showdown is really good. Somehow giving Halloween a Dawson’s Creek makeover gave this even less personality than prior sequels, and there are just way too many false alarms all through this. I agree with Skani that the whole first hour is really bland and uneventful, and it lacks a tactile atmosphere. Maybe I was initially just stoked to be of age to see a Halloween movie in the theatre. Scream was enormously cool in the late ’90s, and this was among the first batch of movies to ride its wave.

    Having said that, it would be cool if Martin Scorsese claimed to have cast Michelle Williams in Shutter Island based on her performance in Halloween: H20. But cool things like that never happen.

  9. To be fair, I think this film is way better than Part 6 or 8, and it was definitely cool to see Jamie Lee Curtis. I’ll watch it again. So, there’s the half-full part. Just a little bummed that the film fails to achieve–or even really attempt–to deliver real chills or horror atmosphere. Felt kind of like they coasted on the goodwill of bringing back Laurie.

  10. Also, I’m thinking the reshoots mask is orders-of-magnitudes better than the Miner mask. Really don’t know what they were thinking on that first mask, but the second one seems much closer to the part 1 and part 2 look. There’s a good discussion of the mask controversy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CCsCBYs498#t=58m43s

  11. caruso_stalker217

    October 30th, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    HALLOWEEN WATER is an okay movie. HALLOWEEN 4 is clearly the best of the sequels.

    HALLOWEEN II is one of the most tedious things I’ve ever seen.

  12. This is still a solid movie but I also am not quite as jazzed about this one as I was at the time, when I was just so excited to be seeing horror movies in the theater again. SCREAM has a lot to answer for, sure, but overall it was a net positive for the genre, just by virtue of it being such a huge hit that studios started making horror movies again. People forget how dire the years before SCREAM came out were for the genre. Hardly anything made it to theaters, and then usually only the tamest, most mainstream stuff. Even the straight to video stuff was pretty wack, and indie horror wasn’t a thing yet. The SCREAM boost helped launch a cycle of theatrically released horror movies that went through numerous cycles, from the SCREAMalikes to the J-Horror fad to torture porn to slasher remakes to finally all the endless ghost bullshit we have now. There hasn’t been a real lack of theatrical horror (of varying quality, no doubt) until the last couple years. If you felt like going to the theater and seeing some scary shit, you could almost always do it. SCREAM made the genre marketable again after a long drought and created a whole new generation of horror fans whose purchasing power allowed the genre’s next decade to be an embarrassment of riches in terms of sheer number of films competing for their attention. If that means a HALLOWEEN sequel has to be cast with so-called WB actors instead of more believable human beings, then so be it. Every genre needs to pay the piper every now and then if it wants to stay viable.

  13. I learned to let go of the tyranny of sequel continuity after ALIEN 3. In my mind, Ripley and Newt make it back to Earth alien-free, Sarah Connors prevents the apocalypse, and Laurie Strode puts an end to Michael for good. There are also alternative universe “what-if” movies that depict other shit happening afterwards that you may choose to accept or ignore, or just enjoy in a different way. Movies are self contained pieces of art, you don’t have to let anyone’s boneheaded sequel invalidate your preceding experience.

  14. Out of curiosity, any boarding school veteran out there who can confirm that they genuinely lock the kids inside the grounds?

    Please don’t tell me movies lie to us.

  15. HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION really is the fucking worst, of course I haven’t seen the whole thing since I turned it off as soon as they killed off Jamie Lee Curtis.

    I’ve been a fan of her’s ever since I saw TRUE LIES as a young ’un and that’s what makes H20 a solid sequel is her involvement.

  16. This is the perfect example of how I think history gives sequels great dramatic weight. If this were just an “original” movie about a killer stalking a boarding school and the abuse victim overcomes her fears and defeats him in the end, it would be okay, maybe, if it were really well done. But the fact that it’s Jamie Lee Fucking Curtis reprising her role and turning the tables gives it something you couldn’t get by introducing all new characters.

    Vern sort of mentioned the two “oh shit” scenes, the face to mask, and the “Michaelllllll!” Those are maybe the only two moments that overtly acknowledge what this movie is doing, but because of that, the whole 20 minute climax is imbued with something special. It’s not just chasing down halls. It’s the culmination of something, and you don’t even have to have seen the originals to feel that.

    One thing I also like about this one is the scene where Michael lets the mother and her kid at the rest stop go. He doesn’t need to kill them. He just needs their car. And the mother knows she just dodged a huge bullet so she’s cool with it. She’ll call AAA and report the car stolen. It showed that Michael wasn’t indiscriminate. He had a mission and he could stick to it if someone wasn’t actually in his way.

  17. Zeke, you have accurately encapsulated the joys of Franchise Fred.

  18. Li, I’ve never been to a boarding school, but there was one in my town, that a lot of kids from my school were sent to by their parents. Of course that means they had to go to another school, which makes the school part of the English term inaccurate. Anyway, at one point in the evening, they closed the gates and nobody got out. There were many stories about kids who snuck outside to smoke one last cigarette and then got locked out, until someone noticed that they were gone.

  19. Thanks, CJ. Trust in movies: Restored.

  20. I never really liked this movie and I’m a huge fan of the first 2 movies and SEASON OF THE WITCH. I also always really liked HALLOWEEN 4 which I agree with caruso_stalker217 as being the best sequel. I think H20 is much better than CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS (unfortunately the only one I saw at the flicks) and RESURRECTION. It’s also better than part 5 but not by much which in itself is a disappointment. However I would still watch the other 3 over it for some reason.

    The way the whole post-SCREAM era of horror really played out always bothered me. Particularly cause I was in my teens at that time and was very much the demo they were trying to cater to. Outside of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and maybe THE FACULTY they really didn’t get it at all. Kevin Williamson and people who were aping him began to parody what he originally parodied but with a straight face and you end up with URBAN LEGEND and some second tier Johnny Come Lately HALLOWEEN movie.

    Everything about this movie at that time was painful. I was 14/15 at the peak of my anti establishment sentiment. A HALLOWEEN movie that had the balls to say “screw the last few” was as anti establishment as you can get. Sort of like a HALLOWEEN version of NEW NIGHTMARE but then you see the thing and it’s fucking Creed songs and badly acted teenage love stories & soap opera tropes beginning with the faked death and moving on. All this without any of the raunchiness or blatant violence from the other sequels? FUCK YOU DUDE!!!

    I think that era of lesser MTV slashers really helped kill the brief mainstream resurgence the genre saw for a couple of years until the Japanese Horror remakes started popping up next.

  21. Also it was released during that period where they were really trying to make Josh Hartnett happen and he was quite the awful actor back then (even in THE FACULTY). I think if they had cast an Elijah Wood or somebody I was more familiar with or didn’t mind as much I would’ve tolerated this movie more. He does way too much for somebody who offered so little.

  22. Mr. Majestyk – “Even the straight to video stuff was pretty wack”

    Say what you want but I got more entertainment for my buck from Full Moon Video releases like the PUPPET MASTER then I ever did HALLOWEEN: H20. Geesh even the movie’s title sounds pretentious as fuck.

  23. When this film was new, some people pronounced H20 like the chemical formula for water, which for me was funny. But, could they have possibly been suggesting all along that the series had at this point been….watered down?

  24. Ive been a fan of the halloween series and h20 was alright while rob zombie’s Halloween movies are by far the best , season of the witch actually was by far, the worst of all the halloween movies. Season of the witch had nothing to do with michael myers at all.

  25. Broddie: Never got into Full Moon. The Bands made some good movies in their day but that day was long before they started that company. They’re just so flat and dull. And those phony baloney carnival keyboards. Ugh. I ran the entire PUPPET MASTER series earlier this year and good god is that a franchise that doesn’t give a shit. Hardly any of them could even be described as complete films. (The third one is decent.) If Full Moon hadn’t let Stuart Gordon make CASTLE FREAK, I’d have no time for them at all.

    And you guys are crazy is you think the fourth one is better than H20. I just watched it and it’s almost as dumb and uninaginative a Jason ripoff as I remembered. And the mask is terrible. So white and chintzy, with this prissy, sort of embarrassed half-smile that makes Michael look like a mime who just got caught jerking off.

  26. Maybe someone smarter than me can respond to this question: what exactly is Michael’s fixation on his sister about? Is it just unfinished business because he didn’t kill her the first time? Or is it similar to Jason’s relationship with his mama’s severed head, which, if I remember correctly, he keeps on a shrine with her sweater?

  27. It depends on which movie you’re talking about. If you’re talking about the Jamie Lee Trilogy, there is no reason. They just invented that whole sister thing just to give Michael an excuse to continue chasing Laurie in the second movie. His motives for doing so, just like his motives for killing his other sister in the first movie, are unknowable, as they should be. But if we’re talking about the three Michael-starring sequels in between Jamie Lee’s appearances, then it’s because Michael was granted eternal life by some kind of pagan black magic, which requires a sacrifice of a family member on Samhain. Though apparently not every Samhain, or even at regular interludes. Sometimes he comes back the next year, sometimes its ten years, sometimes it’s even more.

    So in answer to your question, none of this shit makes sense. Michael is just evil like that, don’t worry about it.

  28. Mr. Majestyk – This movie may have better production values than HALLOWEEN 4 but it sure is a shit ton more boring.

    I’ll take the reaction of the people of Haddonfield to the original massacre 10 years later, Dr. Loomis, one of the more competent final girls in the series and one of the best endings out of any of these movies over whatever H20 has to offer personally.

  29. I could never defend 5 or 6 they’re both pretty dreadful for different reasons. However to group 4 with those 2 I do think is disingenuous because even though 4 was the basis of the story of 5 and 6 retroactively those movies steered away from the original vision of what was set up with 4 initially. Plus 4 is a much more competently made movie than either of it’s sequels.

  30. The Original Paul

    October 31st, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Broddie – could not disagree more about Hartnett, especially in THE FACULTY. Hell, I’d say he was one of the best things about that film. And this is a film that’s already good, and a bodyshock horror movie (which puts it in the top 5% of movies that “I can watch any time, in any mood”.)

    Skani: “Most importantly, relatable “everyman” characters who seem to embody plausible situations in a believable midwestern town.”

    Yeah… HALLOWEEN definitely goes for this. It doesn’t work, though. Man, it’s so hard to articulate how I feel about the original HALLOWEEN because I think that when it’s dealing with the slow, atmospheric parts (which is a lot of the movie) it’s so damn good, and yet whenever the “teens” or Dr Loomis open their mouths it falls apart for me. And it’s all to do with the direction. I’ve read the script, and it’s clear exactly what was intended, and what Carpenter actually did was so far from that… But then you get the stalker bits and the iconic scoring and the atmosphere and the creepiness and you forget just how bad the “teens” are. And yes, I include Jamie Lee in that description. She’s fantastic when she’s trying to protect her friends and her kids and get to safety. When she’s dealing with the “teenage” dialogue at the beginning… not so much.

    There’s a huge disconnect in that film, for me, is what I’m trying to say. I couldn’t care less about Dr Loomis trying to get people to believe him, or the conflict between him and the sheriff, or anything to do with the teens (apart from Laurie at the very end, when it grabs me – mostly because she doesn’t actually have to say anything the entire time). I’ve never been a fan of Donald Pleasance in general, and HALLOWEEN doesn’t convince me otherwise. I think HALLOWEEN might genuinely be the most gripping film ever made, if it were a silent film.

    It is heresy to say that I much prefer Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN: H20 than in the original HALLOWEEN? For mostly the same reason that everybody else, Vern included, has pointed out… that moment where she shoos the kids out and then turns around, grabs an axe, and prepares to go to battle… man. And I still think HALLOWEEN is the better film overall, probably by a considerable margin (I’d have to rewatch both movies to see just how far that goes). But it’s to do with factors unrelated to the kids and Jamie Lee in general.

  31. Broddie: There are good ideas in 4 but the execution is so flavorless and broad that the movie just ends up being a big nothing. H20 has more atmosphere and suspense in its title sequence than 4 can muster in its whole running time. It’s watchable on the same level as a lesser FRIDAY THE 13TH sequel but that’s it. Michael is so stupid-looking–beyond the harlequin doll mask, he’s also clearly wearing shoulder pads under his clothes so he looks all lumpy and out of proportion–that he’s laughable, not scary. The ending is really the only well done thing about it. Pleasence really sells it. Although I don’t for a second believe that he actually thought Michael was dead before they found a body, so his sudden shift from triumphant relief to “Oh God, it’s starting all over again” doesn’t really hold water. But in a vacuum it’s a solid ending.

  32. Halloween 4 and 5 aren’t even shot in 2.35. They feel like telefilms to me. It does seem that part fours in the big slasher franchises (specifically, this series, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm St.) are accessible, easy gateways. They’re fairly representative of what the series is about and are easy to watch without a lot of backstory.

    I still pronounce H20 like the chemical formula. I also called Independence Day by era-shorthand ID4 recently and some youngins didn’t know what movie I was talking about. But, yeah, Halloween H20 is a horribly titled horror sequel, like The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia and Howling III: The Marsupials.

  33. The Original Paul

    October 31st, 2015 at 10:14 am

    I liked HALLOWEEN 4 (especially the ending) and H20, actually. They’re definitely the two best movies with the name HALLOWEEN attached to them, excluding the original HALLOWEEN.

  34. Guys, that’s the name of the movie: Halloween H Two Oh. That’s the only thing anyone has ever called it. It’s a stupid title, but that’s what it is. It was never Halloween H Twenty, even though that would make more sense.

    What can I say? It was the nineties. The art of combining letters and numbers into abbreviated logos was in its infancy.

  35. Huh! I always thought it was H Twenty. I cannot fathom why it would be otherwise. I never can understand people it seems.

  36. Yeah I vividly remember movie trailer guy always closing out the preview with “HALLOWEEEEEEEN….H…TWO-OH…TWENTY YEARS LATER!”.

  37. I guess they didn’t want to call it H20 so that people wouldn’t be confused about never having seen H7 – H19.

  38. Meaning H-Twenty in that last post of course and not H-Two-Oh.

  39. Oh went it comes to use of rappers in the franchise Busta Rhymes >>> LL Cool J.

    At least he went all “Raah raah” like a dungeon dragon towards Michael. While LL was too afraid of getting his bells rocked.

  40. If I recall correctly, the “oh shit” scene where Laurie sees Michael face-to-face through that submarine-y window in the door was prominently featured in the trailers and TV spots, so it kind of lost a little bit of its “oh shit” mojo by the time I got to the actual film (“Aw shit, yo!! It’s that scene I’ve seen 30 times in the previews!”). I guess the same thing is true of the Freddy “miss me?” scene in New Nightmare, but for whatever reason that latter scene is so bawse that it doesn’t matter.

  41. Paul, That is so funny that you mention the original Halloween as a silent film. When I rewatched it last night for the umpteenth time, it hit me while the music makes the experience more thrilling and more fun, the compositions and color palate (on the 35th Anniv. blu-ray, anyway) and editing and lighting tell the story in markedly more elegiac way … and I thought, Hmmm, maybe next time I’ll watch this without sound. The movie became too familiar over the decades to be nerve-racking, and watching it now has become largely for nostalgia and appreciation of craft, so why not give a watch with a focus more on the unvarnished mood than on now-worn shock and suspense. Should also make some of the iffier line readings less glaring. Um, actually all of them, I guess.

    Too bad we can’t go back in time to see the whole thing fresh again. I was realizing, it’s not just that familiarity eventually makes Michael’s strikes rote. It’s also that when, say, Bob is poking around in the kitchen or Annie is doing laundry, your brain can’t return to that feeling of every moment being pregnant with awful possibility.

  42. It took me a long time to appreciate the original Halloween, mostly because of the point in my own life (as a pre-teen) and in slasher history when I first tried it out. By the time I got around to first watching it, I’d already been pretty steeped in Freddy and Jason movies, so by contrast, H1 seemed plodding, bloodless, and humorless. H1 is often viewed as the first real slasher body count film. By virtue of that and its many sequels, it naturally gets grouped in with the Nightmares and Fridays, and that is how I always tended to evaluate it–which is anachronistic. Anyway, because I always filed it as a slasher film and compared it to a Jason or Freddy, I always found myself feeling fidgety and impatient with H1’s sparse, slow-build approach. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve been able to shake off some of that baggage and appreciate H1 in its historical context and for what it’s trying to do. What I once experienced as plodding, bloodless, and humorless, I now view as deliberate, assured, creepy as hell, and truly iconic (the juxtaposition of the shape against the darkness, the score, and so many inspired shots, like the confrontation in the closet).

    I still think some of the Friday and Nightmare sequels are more enjoyable for pure gooey campy fun, but H1 stands the test not only as one of the great horror films, but one of the great films of all time, regardless of genre. Nightmare 1 holds up as a truly great film, as well. As for Friday, I like a lot of those films for what they are (3, 4, 6, and 7 are probably my favorites), but I think even the best of them are pretty just fun, corny gore porn. I still enjoy them because they sort of imprinted on me as a middle school kid, but if I were just seeing them now for the first time, it would probably be hard for me to get into them.

  43. Broddie, have you rewatched H20 since you were a teenager? I wonder because the criticisms you’re given are the kind of things I was mentioning in the review that seem important to a 15-25 year old at the time a movie is new and then seem totally irrelevant later on. Like, you are judging the cast based on the context of what they were known for at the time, but the other ones that you didn’t see at that age I bet you don’t judge in that way. If you were 14 when A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET came out you might think “oh jesus, it has that guy from 21 Jump Street in it,” but that wouldn’t be a relevant criticism now.

  44. The Original Paul

    October 31st, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Inspector Li – silent films were set to music!

    Yeah, I didn’t mean for one second that you should get rid of the excellent score. Just the stilted “teen” dialogue.

  45. The Original Paul

    October 31st, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Oh wait… I misread your comment, Inspector Li, sorry. Never mind!

  46. The Original Paul

    October 31st, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    On the name:

    I think it was called “Heych – two – oh” in the trailers at the time also.

    Funny thing… it never even occurred to me that that meant “water” until reading these comments.

  47. Nice job on making me think of CASTLE FREAK, Majestyk, that’s easily one of Gordon’s best, I think. Full Moon is mostly bullshit otherwise though and PUPPET MASTER, TRANCERS, DEMONIC TOYS, etc… are just like Troma movies. They can be fun in the right setting but they’re not trying to scare people.

    I always thought that the H20 was just a marketing abbreviation thing and the real name of the movie was HALLOWEEN: 20 YEARS LATER, but shit I guess I was wrong. Anyway, this one and the second one are the only good sequels. The series became a joke at 3 and then no one really cared about it after that, we all knew they were kinda garbage. Same things that always happens with too many sequels, diminishing returns.

    Saw this one in the theater and I really enjoyed it at the time but I haven’t watched it since. Slashers were having a nice little revival after SCREAM, so I don’t know if my 38 year old self would enjoy it like my 21 year old self did!

  48. I never watched Full Moon for scares just for blatant cliche exploitation cause I find that shit entertaining; just like Troma. Granted the stock footage filled lows are pretty lows but lets not act like there wasn’t some fun to be had with some of the TRANCERS, SUBSPECIES and PUPPET MASTER entries. At least if you truly do appreciate the absurd. Which I did and that made me a weird kid to some but a friend to others.

    Truth be told only 3 movies to ever scare me as a kid were the original HALLOWEEN, THE EXORCIST and Kubrick’s THE SHINING.

  49. Vern – Know what? I actually haven’t. Maybe this should be the HALLOWEEN movie I watch tonight since I obviously won’t feel the same way at 32 that I do at 15 but honestly every time I revisit something I liked back then I kinda cringe (Ie: SCREAM 2). So sometimes that worries me about revisiting stuff that I initially never cared for. My issues with this movie were everything from Laurie and her son to Laurie and the psych and that takes up a substantial amount of screen time. I think this movie could’ve been rawer. It was like the pop version of HALLOWEEN.

  50. *did at 15.

  51. I wasn’t sure, but I just checked, and the H20 is on the credits of the actual movie. It’s behind the rest of the title though so I guess you could argue that it’s separate.

  52. On Josh Harnett: Really like his performance in PENNY DREADFUL. Thought he was terrible in that movie with Bruce Willis and Lucy Liu. Couldn’t distinguish him from the set design in SIN CITY. Maybe he’s one of those actors who requires the right director.

    Thanks for clarifying Michael Meyers’ motives (or lack thereof), Majestyk. I saw the second film decades ago and no longer remember the significance of the retcon, Never saw anything between 2 and H2O.

    If he’s unknowable evil, why bother with the retcon in part 2 at all? Just plot mechanics to keep the audience invested in the story? Like how knowing Freddy is the “bastard son of a thousand lunatics” escalates the degree to which we fear him?

  53. I love Trancers! Mostly the first three. Great music.surprisingly well acted. And genuinel just a fun mashup if scifi action tropes

  54. Paul-I just assumed the trailer voice got it wrong,sincwe it made no sense

  55. The Original Paul

    November 1st, 2015 at 4:33 am

    Jareth – I agree about SIN CITY but he was playing basically a one-note “twist” character with about three or four minutes of screentime (plus a couple of seconds’ appearance at the very end). It’s not much to work with.

    Taking the other side of the argument for a moment though, I don’t remember a thing about him in PEARL HARBOUR (a movie that I remember somewhat enjoying, although I don’t think I want to revisit it as I suspect the experience would be very different today). That might just be because it’s a Michael Bay ‘splosion-fest, of course.

  56. Paul – It’s Pearl Harbor. Spelling it with a “u” is disrespectful to the Americans who died on that day.

    I guess I always thought of Josh Hartnett as the Jai Courtney or Sam Worthington of the late-90s/early-aughts.

  57. And here I was all this time convinced it was called PAUL HERBERT when in fact it was PEARL HARBOR!. You meanthat shit actually happened!? You could have fooled ne with all that preposterous bullshit. Maybe I shouldnt have laughed so hard when all those people died. Last time I did that was when I watched PLATOON. Was that wrong? Should I have not done that?

  58. The Original Paul

    November 1st, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    RBatty – actually I’m pretty sure that spelling it without a “u” is disrespectful to Sam Johnson.

    Damn Michael Bay! Insulting fans of action cinema and creators of dictionaries alike!

  59. I guess the abbreviation titles go back to T2, then picked up by ID4, MiB and H20. I think H20 makes a little more sense as an abbreviation than ID4, at least. And it’s not the same amount of syllables as the full version, like MiB.

  60. Was there an adult version called PEARL HARLOT?

    I really didn’t like H20 at all when I saw it some ten years ago, probably enjoying it least of all if I’m honest. My memory is that it was just plain boring until the last twenty minutes or so. However, the meta and character development elements seem like something I might be into now.

    I’m pretty sure HALLOWEEN IV was the first slasher movie I ever saw, certainly the first “name” one. I had it one of those cheapie DVD 4-Packs of the early 00s; it has IV/V and Uli Lomell’s BOOGIEMAN, and a weird (and genuinely unwatchable) “remixed” version of BOOGIEMAN II. At the time I actually preferred V to IV, although maybe that was just because I got more “into” the whole HALLOWEEN thing.

  61. The Original Paul

    November 2nd, 2015 at 2:05 am

    This is a bit late to the discussion, but can I just point out how refreshing it was to see the “final girl” be middle-aged in H20? (And I know I took some deserved flak for my comments on Ilsa’s age in the ROGUE NATION thread, but there’s a huge difference between Laurie in H20 and Ilsa. Laurie isn’t a compendium of movie cliches that have been done much better in other movies, for one thing.) That was one of the few things that I didn’t like about YOU’RE NEXT: the oldies died early, as they always seem to do.

    So to see the teens relegated to supporting players / Myers-fodder, while Jamie Lee comes back to kick ass… and then to pull it off as well as H20 does… that’s really refreshing.

    I mean, if they really wanted to make this a “modern” horror movie, they’d have had Jamie Lee get killed off in the first ten minutes, then moved the whole thing to the set of a reality TV show and had the main character be a rapper or something. Thank goodness that never happened in H20, or indeed in any film ever made under the HALLOWEEN banner. Eh?

  62. If you do the math Laurie is only supposed to be 37 in H20, which makes me feel bad about my life. But she was a couple years older than that in reality.

  63. The Original Paul

    November 2nd, 2015 at 6:56 am

    I think Jamie Lee has maybe always looked a little older than she actually is (which is absolutely not meant as an insult by the way – she still looks fabulous now). I’d say that my definition of “middle-aged” would be between, say, 35 and 55? Or something similar? And she definitely looks in that range in H20.

    Sadly, by my own definition, that makes me just middle-aged. Yeah, I know that bad feeling Vern.

  64. I remember catching this at a free preview in the theaters and I was speechless at the end. I didn’t care that the first hour was basically a big wheel-spinning stall for time (you could argue H1 or any other slasher is like that too) – but everything from Laurie seeing Michael through the door, to the incredible finale is pure cinema gold. There’s so much emotion and likeability in Curtis’ performance, that this movie could have ONLY been made 20 years later (This really does rank with Rocky Balboa as one of the best, if not THE best delayed sequel ever).

    Yeah the “plot” and the other kills are perfunctory, but at least it’s quick enough to not be too tedious, and I actually think Hartnett is pretty good here. Sure he’s cute and something to bring teenage girls in, but he’s also kind of goofy and doesn’t spend the entire movie posing and Zoolandering his way through it (a la the teen guys in any movie post Twilight).

    That ending, with the balls to kill off the series’ cash cow (even though I guess he was definitively killed off in II at the time), left me stunned, especially with Curtis’ cathartic expression on her face and her heavy breathing over the original theme (neatly paralleling Myer’s breathing before the slam cut to credits in part 1). I still get chills thinking about how perfect this ending is.

    One correction Vern – there’s a line of dialogue at the beginning explaining the nurse was living with Loomis and taking care of him, so I think he survived the explosion and it was his Myers’ newspaper clippings, not hers.

  65. On the topic of not posing and Zoolandering: They mention more than once in the extras that the director and hairstylist couldn’t stop Hartnett from messing up his hair before all the shots. He said he hated that young people in movies always looked perfect. This is why LL tells him to comb his hair at one point.

  66. Vern, did you (or anyone else) consider that at the end when Michael feels his mask, maybe he has amnesia or his mind was wiped clean as a result of the crash, so he doesn’t remember the events of the movie (or Halloweeen I and II)? That makes the ending much more tragic to me, because it’s like Michael legitimately is reaching out to his sister in innocent affection or something. And you can tell she’s tempted to maybe start over with him, maybe give hum a second chance, before taking responsibility/making the ethical decision to behead him and not take the chance he could relapse.
    For some reason this occurred to me on the latest viewing. He just seemed so innocent feeling his mask and then reaching out to his sister, it makes the final blow so much more significant.

  67. Yeah, I think that’s a good way to read it. It also seems to me like maybe he has been unconscious and is making sure his mask is still on. But when he reaches out there is the possibility that it is sincere, and not just trying to trick her.

  68. The Original Paul

    November 3rd, 2015 at 3:59 am

    It’s a beautiful moment. It’s been a long time since H20 but I believe I read it as a sign that this faceless, remorseless, empathy-less killer had, in his final moments, found common ground with another human being for the first time since he was a small child. And it’s because she’s about to do the only thing he understands any more: kill.

    At any rate I think we can all agree that it’s not because it wasn’t actually Michael under that mask, but some paramedic that he’d swapped places with in a Mission: Impossible-style identity-swap plot. Because no HALLOWEEN movie would or has ever suggested that this should be the case. Fact!

  69. It never occurred to me that Michael had any other reason for reaching out to her but to try to kill her. It just kind of looked like an attempt at a human connection to, you know, a human. Which, as we all know, Michael is not even remotely.

  70. Watched it on Saturday for the first time since the 90’s. Yeah I’m just gonna be real and admit that some movies just fail to click with me and this is just one of them. That first hour or so was brutal to sit through even more so than back then. Holy shit. Yeah the last 20 something minutes work….if you take it in the context of this being slow burn from 20 years earlier and not as payoff to any setup from the previous hour cause story wise this is the dryest HALLOWEEN outside of the one with the webcams. Which is kind of a cheat but then again if not for that conceit why would the movie even exist?

    Overall I’m not saying I’d burn the disc or launch it as a frisbie if I had a HALLOWEEN media disc collection but I will say that it would be one of the least watched for sure.

  71. I guess my comment disappeared! Basically pointing out that if you take Halloween 4 as canon, the ending of H20 has an entirely different meaning.

    If you recall, 4 ends with Jamie (Laurie’s daughter and Michael’s neice) touching hands with Michael (in a shot very similar to Laurie/Michael’s hands in H20) – this passes on the “curse” to Jamie, who immediately picks up where Michael left off, stabs her stepmom with some scissors, and heavy breathes while the theme song plays before the credits. (This was basically not really followed up with much in Halloween 5 if I remember)

    So if you had 4 on the brain when you watched H20, you’ll notice as soon as Laurie and Michaels’ fingers touch, she chops his head off and begins heavy breathing while the theme song plays – you could totally take it that the evil torch has been passed from Michael to Laurie and she’ll be killing people in his place, starting with him.

    Of course, that’s a cheesy ending and not dramatically satisfying, and I doubt Curtis would come back for it. But it’s better than the shit they pulled in 8 though.

  72. The Original Paul

    November 3rd, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Majestyk – that’s kinda my point… I think that one possible interpritation of Michael’s reaching is that he can’t possibly empathise with another human being, but he can with a killer like him. And that’s what he sees in Laurie at the end of H20.

    I do love Neal’s theory though. I’d forgotten about that moment in HALLOWEEN 4 (which is IMO the third best HALLOWEEN movie).

  73. It’s an interesting possibility, but I don’t think Michael has feelings like that. I think the only thing on his mind at that moment is “Just a little closer and I’m putting these fingers through your throat.” It’s just our foolish human need to personify evil that makes us think that blank face has any empathy in it.

  74. I can’t say I ever saw any deeper emotional significance to Michael’s reaching out to Laurie; I saw it as more of a reflex action of a ruthless, instinct-driven animal that doesn’t know it’s dead yet.

    But Paul’s interpretation would make for a pretty interesting JASON VS MICHAEL MYERS movie.

  75. Grimgrinningchris

    November 11th, 2017 at 7:04 am

    I’ve thought since ***redacted*** was released and the switcheroo with the ambulance driver revealed, that the grabbing at the mask and reaching out was an order from Akkad at the time.
    It’s ambiguous enough that it can be interpreted different ways.
    But in retrospect, after ***redacted*** it makes sense that the ambulance driver is feeling the mask and reaching out because he just woke up mortally wounded with a mask on (and unable to speak- cut out tongue?) and has no idea what’s going on.

  76. Why now for this post?

  77. Grimgrinningchris

    November 11th, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Huh?

    I just watched H20 for the first time in ages last night, came here this morning to re-read Vern’s review and the talkback.

    And from the rewatch and the re-read, that was just an aspect that jumped out to me.

  78. The redacted part confused me so I thought you turned into a bot.

  79. Grimgrinningchris

    November 11th, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Ha. Redacting Ressurection

  80. There is no way the ambulance driver thing was thought about until Akkad saw the receipts for Halloween H2O.

  81. Never really liked this one at all.

  82. Oh and I finally watched it again this year. Twice to make sure. Both times it aired back to back with THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS (which I hadn’t seen since it was in theaters) on IFC. I enjoyes 6 a little more than I remembered but this one seemed even worse. 85% of the movie is nothing but forced jump scares and 0 atmosphere. Say what you want about 6 but on top of much more kills and gruesomeness it had a shit ton of atmosphere.

    Whatever they come up with to release next year I just hope it’s much more imaginative and competent than this. It’s still a very low point for me with the series and if it wasn’t for 5 and RESURRECTION it’d easily be the lowest.

  83. Grimgrinningchris

    November 12th, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Sternshein-

    Not trying to give Akkad more credit than he deserves… just seeing it now, it seems so obvious in its forced ambiguity.

    Maybe it was Miner- hoping that he’d get hired again if they DID do another sequel.

  84. As I said in the review, Kevin Williamson came up with the “it seems like they killed Michael but later we’ll say it’s the paramedic” and it was filmed intentionally that way. This was a compromise he had to come up with because Curtis insisted they kill Michael and Akkad insisted they not kill Michael. I was shocked to learn this, but it’s discussed in the extras on H20.

  85. Well I hate this movie now. Thanks Kevin WIlliamson and Mustapha Akkad.

  86. I kind of dig the mean-spirited creativity of that choice. It’s kind of a cheat, but a fun cheat. A little more inspired than your standard approach where the guy just inexplicably wakes up or shows up or whatever at the start of the sequel. I like when the sequel has to work a bit for its “he’s alive!” re-introduction.

  87. I think the first film to have a funky acronym nickname might have been CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, which was sometimes referred to as CE3K.

    No idea if that abbreviation came from fans or critics or was used on the set, but unless I’m misremembering I think its usage predates T2.

  88. My lack of fondness/respect for H20 is probably clouding my judgement, but I’ve always thought the paramedic bit was a genuinely funny and absurd way to bring The Shape back in the best tradition of “a dog pees fire on Freddy’s bones” or whatever. In the context of ultra-derivative decade-straddling dead teenager franchises I think audaciousness and outrageousness are way more valuable than credibility or lucidity.

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