"I'll just get my gear."

Halloween (2018)

(Many SPOILERS in this review, I’m not gonna label all of them)

HALLOWEEN is the new HALLOWEEN in the HALLOWEEN series – the original HALLOWEEN series, not the remake, HALLOWEEN. HALLOWEEN takes place 40 years after HALLOWEEN and acts as if it is the only sequel ever made to HALLOWEEN. So really it could be called HALLOWEEN II, but maybe that would be confusing since there are already two movies called HALLOWEEN II: HALLOWEEN II and HALLOWEEN II.

Other than being produced by Blumhouse, this one’s not coming from any of the usual horror suspects. It’s the first horror movie, sequel or licensed property movie from director/co-writer David Gordon Green, who is best known in my opinion for writing the introduction to my book Seagalogy, but also directed GEORGE WASHINGTON, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, JOE, STRONGER, etc. He wrote it with Jeff Fradley (Vice Principals) and Danny McBride, who he turned into an actor by having him play “Bust-Ass” in ALL THE REAL GIRLS fifteen years ago and continued with PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, YOUR HIGHNESS and Eastbound & Down. McBride is usually a comedy guy, but remember he also got killed by a faced xenomorphs in ALIEN: COVENANT. So he’s legit.

Since this is a return to the original series, with no dumbass Weinstein involvement, with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode, and most surprisingly with John Carpenter executive producing and scoring for the first time since HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH in 1982, there are some high hopes. If you’re not a fan of slasher sequels and want something that transcends them, you might be disappointed. For me, though, it’s a satisfying treat that revisits the series template and most important character with many scenes of great tension and without committing common franchise horror sins like obnoxious characters, overly polished look or intrusive rock ‘n roll soundtrack.

Also, it’s a fucking John Carpenter score. With his bandmates Cody Carpenter (his son) and Daniel Davies (Ray Davies’ son) he throws in a little guitar and modern sounds but mostly builds onto the keyboard textures of his ’78 style, helping the world of Laurie Strode to feel unexpectedly reconstituted like the pumpkin on the opening credits.

I’ve always been a fan of the HALLOWEEN 20th anniversary sequel H20 and when I wrote about it a few years ago I noted that its own 20th anniversary was coming up, so they’d have to do HALLOWEEN H40: HALLOWEEN H20 20 YEARS LATER 20 YEARS LATER. Though they ended up erasing it along with all of the sequel continuity they did sort of a remake of the same premise: Laurie was horribly traumatized by what happened, she’s had a drinking problem and divorces and tensions with her kid and needs to face Michael in order to kill him and be able to get her life back. The biggest difference is that instead of running until she realizes she can run no more, she’s already lying in wait.

This time she has a grown daughter instead of a teenage son, she’s way more paranoid, in fact with a Sarah Connor level of survivalist preparation and teaching her kid to fight and shoot guns and freaking everybody out. Her daughter Karen (Judy Greer, CURSED) tries to avoid talking to her, which bothers Karen’s daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) even though she’s distanced enough from Laurie to always call her “Grandmother.”

Two British true crime podcasters (Jefferson Hall [GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS] and Rhian Rees) either set things off or just put themselves in the path when they attempt to interview both Michael (James Jude Courtney [“Mafia Goon,” SOCCER DOG: THE MOVIE], plus original-Shape Nick Castle in one scene somewhere) and Laurie for a retrospective of the murders. Their narrative purpose is to reunite Michael with his mask, but their thematic purpose is to be the smug perspective of a younger generation looking back and thinking they know better – specifically, trying to tell Laurie that there’s no such thing as a “boogeyman.” In the real world they would be right, that Michael is a human, and something caused him to be the way he is. In HALLOWEEN though he’s not a man, he’s “pure evil,” he’s The Shape. (Laurie even calls him that at one point.) And denying that dooms them.

I remember in the late ’80s noticing that Fangoria would often refer to Michael Myers as “The Shape” and I guess I’d never really examined the credits on HALLOWEEN and there was no internet so I always wondered what the hell that was all about. But now I know and I’m glad that this new one has SHAPED up to be so good. You know. Huh guys?

To the true crime enthusiasts Michael is just an old guy in prison, they even see the back and partial profile of his head, though they fail to get him to talk. Of course he later gets out, and for old times sake puts on the mask he stole from that hardware store in 1978 (still no word on what happened to the rope) and goes wandering around killing people. For a second I was wondering why this, H20 and the Rob Zombie one all have murders in gas station bathrooms, but then I realized it’s from proximity to coveralls and work boots.

There’s one scene in particular that homages that great opening of HALLOWEEN II that voyeuristically follows Michael walking unnoticed at night and into a woman’s kitchen. A subsequent scene that stays outside and watches him through someone’s window is even more gutwrenching.

My friend asked me before the movie “Are there teens?” Of course there are teens. It follows Allyson’s holiday plans to go to a Halloween dance with her boyfriend Cameron (Dylan Arnold, FAT KID RULES THE WORLD playing the son of that kid Lonnie who Loomis scared away from the Myers house) and dumbass friend Oscar (Drew Scheid, BOY ERASED), and later meet up with her best friend Vicky (Virginia Gardner, PROJECT ALMANAC), who is babysitting, and her boyfriend Dave (Miles Robbins, Dee Dee Ramone on The Get Down).

I saw a somewhat disappointed review that argued the movie was a letdown for having more young characters instead of focusing entirely on Laurie. That it had let her and her generation down. Which sounds cool but I wonder how that would work, are we talking about a HALLOWEEN movie where Michael Myers doesn’t kill anyone? Or where he only kills old people who are friends with Laurie?

Well, I’m okay with the traditions of teen horror and I’ve just rolled through all the HALLOWEEN sequels in my head and yeah, I think I enjoy the company of these characters the best of any of ’em. I particularly like Vicky, and that Julian (Jibrail Nantambu), the kid she babysits, is hilarious, and has a sweet friendship with her. It’s genuinely the first time in any HALLOWEEN movie where I was worried they might kill a kid.

Even Oscar, who dishonors himself by drunkenly hitting on Allyson at the worst time, is funny enough to be sympathetic and to make me feel sorry for him. Another great character is Allyson’s goofball dad Ray (Toby Huss, THE COUNTRY BEARS), who gives her shit in an annoying but funny dad way, and is calm but reasonable about trying to protect his family from Laurie’s seeming craziness. Those two each have one of the lines I thought seemed like McBride lines. One about guacamole, one about peanut butter.

There’s some nostalgic Carpenter mimicry, but this is still very much a David Gordon Green movie. It has lots of minor characters who are interesting and say odd things and have a very natural, quirky charisma to them. It has funny, random conversations and goofy uses of language. And it has more black people in it than any other HALLOWEEN.

Laurie drives around looking for Michael, which is obviously putting her in the Loomis role, but man, it feels to me more like Paul Kersey. Police officer Frank Hawkins (Will Patton, THE POSTMAN) is looking too, and doesn’t have to be convinced, because he was there that night and knows enough to refer to Michael as “that thing.” He brings with him Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer, BEN-HUR), a student of Dr. Loomis who took over as Michael’s psychiatrist at Smith’s Grove and wants to save him.

After the movie someone pointed out that Cameron, who breaks Allyson’s heart, doesn’t get killed. Now that I think about it I really like that. Having recently watched all ten of the other HALLOWEENs (for a freelance piece you’ll be able to see soon if interested) I feel that most of their worst moments are when Michael kills characters who “deserve it” in movie terms, like CURSE’s abusive husband and obnoxious shock jock. We should never be tempted to root for Pure Evil.

Laurie gets to be a knife-carrying, fast-gun-loading, target-shooting Final Woman That Motherfucker Is Gonna Have To Deal With, but she’s not, like, doing roundhouses or anything. She’s still an old lady and very fallible. She’s just very trained and intense and I love her strategy for searching the house section by section.

There’s a moment near the climax of the movie that’s a reversal of a famous moment in the original film. I don’t know how it will go over when you see it, but my audience cheered. It gave me goosebumps as soon as I realized what was about to happen. I guess taking an iconic horror movie scene and turning it badass is the ultimate way to pander to me. But I’ll take it.

I was surprised when I first heard they were even ignoring HALLOWEEN II for this one. I guess it’s easier to say that Michael was captured after the end of the first movie than to explain how he survived an explosion. But it’s bold to disregard the twist that Laurie was Michael’s sister, and that was why he was coming after her. This explanation was maintained in all of the sequels and even the remake of I and became synonymous with HALLOWEEN, like hockey masks with FRIDAY THE 13TH.

They make a joke about it here. When a friend asks Allyson if her grandma was Michael’s sister she says “that was something people made up to feel better about it.” I guess the implication is that having even less motive makes it scarier. And it does make the events less explainable, because now I wonder why Michael would care about coming after Laurie. (As some have pointed out, he might not. He gets dropped off by her house.)

There’s kind of like a Star Trek violated-the-prime-directive thing here where it’s impossible to make a slasher movie without already knowing what Carol J. Clover pointed out about them, or at least Randy from SCREAM‘s remix of it. This one introduces some grey area in the “don’t have sex” theory: Vicky specifically dry humps her boyfriend before getting attacked. No penetration. How do you qualify that, Randy?

In 1978 there was Laurie, the shy girl, the responsible girl. She had a crush but she didn’t know how to get dates like her friends did. She ran errands for her dad’s real estate business, babysat for money, babysat for Annie so Annie could have fun with her boyfriend. She made the honor roll. A good kid. Then the fuckin boogeyman killed four of her friends, or at least two of her friends and their dumb boyfriends, and tried to kill her, and she pulled its fucking mask off and looked it in the eye and got no answers. And now we see what that did to her.

If sex = death then too bad no sex doesn’t = life. All that work being a good girl so the boogeyman won’t get you just leads to 40 years of fear, obsession and torment. Her daughter seems to take after her younger self and so does her granddaughter (though Allyson can get men – she rejects two shitty ones in one night). But Karen is traumatized by the way Laurie raised her before losing custody.

So that’s the beauty of the ending. ENDING SPOILERS. Laurie succeeds in her four-decade goal. Karen sees her mother and her own childhood in a new light. Allyson sees her mother and her grandmother in a new light. They burn up not only The Shape, not only the dollhouse representing the memory of where his reign of terror began, but also Laurie’s prison, Karen’s childhood, the guns, the targets, the family’s burden. And they ride away in the back of a pickup truck, perhaps an allusion to Sally’s escape in THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, except they’re not hysterical. I know there’s an ambiguity to the shot that can imply more troubles, and I know the end of the credits have the sound of The Shape breathing, but I like to take this as a happy, victorious ending, like we had with H20 before it was taken away in RESURRECTION. Here are three generations of women, of survivors, holding hands, maybe for the first time. And maybe with them all having accomplished this together and possibly having more of a relationship now so they can support each other, there’s some hope that Allyson won’t have to live in constant darkness the way her mother and grandmother did. That she hasn’t just had her life spared, but might actually get to enjoy it. Sequels willing.

HALLOWEEN (the sequel to HALLOWEEN) will return in HALLOWEEN (the sequel to HALLOWEEN [the sequel to HALLOWEEN]).

This entry was posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2018 at 12:32 pm 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.

219 Responses to “Halloween (2018)”

  1. Thanks for the review, Vern. I was curious about this movie but unmotivated by the decades of HALLOWEEN sequels – some of them with numbers/subtitles, and some of them not. I had heard for this one they were throwing out all the sequels’ continuity after the original, which is a bold move but at this point, unless you’re going to do a Blair Witch 2-style commentary on the phenomenon, you almost have to. It would have been fun to see Cool J in H40; we’ll always regret missing out on that cinematic reunion. At least it sounds like they didn’t retroactively reverse engineer anything that occurred in the original. I look forward very much to your feelance review of the sequels!

    Also, in the interest of striving always for excellence, I’m no McBrideologist but I do remember he survived the end of Alien: Covenant until at least the credits; Waterston put him into his pod before getting into her own. I supposed after the last scene David could have opened up McBride’s pod and killed him, turned him into an alien experiment or taught him to play John Denver on the flute. I guess we’ll never know until the sequel. Anyway, he still helped kill a xenomorph so still totally legit in my book.

  2. I think this is a positive sign for the impending wave of reboots. Feels like – between this and IT – we’re seeing the fruits of the big new general audience blumhouse (and the conjuring people) have managed to create. When you tap into that crowd and add some nostalgia you make mega-bucks. Mainstream horror has had a rough decade and a half, but it is rebounding in a big way. I don’t think we’ve seen the likes of this stuff since the 80s.

    Creatively this felt like a rebuke to the 00s reboots – which as a rule tended to see the killer as the main draw and that was that. Some of them ended up more like glorified Youtube kill compilations (Friday the 13th for example streamlining three whole movies into just their kills). Series after series got ran into the ground, and the studios plugged on regardless – like the logic seemed to be that if they made it gorier, grimier (as in, literally coating things in grime but also in doing shit like making Freddy – someone plastered on lunchboxes – a pedo) and had bigger kills than the originals that people would be happy. They stopped telling stories, I think.

    This one is smart enough to foreground the victim, and makes it Laurie’s story again. I think this isn’t quite getting its dues on the whole (though it has been received positively) – in terms of what it adds to the horror conversation. This is probably an absurd thing to say in relation to a Halloween movie, but this really does feel topical in the wake of Blasey Ford and the MeToo stuff – the way she tries to raise the alarm, is ignored, and has to take matter into her own hands.

    Anyway the Halloween series has ballsed up two better-than-expected movies twice by rushing a sequel, hopefully they have something better in mind for Halloween 2020-ish.

  3. I discussed this thing to death with other members of this here board so I will say:

    -Like with the Platinum Dunes reboot/make of FRIDAY THE 13th, I’m not positive on it now but I probably will be in the future
    -Thus at the moment this is not a great movie considering the pedigree of the talent behind it and what we were being told (yeah, yeah hype machine n all that)
    -For a movie that constantly wags it dick around real proud that it’s a TRUE sequel made by TRUE fans and the real HALLOWEEN II is garbage, it sure does go and make a lot of the same decisions that one… In fact they straight up steal an awful from that one
    -I disagree about the ending being good. It gives zero closure in favor of sequel-baiting unlike H20 which has a perfect ending.
    -Speaking of H20, I noticed a lot of people who hate that one and calls it Not-SCREAM or whatever, love this one and conveniently ignores this one actually DOES have cringy fourth-wall-breaking dialogue
    -The humor (while some funny) was out of place
    -So with this being the TRUE sequel, why did they use sequel Michael Myers? You know crazy kill everybody he meets in extremely brutal ways. The exact opposite of the Michael in the original.

    SPOILER-SECTION
    I enjoyed the later part more because like with PART CURSE, the movie gets so damned stupid (after the ludicrous mad doctor twist) that I gave up on it being any good and just went along with it and didn’t ask stupid shit like:
    -Why does Lauri have an entire forest and house full of creepy mannequins?
    -So she was readying for forty-years and chose a house with that type of layout?
    -Uh… what was the actual plan with the safe/trap room?

    My final hot-take: If they didn’t get Jamie Lee Curtis back there is no way people would be being as nice as they are to this thing. Also this doesn’t even crack the top-five of HALLOWEEN sequels much less being the ONLY good one.

  4. As far this leading to a wave of ‘good’ reboots (like having a wave of reboots is a good thing) I will only satisfied if FRIDAY THE 13th FORTY YEARS LATER is made by a pretentious fan who only liked the original and thus when the hockey mask comes off it’s revealed that it was Mrs. Voorhies with her head stitched back on all long.*

    *This amazing idea was inspired by a discussion with Sternshein so I cannot take full credit.

  5. I liked this one a lot. Not super scary or anything, but a very worthy sequel. There’s a lot of good humor in it but I’m glad it didn’t go too overboard with the comedy, most of it is fairly subtle. I agree with you that this movie does a good job of not killing off too many characters who “deserve it” (also really like that they just forget about the boyfriend after the dance, no need to redeem him or anything), but it also does a great job of offering two characters who REALLY deserve it in those obnoxious true crime podcasters. When they pulled into that gas station I practically shouted “Finally!” Also laughed out loud when the woman tries to get away by crawling to the next stall and Michael just opens the door.

    Also, best opening credits of the year.

  6. One thing I’ve noticed about these HALLOWEEN films is that they drastically overestimate the lifespan of your average latex mask. The reason they always look wrong in the sequels is that the original had already deteriorated by the time they made Part IV so they had to make a new one. So the mask from Michael’s original 1978 rampage would have been a pile of crumbs and hair long before most of the cast of this film was even born.

    Anyway, I thought this was decent bordering on pretty good, but re-exploring some of the films it has attempted to erase from the ledger over the past few days has made its stock drop in my estimation. It’s executed pretty well but it’s just not very interesting or imaginative. There’s almost nothing in it that hadn’t been explored somewhere (and often better) in one or another of those sequels that this filmmaking team is apparently too cool for.

    I get why erasing the sister thing from the continuity is attractive. The concept was clumsily shoehorned into the second film and was only ever really significant to the fun-but-offbrand Jamie lloyd Trilogy, where Michael is pointedly coming after family members as a sacrifice to Samhain or some shit. Even H20 would have worked just fine if Michael was only coming after Laurie to settle an old score. The blood relation doesn’t really add much to the conversation.

    Which is why I think there was little point in so smugly and pointedly eliminating it from the continuity, since Laurie and Michael have THE EXACT SAME RELATIONSHIP in this film as they do in all the others. They’re two sides of the same coin, the yin to each other’s yang, the perfect villain creating the ultimate hero. It’s still indicating that Michael has MOTIVATION. He is not just a random force of evil. If he were, why would he sit there for 40 years and obsess about the one who got away? That’s not an unknowable enigma. That’s actually very easily understandable. They’ve still done the thing they deride the other sequels for doing: explaining the unexplainable and thus rendering it less scary. Taking away the blood relation factor does not take away the central conflict inherent in their shared story, either symbolically or logistically. It displays a very simplistic, reactionary take on what the choice to make them blood relatives was supposed to accomplish in terms of story, character, and theme and makes me think these guys aren’t as smart as they think they are.

    I would also say that eliminating the real HALLOWEEN II from the continuity does make Michael seem like small potatoes. They hang a lantern on it but that doesn’t change anything. A Michael Myers who has only killed five people in 55 years is not a Michael Myers I give a shit about it. I also don’t want to think about a Laurie Strode who spent the rest of that fateful Halloween night comfortable doped up in a hospital bed, nor do I want to think about the implied scene in which Michael, after surviving six bullet wounds to the chest and disappearing into a montage of establishing shots indicating that he has transcended the physical and is now an amorphous evil that can be everywhere all at once, just fucking surrendered when one dumb deputy apprehended him. That’s so lame I can’t even deal with it.

    So Michael is less than he used to be and the movie is less than it thinks it is. But hey, it has the PACKAGING of the original, so I guess that makes it inherently better than the other films in the series, which might not be as well crafted but at least TRIED to put their own stamp on the material. It pains me that we’re in an era where filmmakers are rewarded for taking fewer risks, for being less distinctive, for openly aping other filmmakers. It’s the Age of Doing It “Right” and I’m already sick of it. This is a perfectly serviceable piece of fanwanking that has some very good scenes, but it’s as mercenary and cynical an endeavor as any of the other sequels—more so in many ways.

    It’s got a lot going for it but also it has some weird failings that everybody seems to be giving a pass. The doctor character is an embarrassment. A walking combination exposition dispenser/plot contrivance. He’s the Snoke of the HALLOWEEN franchise. Meanwhile, you have two British journalists flying all the way to Illinois to interview a mute (for their audio podcast, mind you) who 40 years ago stabbed a couple people and has been a model patient ever since. What a shitty podcast, by the way. It’s just two sanctimonious fucks narrating to themselves with like two minutes of an old lady telling them they’re idiots. And what’s more, they add nothing to the story that the ridiculous doctor character couldn’t have accomplished. It takes three fucking expository characters to add up to half a Loomis. It’s just bad writing. The kind you might find in a lesser HALLOWEEN sequel.

    Also I’m pretty sure I’d have a better defense strategy if I had 40 years to think about it. For one, I probably wouldn’t have a house full of louvered closet doors and long flowing drapes for someone to hide behind if I lived my whole life thinking about someone breaking into my house to kill me. I CERTAINLY would have installed a secret secondary egress from that basement death trap if I intended to use myself or my daughter as bait in it. “I’ll knock him down the stairs and then you climb over him awkwardly while he’s momentarily stunned” could not have been the plan all along, could it? Maybe everybody’s right and Laurie really IS crazy, because that is the worst plan I’ve ever heard.

    I also would have worked it out so I could watch him burn all the way to ashes. The way they did it, it couldn’t have been more of a sequel setup if Michael’s hand popped out of the rubble at the end giving the thumbs up. At least H20, the film most affected by the retconning, did its level best to offer a definitive ending. It has some clunky bits that haven’t aged well but overall it’s a better film than this.

    I might sound like I’m down on it, but hey, they asked for this. If it was sold as just another HALLOWEEN sequel, I’d probably be happy. These cocky fucks are the ones who talked all the shit about making the only worthwhile sequel. Well, I beg to differ. Then again, Danny McBride has made a career out of playing loudmouths who brag a lot but can’t deliver so I shouldn’t have been surprised that his horror cred turned out to be just a lot of hot air.

  7. “Danny McBride has made a career out of playing loudmouths who brag a lot but can’t deliver so I shouldn’t have been surprised that his horror cred turned out to be just a lot of hot air.”

    **slow clap**

  8. I can’t wait to get home and then rant because the last 1/4 of this movie is junk.

  9. I love the original, which, along with the 1963 version of “The Haunting” is one of the most effectively creepy movies of all time in my book. The transcendent ending of the original, as Majestyk pointed out, is perfect, but I’m not necessarily opposed to a sequel. I was optimistic but this was definitely a disappointment considering the filmmakers involved, who should know better. The script was really unfocused, feeling very much like a rough draft – too many characters and ideas that went nowhere at the expense of developing atmosphere and suspense. It ends up being a slog, in stark contrast to the lean and effective original. There’s almost something interesting with framing Laurie in similar shots as Michael in the original, but it’s pretty half-assed amid the clutter. I thought Jamie Lee Curtis did a very good job portraying the awkward and ugly effects of trauma though. With more work and thought it could have been an effective exploration of generational trauma, which would have actually made it more intense – the relationship between her and her daughter and granddaughter, had it received more attention, would have made a solid foundation for a scary and cathartic horror movie. What Michael represents is something scarier than a brute-strength killer – it’s the insidious infiltration and undermining of safe spaces, the unfathomable danger around the corner depicted by having him subtly intrude on the edge of the frame, in the background until it’s too late. The kills themselves feel more like the Rob Zombie movies, and similarly lack suspense or creepiness (I did like the teeth in the bathroom stall bit though). For the most part, they’re inferior to those in the entertaining but trashy cash-in Halloween II (1980 edition). I wish they had gone for something more in line with what Carpenter envisioned for a potential Halloween IV, wherein Michael would be gone, but his presence is felt as a reverberation in the town psyche, more of a haunting. At the very least, they could have just removed a bunch of the fat and focused on creating a few creative, effective setpieces and developing atmosphere. As it is, it’s some nice shots that don’t add up to much, the homages to the original are distracting and distancing, and lacking a solid focus it feels weirdly old-fashioned in a hokey way. They really should’ve thought this one through a little more.

  10. If ya’ll want to unnecessarily nitpick things. Why don’t you nitpick how Karen/Judy Greer doesn’t shoot Michael in the head? (She was pretty awful in this movie btw.) Or how Laurie in her 2nd nice reverse Michael Myers moment on Michael surprise stabs him…in the shoulder?

    I don’t think this one was great (though it’s likely at least the 3rd best movie in the whole franchise, if not #2), But it reminded me a lot of some of the recent reboot/remakes we’ve been getting in recent years–e.g. CREED, THE FORCE AWAKENS, etc.–where there are lots of explicit references and remixes of moments of the more beloved movies in a franchise. For the most part, I thought they were handled well. BTW, Vern, did you forget that Michael *SPOILER* killed that little boy in the truck earlier in the movie? *SPOILER*

    That bathroom scene was prettay legit. I probably won’t even be mad when some dickhead Republican running for office repurposes it to argue for restricting bathrooms.

  11. I was about to post but Mr. M said it all.

  12. This definitely is not intended as a rebuke of the sequels. If it was it wouldn’t have so many homages to them. I think they just realized that going back to basics was a good way to tell a story. And I’m not sure John Carpenter would’ve been on board if that wasn’t their approach.

    And Laurie had mannequins for a) target practice and b) our benefit as cool horror movie scenery, both things amply illustrated throughout the movie.

  13. Doesn’t this movie keep it ambiguous what Michael’s motivation is? Lots of people talk about his motivation, but I don’t know if any one is intended to be authoritative. The new Loomis is clearly off his rocker. The podcasters are borderline jokes. Laurie while the heroine, obviously has a complex and obsession. And Michael himself still makes somewhat oddball choices–e.g. chilling in the kid’s closet, not killing the crying infant, putting a dead girl under a ghost sheet (another remix of the original).

    I guess nothing should surprise me anymore, but considering how much the earlier sequels had altered the mythology of Michael Myers or things like how HALLOWEEN 5 borderline disregards the ending to HALLOWEEN 4, I don’t see how anybody could only single out this movie without going scorched earth on almost the entire franchise along with a number of the classic slasher franchises

  14. I liked this one and actually found the characters and dialogue and overall tone dealing with PTSD and inherited trauma so fascinating, that when Michael Myers would show up it felt kinda cut in from a different movie. It just felt odd I guess having grown up watching him in so many sequels, to have this be directly linked to only the first was jarring and little difficult to stop thinking about and just let wash over me.

    Still, it was a great theater experience (aside from the jackass right next to me checking her damn phone every five minutes like clockwork) and my crowd too also applauded at the moment you’re talking about Vern. I think I may have actually high-fived said dipshit’s iphone screen when that happened.

    I also reeeeeally >a href=”

    “>loved this new addition to the soundtrack. The fact that Carpenter managed to whip up a new Halloween theme that instantly feels so iconic and genuinely creepy is a treat all by itself.

    I thought this movie was pretty good and probably the best sequel but no, not a gameslasher like some people are talking about it.

    8/10

  15. I liked this one and found the characters and dialogue and overall tone dealing with PTSD and inherited trauma so fascinating, that when Michael Myers would show up it felt kinda cut in from a different movie. It was just odd I guess having grown up watching him in so many sequels, to have this be directly linked to only the first was jarring and little difficult to stop thinking about and just let wash over me.

    Still, it was a great theater experience (aside from the jackass right next to me checking her damn phone every five minutes like clockwork) and my crowd too also applauded at the moment you’re talking about Vern. I think I may have actually high-fived said dipshit’s iphone screen when that happened.

    I also reeeeeally loved this new addition to the soundtrack:

    The fact that Carpenter managed to whip up a new Halloween theme that instantly feels so iconic and genuinely creepy is a treat all by itself.

    I thought this movie was pretty good and probably the best sequel but no, not a gameslasher like some people are talking about it.

    8/10

  16. I’m out of the country for the next couple of weeks, so I won’t get a chance to see it til November, but Halloween is my favorite of all the horror franchises, so I’m looking forward to this one.

    One thing that I think is interesting is the idea of Michael as an old man in this one. The big horror icons all tend to either wear masks (your Jasons, your Leatherfaces, your whatever the guy’s name from the My Bloody Valentine movies is) or are mutilated or deformed in some way (your Freddys, your The Hills Have Eyes-ers), which kind of detaches them from typical concepts of morality, so the concept of this killer getting older and older – I mean, shit, he’s like 8 years older than Laurie in this one – but still feeling that drive to get out there and chop up some teens, well, I guess we can all take a lesson from that. It’s never too late to chase your dreams. Uplifting really, when you think about it.

  17. Glad most people enjoyed it but I absolutely hated this movie. The subplots with the British podcasters and “new Loomis” are aggressively stupid, Laurie’s obsession with Michael makes no sense now that she’s not his sister and the plot is a boring retread of the first movie — no imagination, no cleverness. It’s most egregious sin though it’s thats completely not scary. It has some brutal images and scenes and tries to be unsettling by taking a matter-of-fact depiction of Michael’s brutal killings. But there are almost no moments of suspense. And aside from Curtis, doing her best with an underwritten part, there are no characters worth caring about. Cell phone in the pudding was a nice touch, though. Overall, this was a huge disappointment.

  18. “McBride is usually a comedy guy, but remember he also got killed by a xenomorph in ALIEN: COVENANT. So he’s legit.”

    Er … no he wasn’t.

  19. Oh hell, somehow I missed in my search that someone already brought that up.

    Here’s an article on it.

    Danny McBride talks about his surprising fate in 'Alien: Covenant'

    Danny McBride was as surprised as everyone else to learn what happens to his character in "Alien: Covenant."

    … and apropos of nothing, I did get a free pair of brand new Nike shoes (complete with box and packing, so absolutely brand new) because of one of the people working on Alien: Covenant who lived in my building and was getting rid of everything before moving to Los Angeles for work. Good luck Jimmy, wherever you are now.

  20. I seriously don’t even know if I want to see this. Mostly because (and for some reason, no reviews are even mentioning this) with it’s release, Green undoubtedly wins the fucking craziest career of any film-maker living or dead.

    Even studio system guys like Michael Curtiz who had to make whatever the bosses handed him can’t approach the sheer randomness of his mostly auteurist resumé.

    So, would I like to see his sequel to 1978’s Halloween that’s also called Halloween even though it isn’t a remake of Halloween? I don’t have a fucking clue. I have absolutely no point of reference, and the whole thing makes such little fucking sense to begin with.

    And why do I seem to be the only person who’s saying this?

  21. I had no problem with the podcasters. First off, there is a podcast for everything. It shouldn’t surprise anybody that a podcast would want to do a story on this. The one guy who got fucked over by this remake, btw, is Loomis. I would argue that Loomis is just every bit as important to the first movie as Laurie is and he’s dismissed. He’s never really talked about and even Laurie seems to not give a shit about Loomis by dismissing the other doctor by calling him the “new Loomis”

    The other thing that bothers me is how much time and effort is spent with characters obsessing with Michael talking. Who gives a shit? Gone is the talk of him being the boogeyman and pure evil and all that. By ignoring it they are essentially saying he’s just a man. It’s bullshit.

    Also, I think we found the one more Mr. M and I see eye to eye on because his likes and dislikes are the exact same as mine.

  22. I think that’s part of the theme, though. The podcasters and the doctors both want him to talk because they think there is some explanation that he can give. But a theme of the entire series (even RESURRECTION, though I guess disregarded in 6’s Thorn Cult plot) is that there is no explanation for The Shape. They’re wrong, and they pay for it.

  23. Did we watch the same movie? The boogeyman and pure evil things aren’t ignored at all. The kid refers to Michael as the boogeyman. He even hides in the bedroom closet! The deputy is definitely on the Michael is pure evil kick, and new Loomis flirts with some of those ideas too. The doctor even posits a theory that Michael can’t die because he’s too hellbent/rage fueled to get Laurie. (I personally like how some things were kept ambiguous. Such as, did Michael just freak out and cause the bus crash and escape? Or was the doctor involved there? Is the doctor lying about Michael being dead because he wants to assuage the sheriff? Or is he telling the truth and upset but wanting to keep the body preserved?)

  24. Yeah we saw the same movie. Thanks for reminding me of the half assed ways they bring it up. :)

  25. BTW, I’m guilty of this all the time and I’m trying to stop it but can we not be dicks when we disagree with something. A simple “I disagree here is X, Y, Z” should just be enough.

  26. I would bear no hard feelings to anyone who likes this movie, even though I don’t for reasons stated above. Perhaps it was because I had just watched “The Haunting of Hill House” on Netflix, which is a deeply felt, moving story that is also terrifying, and raised the stakes in my mind so high for what I want from a horror story, that I was disappointed with this. It feels like just another cheap slasher. Seriously, no matter whether you liked this or not, go watch the new Haunting—it is just a devestating and beautiful piece of modern horror.

  27. @Larry Sternshein: I apologize if I came off like a dick with how I framed my earlier reply. Half-assed is fair. And even though this movie isn’t in the league of the original (though nothing in the series is imo), those things you mentioned weren’t exactly heavily played up in the original either. But, on the other hand, when this movie choose to hit us in the head multiple times with the “it’s a trap! The Strode’s have been preparing for this and are ready to take out Michael!” theme, your point strikes me as valid, if mitigated.

    If I can sloppily transition to another point. After finishing this movie, I couldn’t help but think of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, perhaps because I watched both with my girlfriend and how both heavily reference images and themes from the original in the franchise IP, and this movie–while not perfect–struck me as one that at least re-utilized and repurposed the images and moments of the original to much, much superior impact. I’d think/hope there’s some consensus around that, although I’d agree that subject-matter wise strikes me as much more debatable, given this thread.

  28. I have only seen the original movie, and I love the idea of late sequels. Which one would you recommend me, this new Halloween or H2O? And do I need to watch H2 before H2O?
    If you need more information, I like horror, but in truth the slasher genre hasn’t done anything for me since the late 90s. Maybe that helps?
    Thanks!

  29. I downloaded and watched a little of H20 and the guy they got to play Michael and that mask was pretty lame.

  30. Merso, no need to watch H2 to be able to watch H20. I’m sure you know anyway that in that timeline Michael and Laurie are siblings. If not: Sorry for the spoiler.

  31. I realize that my epic takedown of this movie is probably not strictly necessary. I’m just feeling feisty because, like every horror movie the Internet loves, it does not even remotely live up to its hype. But taken outside of that context, which I admit is ludicrous and I should just ignore, I stand by my initial statement: decent bordering on pretty good. That’s about the best any reasonable human could expect from a Halloween film in 2018. I didn’t hate it, which is some kind of fucking miracle. I’m sure when it’s just another sequel on the pile, I’ll think of it as one of the three or four best ones. But for now, it talked shit and didn’t deliver, so it’s gotta take its licks.

  32. Who played Michael Myers is the best in all of the sequels?

  33. It seems like some of the reactions here are more or less similar but the tenor of those opinions is largely dictated by one’s attention to the whole franchise and the hype surrounding the movie. I guess I liked it because 1) I didn’t care about any of the discontinuity with the rest of the series, 2) I didn’t pay too much attention to what people were saying about it, and probably most important 3) I was sort of bracing myself for the worst (I had been through this before with Rob Zombie’s entries to the franchise, which I hated).

    Merso – no need to see Halloween 2 to watch H20, but I still recommend it. It’s way dumber than the first one but a lot of fun. Between H20 and the new one, I would have to go with the new one, though they’re pretty close in quality.

  34. I hate, hate, hate, hated this movie with a passion.

    If you are going to hit the circuit and say all these Halloween sequels were garbage and we are going to go back and figure out what made the original a classic, how the fuck do you come up with a movie that isn’t the least bit scary? This movie is far more similar to Halloweens 4 through 11 (or whatever the fuck they went up to) than the original. Having a ridiculously high kill count and giving the audience winks to the original doesn’t make for a scary movie. The crowd I was with laughed and groaned almost the entire way through, especially when they figured out how to get all the main characters back to Laurie’s house. One guy in the theater next to me at the end said “Halloween 11:Extra Crispy” after the fire. That made me laugh.

    If I had gone into this movie expecting a fun romp with Jamie Lee Curtis and the shape, maybe I would have liked it. But all I heard for months was how much everyone wanting to make a horror film just like the original. Swing and miss.

    I could go on about how much this movie got wrong for days, and I will collect my thoughts and try again. My one enormous complaint, though, is the FUCKING TRAILER. The only two scenes that I thought kind of worked were the scene in the garage bathroom with the teeth and the scene with Michael in the closet and the babysitter. Any impact either of these scenes would have had were completely ruined by the trailer. STOP RUINING MOVIES WITH THE FUCKING TRAILERS YOU ASSHOLES! STOP IT!

  35. And hate on Rob Zombies Halloweens all you want, but give the man credit. They are brutal, humorless movies. The purpose of those two movies was to make you uncomfortable, make you squirm, and scare you. They aren’t great, but they do accomplish that. The original Halloween is not a movie that sets out to make you cheer or chuckle, or even make you smile.

  36. I haven’t seen the new one yet, so I’ve got nothing to add to that part of the discussion.

    I do agree with the choice to toss each and every one of the sequels, though. I get that Resurrection is (properly) hated here, but I’m astonished by how much love (okay, more of a begrudging “like”, but still) is being given to parts 4, 5, and 6, which are just horrible and hideous and odious and undoubtedly other “ouses” that I just can’t think of right now. I’ve been rewatching them on AMC this season, thinking maybe I’ve done them wrong. Nope. Even II is pretty weak sauce, but at least it has its moments. 4, 5 and 6 look like something my high school buddy and I might have written back in the ‘80s. And then had our creative writing teacher direct for us. (Actually, that likely would have been better.)

    On the other hand, it’s a rare series where I think any of the sequels offer much value.

    In short, and apparently quite foolishly, I’m still hopeful for this one! Don’t bring me down, people!

  37. Well, I guess it’s hard to define what “scary” is since watching movies never made me, like, run out of the room or whatever. But to me the “interview” with Michael, the kid going through the fog with the gun looking for his dad, the off screen hammering of that woman, the shot through the window as the other woman is on the phone, Vicky’s too-real fake out when we know Michael is actually in the closet – these are all scenes I found incredibly tense and nothing pops to mind from any of the sequels as being clearly “scarier.” I’m sure it helps that I just saw this for the first time on a big screen with a good audience and the others I’ve seen many times each and mostly on video. But I think these are all very effective scenes and partly because, to me, these are characters who I like and believe in more than the vast majority of the ones in the other sequels. Just the brief bit with the kid not wanting to miss his dance class makes him more endearing to me than most of the hospital staff in II (a movie I really like).

    That’s why I disagree with criticisms about the humor. It’s not like they’re making a bunch of gags, it’s just some of the characters are themselves funny. It’s characterization and it makes you empathize with the characters more, just like P.J. Soles saying “totally” so many times or Laurie and Annie rushing to hide the joint from Annie’s dad. It makes me more worried for them, makes me wince more if something bad happens to them, it’s not turning the whole thing into a romp.

  38. I don’t think I really want to bother getting too deep into this argument but I’ll say I really, really enjoyed the film.
    There was more a sense of everyone else trying to get Michael and Laurie together, not Michael actively going after her. And yes, I punched the air and cheered at that certain moment as well.

    I dunno. I marathoned the series (got the boxset) for like, the fourth time leading up to the film and this time I did it in reverse order. It was kind of cool working backwards through the series and it actually led to a few new observations and reevaluations.
    But ending it all with the original and going into this new one blind (I don’t normally care about spoilers and what not, but I straight up avoided all info about it other than trailers so I guess I didn’t care one bit about what the filmmakers said or whatever and I still don’t and what would the alternative statement to make, “Ours is pretty good but not, like, as good as Halloween 5”?) was probably the best way to see it.

    So, I just put this together last night while talking to my roommate about it: The weird little hidden penknife Sartain used to stab the deputy? He had that because he could smuggle it onto the transport bus. I don’t know if he ever got the chance to use the knife on there but it at least explains why he had something like that. Maybe other people already deduced this. *shrug*

  39. If we’re talking about scares and suspense, then someone’s gotta bring up the bit with the motion sensitive light. That scene, to me, was a HALLOWEEN all-timer. If anything, they shoulda milked it for another minute or two coz it was a great idea that was executed very well.

    And despite the generally rushed nature of the pacing in this one, I’d still say that there’s more genuine suspense here than any of the sequels or remakes.

    Finally, I thought the twist with the doctor was great. Ridiculous, sure, but what else can you do with a ‘new Loomis’ that isn’t a total retread? I like the idea of a doctor with less will and steel than Loomis just totally losing his way trying to figure Michael out and paying the price for it. I do wish the movie had had another 20-30 minutes to let all the various plot threads breathe and play out a little more naturally. Fingers crossed for a Director’s Cut!

  40. I am a pretty tough scare, too. I think of a movie like Hereditary, and that is a completely different experience. Revenge was another recent movie I saw that I wouldn’t say I was hiding my eyes or running out of the room, but it sure made me squirm. I don’t see a lot of movies like that, that are also well done, but they are out there. There’s a lot of unnerving stuff on Netflix nowadays, Haunting of Hill House comes to mind. Apostle too.

    I saw this at the Thursday night preview, so it was a crowd full of people who wanted to love it and loved the original. And it definitely got the crowd riled up, for sure.

  41. And by “romp” I was referring to the whole final act of the film in Laurie’s fun house. Up until then, it kinda had me on board. At least a little bit. But all of that lost me. I don’t even know what genre that whole section of the film would be considered.

    And one serious question, how many people did Michael kill, on and off camera?

  42. The reversal at the end doesn’t work because Michael is unfeeling and not frightened at all when he noticed she disappeared. If he feels anything at all (and he shouldnt) its probably annoyance. Not to mention that its yet the umpteenth nod and wink to the audience, because we all needed to be reminded of a much better movie over and over again.

    This is suspense-less, overwritten, over praised fluff with lame characters, bizarre music video style editing sequences (these are terrible. Why is no one mentioning these) a weak score (what happened JC?)
    dreary cinematography, and no fucking clue.

    And the pumpkin at the beginning looked like a low IQ child animated it.

  43. I cannot disagree about the score more, Kris.

  44. I’m glad you liked it. Just didn’t grab me man. And I thought the score was going to be a highlight, especially after seeing Carpenter in concert.

  45. Kinda surprised by all the negativity here. I thought this one was great. I love the first Halloween (obvs) and like the second two and am fairly indifferent about the rest of the franchise, so this was right up my alley. I’ve also been the guy who always said they screwed up the franchise with the sibling retcon and that a faceless, motiveless murderer is way scarier than some dude trying to kill his sister because reasons. I don’t get people being weird about this “disrespecting” the sequels either, because there are a ton of little nods to them that only obsessive fans would catch (or bother putting in their movie), from the comedic cops from 5 to mentioning Mr Elrod to the kids in the Silver Shamrock masks.

    I think what I liked best was that this one really made Haddonfield feel like a real place filled with real people. So many slasher movies treat their leads as throwaway characters and it was awesome that people would blink into the movie for a second and you’d get to know them. Like the kid who didn’t want to go hunting with his dad because he’d rather go to dance class, which could’ve been played for laughs, but instead just let him be a kid who shot guns with his dad sometimes but also loved to dance. Or the guy trash talking the cop for trying to beat his Back to the Future pinball score. The movie had affection for its characters which is something OG Halloween had that most slashers don’t.

    And the ending – when it was down to the Strode ladies, I was running the probabilities of who would make it out and I figured the least likely scenario was for all of them to survive. It was an uplifting, uncynical ending that was oddly refreshing in a time when cynicism and a lack of compassion have overtaken the real world to a degree most of us never thought was possible. The ending was so satisfying that I would love for them to not do a sequel, but this thing made a shit-ton of money so that’s unlikely. Then again, I did get my fondest wish of a Halloween without the family connection, so maybe I’ll get my second-fondest wish – that Season of the Witch did better and the franchise turned into an annual anthology movie series. How cool would it be to see some talented young filmmaker do a modern update of Part 3 next year and then ever year after that to get a new Shape-less Halloween movie?

  46. Hey Free Dummy-

    SPOILERS

    I think they could get away with a sequel if they wanted to. You never do see his corpse. Yes he’s trapped in a flaming house but you know… maybe he dug through something, a wall collapsed, etc.

    But I like your idea better. Or the alternate part 4 somebody above mentioned where he “haunts” Haddonfield.

  47. I found it interesting that for all the talk of “this is a slate cleaner” and bla bla bla it was heavily dependent on swagger jacking bits from all of the previous 9 Myers led Halloweens. Even RESURRECTION. As a fan of the franchise overall I actually liked that but I could see how those homages rubbed many the wrong way.

    I did feel that like H20 the comedy attempts were absolutely dreadful. I literally only chuckled at the dad and the babysat kid. Rest of my theater didn’t laugh at shit. However the use of wide shots (with tracked movements) and actually listening to a Carpenter soundtrack in loud ass dolby surround made up for it to me.

    It’s the best one since H4 overall to me and the only one since 6 to actually have a proper Halloween atmosphere to it. The whole time I really did feel like I had been transported to next week. Good stuff there. I was satisfied overall. Leagues ahead of H20 at least. Considering how disappointing that movie always was to me I’ll take it.

  48. Oh and the twist was so bad and easily projected that I rolled my eyes so hard it got to the point that I lost a contact lens. That was so uneccessary and made me remove at least a point from my overall rating.

  49. I thought this one was pretty damn good, and I like it more the more I think about it. It might well be the second best of the whole franchise, in my opinion.

    One thing I want to point out that I really liked was the visual style. The field of action in some of these scenes was much deeper than in most modern movies (not most horror, just most modern movies in general) you see outside of DePalma. The first Halloween had that too, but since it was more a stalker movie than a slasher one, the background presence of the Shape was more static and haunting than in this version. This one had a number of occasions where Michael was doing things behind the foreground action of the shot and I thought that added a lot of tension and visual interest to the scenes.

  50. Not just the reversal of the shot at the end, but I also loved when Allyson looks out the classroom window and this time it’s Laurie standing outside.

  51. I find this movie to be resting on its Lauries. It needs less homage and standard slasher fare and more original type storytelling and exploration of what these characters mean to each other. The Shape concept (Loomis’s take on Michael) has been done perfectly. But Michael is just a man and I think there’s a great movie in denying him his mask. I want a story that is hyper focused on the central relationships and not various threads. It may not even feel like a Halloween/slasher movie but that’s partly the point. This installment is what it is but I want a sequel with balls, a movie (almost) as good as the original but without trying to mimic it as much.

  52. How many times are they going to be able to get Jamie Lee Curtis back? Give her a real movie to retire the role with, worthy of her, Laurie, and the original.

  53. It’s funny I interpreted that great poster with the mask looking like aged skin as promising a movie that addressed what 40 years later might mean to Michael in addition to Laurie. Turns out it meant nothing which makes sense I suppose.

    One more thing I want to say for the record is I’m opposed to the idea of any sequel to Halloween 1978. It’s like a sequel to Jaws. Totally unnecessary as everything has been said perfectly already. But given that they have now established this 2018 continuation I have two cents.

  54. Kris, you might not know, but after the end credits you hear Michael breathing. I still say that they always had it in their minds there was going to be a trilogy. If they were just thinking of making this one movie then we would have had a much more definitive ending like we got in H20. Instead we got the dumb decision to set a room on fire and then walk away like they’re some Bond villain.

  55. Is there something about horror where lackluster sequels doesn’t impact people’s assessment of the original that much? Some people definitely seem less high on other movie franchises, e.g. THE MATRIX, after the sequels than they do about, say, HALLOWEEN, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, ALIEN, THE EXORCIST, PSYCHO, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, or JAWS–all of which got tons of “bad” sequels but remain beloved.

  56. So years after both Vern and Majestyk suggested it to me I finally watched ROB ZOMBIE’S HALLOWEEN II: ROB ZOMBIE’S CUT and boy that was some really interesting shit. A lot more compelling than his 1st. The Jamie Lloyd at the end of HALLOWEEN 4-esque angle they took with Laurie was surprising but pretty sensible.

    Dourif was fucking brilliant as Sheriff Brackett with nothing but revenge on the brain and Tyler Mane was a much more effective Michael the 2nd time around despite the retardes detiriorating mask. It’s been like 3 or so years since the recommendation but thanks fellas. Better late than never. Now I’m actually interested in seeing the theatrical cut just to observe the key differences.

  57. BrianB -I would argue that people are more disappointed with THE MATRIX sequels for the same reason they’re disappointed by LOST. Those things promise huge revelations at the end of an overarching narrative, so you might sour on the entire endeavor if your reaction is “It all amounted to THIS?!”

    I really fucking loved the new HALLOWEEN. The first scene is good but then there’s a scene later where the podcasters talk about how they misinterpreted it, and it makes it better/scarier. The scene where Shape is first running amok with the trick or treaters is absolutely fucking nuts, the CHILDREN OF MEN of slasher sequences. The scene in the back seat of the car when the doctor revives his patient with the utterance of a word… yeah this movie was fucking awesome.

  58. I guess, just to keep the conversation sort of going because I am actually very surprised at the reactions I’m seeing here and other spots, so, y’know? I’m intrigued.
    I’m going to copy/paste this here from a convo I’m having elsewhere but it has been the growing issue I’ve been dealing with in the last decade or so that I’ve been taking criticism seriously.

    “Now, going into the new Halloween, I feel in some many ways that it is getting the same kind of “baggage” that every take on an established property has to deal with, ESPECIALLY if you are announcing that you’re subverting or reshaping an established piece of cinema.
    But what the fuck? What else will you do? Hire nobody hacks that nobody will ever even confuse with a director with vision? Did that a few times. Someone who can crank a wheel in the studio and make sure that every wall looks just as white and bland as it can be? Did that too.
    I’ll never be able to understand people who can’t separate art from what they want. The general consensus, without getting into the hyperbolic realm above mentioned, is that it isn’t the Halloween movie THEY would’ve made. That’s the most subjective, frankly idiotic, and strictly wanking argument anybody can ever make about a film, let alone art. Criticize it if you will, but make sure that the arguments aren’t about the fan-script you wrote in your head. I’m sure it’s pretty cool. So is mine. But, y’know, mine wouldn’t have surprised and delighted me as much as someone else’s “cool” idea.”

    I mean, I’ll take a film from an established director who fills a film with idiosyncratic ticks and has a willingness to not shill to the studio; a director who knows how to make his “own” films on a small budget the way he wants it made (kinda like a John Carpenter fellow I’ve heard of) AND a writer who, much like a certain Vern we all know and love, who takes the lowest of low-brow anti-populism and spins it into uplifting and challenging narrative…Yeah, I’ll take that kinda film over the next Dwight H. Little joint or the next Joe Chappelle flick. Maybe I’m the dunder-head for liking a film on it’s own merits vs. ingrained expectation, fan-writing, or letting the making of the film create a narrative for the ACTUAL film.

    It gave me the most involving (as in engaged with the film as a whole, not one single aspect) Halloween film since 5 even if it is totally NOT the film I would’ve made. And that’s my take and I won’t try to fan-write over yours but I just don’t know that this isn’t some new disease in criticism that we need to try to stamp out now. Judge it for what it does or does poorly, not for what YOU wish it did. That seems, again, like the most subjective disagreement you could have with anything.

  59. I mean, if you have to stick to a strict formula and style and structure and mood and setting and yadda yadda yadda, then how can you expect something with inspiration?
    This is where I feel (and I’ve done this too) that FANS can often time be the worst thing to ever happen to anything. It’ll never be the original, it won’t be the story they want, and if it does anything different then it’s already fucking its way uphill.
    “Fans” don’t see movies; if they did then they’d already admit that no new entry is going to satisfy them as much as whichever parts of the series were their old fix. There’d be no let-down; it’d just be another one that they don’t like as much as the entries that nothing will ever be better than to them and mean just as little/much.
    Cool.
    I always wonder, though, about the new fans that are created by each new entry. I’m pretty damn sure I saw some converts in the audience when I watched H20 all those years ago and I KNOW I saw some in the audience for H40, so…as a fan, do I welcome them to the fold or do I let ’em know to start drawing lines in the sand and digging into all the details so that they can posit a better movie than the one they’re watching?

  60. I should have thought to post this sooner. I was having fun with this. I like to think that when Michael hit the ground after being shot out of that window in the original film, reality splintered into some kind of multiverse.

    Handy Chart Lays Out the 'Halloween' Franchise's "Choose Your Own Adventure" Timeline - Bloody Disgusting

    The franchise gets real interesting with this year's David Gordon Green-directed Halloween, as it's not quite a continuation of the original franchise or R

  61. Oh wow, I have no idea what happened there. This was supposed to be the link:

    Handy Chart Lays Out the 'Halloween' Franchise's "Choose Your Own Adventure" Timeline - Bloody Disgusting

    The franchise gets real interesting with this year's David Gordon Green-directed Halloween, as it's not quite a continuation of the original franchise or R

  62. Thanks John, CJ, and Larry for your input! CJ, I think I knew before about the sibling connection, but honestly I forgot about it at some point.

  63. Jamie Lee as Mrs. Voorhees?

  64. PJ Soles vs. the Wolfman?

  65. A little sad the babysitter died. I liked her and the kid together.

  66. I enjoyed this film. It could have lived without the Dr. altogether, just find another way to get Michael and Laurie together. Same with the podcasters. The bathroom scene was great, but find some other characters to be the victims for that. I thought all the characters were great and very well humanized and grounded. I thought the humor was generally pretty light and sparing and worked in context. Great look, Michael was menacing as hell, I loved the way they worked with no-mask Michael, the stalking through Haddonfield houses run was great, the motion lights scene was great. Score was fantastic. The final act was a treat, very satisfying for my money. Jamie Lee Curtis does some really nice work here.

    At the same time, I think Rymar is right that the film feels a little bloated and disjointed. Felt somewhat lacking in cohesion, like Laurie’s parts and the third act were a different film from the rest. Get rid of the Dr. and podcasters and either ground the film more with Laurie and her family, or just take her out of it.

    Overall, I thought this was fun and competent, and it did a nice job of making Michael menacing. The Jamie Lee vs. Michael fan service was a-ok witht his fan. Pretty effective. Solid B or B-.

  67. So I ended the annual October Horrorthon with the ceremonial viewing of the original HALLOWEEN, as my people have done for generations, and seeing it so soon after watching the latest sequemake, I realized the main thing that Green and McBride completely dropped the ball on in their attempt to recapture the essence of the original: the simplicity. The plot of the real HALLOWEEN is a straight line, symbolic of the character who drives it. It plods relentlessly forward, slowly, almost imperceptibly picking up speed until we’re in the final onslaught of terror, which leaves you without resolution: Everyone is either dead or broken, corrupted by evil, which is still out there, always out there, everywhere and nowhere. This is not a twist. This is the inevitable fate the film had been marching toward, both in substance and style, since its first frames. The simple, primal fatalism of the storytelling and filmmaking is what gives the movie its power.

    Compare that to the 2018 version, which is chock full of philosophical debates, subplots, metafictional asides, extraneous backstory, and (ugh) plot twists. You think John Carpenter had time for fucking plot twists? Michael Myers don’t need no plot twists. He is straightforward, he is elemental, and he is COMING. That’s the basic, primal appeal of the character and the original film, and the new one completely fails to understand that by labeling gobs and gobs of extra crap onto what by all rights should be the most barebones of stories: the night HE came home…again. If they needed a ridiculously contrived heel turn to make that story happen, they already failed.

    It has become clear to me now that Green and McBride are victims of their own hubris. They had no more understanding of or connection to the true essence of the first and immortal HALLOWEEN than the chumps who decided that 200 proof purity of purpose needed to be complicated and thus diluted by the insertion of the Thorn Cult. They’re just more fanboys who, inspired by the vast spaces purposely left unexplored by Carpenter’s ruthless efficiency, could think of nothing else except what extraneous doodles could be added to the margins of a masterpiece. It’s an entertaining piece of franchise fluff but it gets no closer to the essence of HALLOWEEN than any of the other sequels.

  68. Your comparative observations are accurate but are equally or even more true of most perhaps all, HALLOWEEN sequels. This still rates as top of second-largest sequel and probably edges out Zombie H2. Further, I don’t see how a sequel is going to duplicate the Carpenter H1 approach without seeming incredibly boring and derivative, even if it were executed with perfect technical proficiency.

    Finally,all of those criticisms may be sufficient to explain why this film is inferior to the original, but was anyone expecting it to equal the original, even at peak hype? It’s an entertaining, compelling film that makes some missteps. It is a sequel that unapologetically stands on the shoulders of the original, to which it is vastly inferior. it is quite openly in many respects an homage to the best set pieces of the sequels, and its Michael clearly takes some inspiration from Zombie. in look and killing tactics and ferocity. What do you want, and to what standard should this film be held?

    Also, I am puzzled by your Danny McBride animus. I’ve read some interviews with him, and he is nothing if not modest and transparent about his choices in solving the storytelling problems. The idea that he’s some, contemptuous-of-the-sequels, self-important auteur douchebag is a fiction.

  69. Auto correct bit me. “top or second-best”

  70. I’m only judging the filmmakers by their stated intent: to make the only true sequel to HALLOWEEN. I don’t think they got any closer to that than Rick Rosenthal or Dwight Little, and not as close as Steve Miner, filmmakers who are generally considered hacks and will not receive a tenth of the accolades this filmmaking team will for doing almost the exact same thing. I’m saying talking shit about something you clearly don’t understand any better than the average studio-hired hack just makes you look stupid when your movie is no better than the movies you just talked shit about, and it will definitely set a good chunk of your audience against your movie before it even has a chance to entertain them on its own terms. I keep saying that this is an entertaining movie in its own right but it doesn’t recapture the essence of jack shit the way it’s purported to. And I wouldn’t care about any of that if McBride and Green had just shut the fuck up and made their stupid fan-fiction sequel that completely misses the point without writing any checks their screenplay couldn’t cash. I don’t have anything against these two guys and in fact wish I could have seen an original slasher story from them that wouldn’t have to be compared to one of the greatest horror movies of all time. But they didn’t want to do that. They wanted that franchise money and that franchise clout. Well, you make a deal with the devil and you have to take the bad along with the good. You get more eyes on your movie than if you make an original property, but now all those eyes have a lot of fucking opinions, and you have to deal with them. That’s the trade off. When I see young filmmakers with no track record getting interesting and entertaining original work off the ground that nobody will ever see, it makes me have very little sympathy for these franchise fuckers. Oh no, did some of the millions of people your marketing budget reached have too many opinions? Boo the fuck hoo. Go spend two years of your life making an indie horror movie that’ll disappear after a few festival screenings if you want to know real pain.

  71. I don’t know how I became Mr. You. But I kind of like the name. Maybe I’ll use it for something.

    But what also irks me is not they failed to understand the essence of HALLOWEEN the way they claimed to. It’s that they think they succeeded because they copied the superficial trappings. The look and sound. Those matter but they’re not the point. You can’t just throw a Carpenter soundtrack and a gliding camera over any old garbage and call it HALLOWEEN. There was substance to its style. Here it’s just empty homage. The FORCE AWAKENS approach. I can be entertained by that but I can’t respect it.

  72. Also, Skani, if you look at what we’re actually saying about the movie itself, we’re more or less in agreement on its strengths and weaknesses. You’d put it in the top two sequels, I’d put it in the top four (if Zombie’s installments count). That’s not a massive disagreement. I’m just coming at it from a place of total disenchantment with the current state of nonstop fan pandering and mechanical franchise remixing that we’re stuck in, and you’re coming at it from the perspective of being a reasonable human being who has bigger things to worry about. We’re making the same basic points. It’s just our reactions to it that are different.

  73. This new one does have more atmosphere, scares, and genuine filmatism than Miner, Rosenthal, and Little were able to muster. H20 and H4 are both adequate but also generic and workmanlike, mostly lacking the strong atmosphere, pacing, and elemental sonic-visual approach to storytelling that Carpenter nailed. H20 in particular has aged poorly. Aside from slapping Jamie Lee and Michael in the mix, it bears no tonal similarity to H1 and could be any generic teen hearthrob slasher flick of its SCREAM-era zeitgeist. Every unfavorable comparison you make between the 2018 and 1978 films holds x10 for H20 and H4.

    1980 H2 is definitely stronger than H4 and H20. 1980 H2 finishes very strong in the final act but is a painful slog for much of the first half, notwithstanding a couple of good moments. It’s not a split decision, but all told, I think 2018 edges out 1980 H2. This new one has problems, but it takes many of the best ideas from the sequels, as well as some elements of the Rob Zombie Michael, and rolls them together with a strong visual style and some cool ideas of its own in what is probably the best film since the original.

    I completely agree with you that H2018 adds a lot of unnecessary fat and machinations that could have been trimmed to make it a leaner, more elemental film, closer to the vein of the original. H2018 is far more choppy and self-indulgent and frankly wastes a lot of time on stupid and unnecessary stuff. I firmly believe you could have left Dr. Sartain and the podcaster behind at Smith’s Grove, then just find some other way to bring Michael to Laurie’s place, and maybe kill off Laurie’s daughter and husband in the bathroom. At the same time, I think H2018 does a lot of things well on its own terms. It makes Michael effectively scary and menacing, the visual and sonic filmatism is very strong–stronger than any of the other sequels by a wide margin. It’s genuinely creepy and unnerving at points in a way none of the sequels are. For me, it blends the Carpenter H1 shape with the Zombie H2 shape to near perfection.

    Also, I need you to point me to the interview where Danny McBride is talking all this shit you keep say he’s talking. I can’t find it. Here are some relevant interview excerpts:

    BEGIN QUOTES
    GREEN: “Anyone who’s a fan of any of these films will find nice little Easter Eggs acknowledging our salute to the filmmakers that have preceded us, in the stories and mythologies as they’ve unfolded. For us, it was a clean slate type of opportunity, where if there was a little inspiration or mirror image of something it’s very subtle in the movie because we want to start fresh for a new generation but with great appreciation for the previous.”

    MCBRIDE: …Maybe we’ll look back and say ‘Oh, it was such a mistake not to make them siblings,” but I don’t know, it seemed as opposed to just duplicating it would be cool to see if it gives us anything else.

    …I feel like it’s almost one of the things like Batman or something. You see different artists take on these iconic characters so I think it’s kind of cool to see what different filmmakers will do with a property that is so well known. I would rather have that approach to Michael Myers than everyone just continuing some storyline and just trying to regurgitate these things. I think it’s more interesting to have someone like David or Rob Zombie, these filmmakers that just come and put their own stamp on it for better or worse, I think that’s a more interesting way for a franchise to stay alive than to just continue to beat the same drum over and over again.

    END QUOTES

    I hear what you are saying about the franchise soft rebooting nostalgia-porn industrial complex that has developed. I enjoy original stories, too. I think where we differ is that I end up liking some of these corporate, cash-grabbing nostalgia-milking abominations. I like FORCE AWAKENS (better than LAST JEDI!), SOLO, CREED. They can’t help that they’re the trust fund children of their first-generation immigrant parents. And some of them are a lot of fun.

  74. Okay, there’s where we disagree. I found H2018 about as scary as a Saturday morning cartoon. There’s zero chance for any tension to build because we keep cutting back and forth between 45 different subplots, all starring some very Chatty Cathies. Just when something’s started to get good, they’d cut to something else. The scares boast some good ideas but they’re too gimmicky to get under the skin. Like, that long take is cool but is it scary? I don’t think so. I think both HALLOWEEN II and H20 are vastly superior in sustaining horror, and both have superior climaxes that make the new one’s look like a scenario cooked up by two 13 year olds at a sleepover spitballing about how they’d take out Michael Myers if they had the chance. “We’d have a trap door! And flamethrowers!” It’s silly. The whole climax was kind of silly.

    Which is fine. I don’t need to find a horror movie scary to enjoy it. I haven’t found the original scary in decades.

    In any case, if McBride and Green’s intent was to honor the franchise as a whole, then they marketed this thing all wrong because that’s the first I’ve heard of it. This movie was sold as nothing less than the only Halloween sequel. I still don’t think it’s anything special on its own terms, but if what they really wanted to do was just toss another drop in the bucket of Halloween sequels, then they did a decent job. But so have several anonymous journeymen. It’s really not that big a deal to make an okay Halloween sequel if that’s all you’re setting out to do. I just don’t think there’s anything particularly special about this one. I’ve been here before and I’ll no doubt be here again.

  75. And honestly, I liked it a little better when I thought they were Carpenter purists who’d unknowingly replicated some of the qualities of the other sequels. Knowing that they went full TERMINATOR GENESYS with the intentional Easter eggs is just lame.

  76. Eh, I’m overthinking it as usual. It was a well-made slasher movie that I got to see in the movie theater. The pragmatic half of my brain assures me this is the best I could possibly hope for in this exhausted, compromised era. It’s only the stubbornly, stupidly idealistic half of my brain that thinks we deserve more. The pragmatic half knows very well that we as a culture of consumers are getting exactly the art we deserve so we might as well enjoy it. On that level, on the level the culture actually operates on, which is that stories are just combo platters and the customer is always right so just shut up and eat you crybaby, H2018 is better than most of the recent crop of fan-wanks. It’s fine. Really. And most days, fine is all we have the right to ask for. If we ever really thought we deserved better, would we even be here talking about the 11th Halloween film in the first place?

  77. Jesus dude, get better help.

    I loved the door to door killing sequence, and the babysitter scene, and the sad fat guy motion sensor scene, and the soundtrack, and I legit thought there was a decent chance Jamie Lee was going to die at the end.

    And it was simple. It was a killer escaping, and killing on his way to a confrontation.

    The doc heel turn is still pretty stupid, but everything else was pretty goddamn fun.

  78. Had to give you a little pushback here, Majeystyk, but I think both sides of your brain have it right. This is a fun, well-made slasher film, and we deserve more and better original slasher films. We deserve this and HELL FEST, and we deserve better than both. You are not wrong to want more original stories. I think the challenge your faced with is that each individual film represents an opportunity to comment on what you miss or want or think is lacking and unbalanced in cinema writ large, even if the film of the moment happens to be decent enough for what it is. Even if it has committed no crime, it’s the stand-in (whipping boy, straw man) for contemporary film industry trends writ large, so it’s going to take some of those hits.

    I feel the same way about rap. In terms of record sales and other success “metrics,” it’s all soft, club, poppy shit. The good news is that not all of the new shit is bad, and in both horror and hip hop, there is a vibrant less-commercial scene. The true master craftsmen don’t sell tickets or records like they used to, and the new indie guys are often staying indie, but there are those old and new heads carrying the fire, still putting out good shit. It’s just more underground and on the margins. Which is arguably where it belongs. Leave the pop shit to the novelty-chasers and tourists.

    Then again, I do sometimes wonder what you would like or what would satisfy you. I liked this, IT FOLLOWS, HEREDITARY, THE INNKEEPERS and, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL all way better than HELL-FEST (and I enjoyed HELL-FEST!). What are your favorite new horror movies of the last five years?

  79. The other thing we have to remember is that relentless, clockwork-like, mercenary, continuity-irreverent, and frequently hacky-but-still-enjoyable sequelizing has always been one of the very hallmarks of the slasher films we grew up on. As a kid, I really loved and was comforted by that period in time when I could count on getting a new Jason or Freddy (or both) every year, even if the continuity or quality was decidedly uneven. HALLOWEEN 1 and ANOES 1 are great films, pure and simple–not just greater slasher films or even greater horror films. Their sequels take us off into all kinds of alternate timelines or what-ifs and are in many respects themselves frequently clumsy, frequently enjoyable rehashes and bastardizations, fan-fic-y in their own way. H2018 was enjoyable in its own right and scores very well on that curve.

  80. Definitely, part of my angst over this topic is my full awareness that I am complicit in it. I’m part of the generation that taught Hollywood that people will watch the same old shit over and over again as long as it has the right branding on it. It just seems like it’s getting even more insidious. We used to all know that the constant regurgitation was a bad thing, but now we’re so used to it that a blatant piece of nostalgia porn like H2018 can be hailed as a “the right way to do it.” It makes me feel queasy about the state of the collective unconscious. This seems to be a source of perpetual ennui for me, and I apologize if I’m repeating myself on the subject.

    I’m not sure I could tell you what my favorite horror movies of the past five years are off the top of my head. It usually takes me longer than that to separate the ones I enjoyed while watching from the ones that stick with me for life. I agree that the two Ti West films you listed are better than HELL FEST, which is mediocre at best but bolstered by the novelty of its theatrical release. I’ve enjoyed bouts of diarrhea more than IT FOLLOWS and HEREDITARY. I really liked BLOOD FEST and TERRIFIER recently but it’s not like I think this kind of tongue in cheek retro workout is the future of the genre. Right now the stuff that’s getting hailed as state of the art is just boring and obvious to me without any of the outlaw thrills that drew me to the genre in the first place so I can’t say there’s anything I’m particularly excited about. It seems like on one end of the spectrum you’ve got these fanboy homages that never really add up to an actual film experience, and on the other you’ve got these self-serious sepia tone hipster horrors made by and for tourists who get scared by all the same old tricks and think they’re watching something new. I wish there were more directors who split the difference, who weren’t afraid of fun but also had more on their mind than referencing the movies they watched at sleepovers in junior high. You know, The John Carpenter Equinox. It’s pretty rare. I thought maybe Adam Wingard was gonna be that guy for a second but three straight remakes in a row has disabused me of that notion. There’s no one in the horror realm I’m more than modestly excited about at the moment. I guess I’m just waiting for the next era to start, because this one is pretty unexciting.

  81. Hmm.
    I mean, if I was a fan of Halloween and I wrote THE sequel I wanted to see and thought it had all the elements of the original that mattered while expanding on some others and thinking I had the perfect way to turn it out of the narrative cul-de-sac that the original IS, of course I’d be hyping it. I mean, I put all the things I THINK need to be there, right?

    Is there some straight-up litmus or guidebook on what will work as well as the original? I keep hearing “the first one did this better”…Well, yeah. Or maybe it didn’t. Maybe it did somethings like gangbusters and maybe it was weak in some others. Maybe what is “straight distillation” to you isn’t what another person cares for; maybe they care more for character development. Maybe for some of us, with the distance from when the original was something “different”, with the ingrained expectations that are solely YOUR expectations, not OURS, with all the years of far more insightful people building a library dedicated to unearthing and revealing the nuances of that original…

    Maybe. Maybe a couple of decades from now, after all the think-pieces have been written in stone, after the stone has been picked up and wiped clean and then re-written, maybe there’ll be some place for this film in your Halloween oeuvre.

    Or not; the taste is yours.

  82. MANDY is another great one, and I really enjoyed the ENDLESS. I also liked UNDER THE SKIN. GET OUT. Some great stuff the last few years.

    I watched SOUTHBOUND and GHOST STORIES and enjoyed them all right, but both were overhyped.

    A couple i really didn’t get the hype for were DON’T BREATHE and the EVIL DEAD remake and CLOVERFIELD LANE.

  83. I guess while I’m at it, I’m never quite as enamored of the “completely motiveless antagonist”. I love Mike as much as anyone who has grown up watching the entire series over and over again. However, much like, say, Hannibal Lec(k)ter, without exploring the character at all just ends up in a narrative dead-end. To delve into the character that was created as some kind of “perfect simplicity” creates a shitstorm among the purists.

    I could argue that the best monsters HAVE some kind of character and reason to be that we can relate to down in our reptilian back-brain and that connection IS one of the keys to the beast being unnerving.

    Dracula HAS to feed. Frankenstein reached too far and his monster child paid for his neglect. A werewolf has to fear losing control and hurting people they love. Mummies have historically been either slaves, out to restore their place of control, or reincarnated lovers. The Creature from the Black Lagoon is a simple-minded solitary hermit protecting its lonely home. Godzilla is a walking metaphor for war. Rawhead Rex is just being the thug he was before his imprisonment. The Alien is just a boogeyman, but it’s a boogeyman with a life-cycle. The Predator is better than us at what we’re supposedly best at. Zombies are US, man! Jason’s got mommy issues. Freddy’s a sicko with a chip on his shoulder. Pinhead knows pleasures. Chucky’s that persuasive asshole you always knew would get your kid in trouble. Pumpkinhead is begat by blind vengeance. Carrie, oh man, Carrie. Emeric Belasco had the most intense short-man syndrome ever. Gremlins live to party, at our expense. The Kraken was a pawn of higher deities. Reagan was the child out of control. Rosemary’s Baby didn’t get to choose what it was born into. The Tall Man has an agenda on a higher plane, even if it’s hard to make out from here. I can keep going on, I guess, but even things like Lovecraft’s creations, not retroactively, were commenting on deification and it’s implication.

    I think that the inexplicable nature of Michael in the original is perhaps key to that film, but even as the first sequel knew, there had to be more to it. I could argue that the second has more narrative satisfaction at the cost of the precision of the first. Which is ultimately “better”? Who knows? In the first film Michael’s first kill doesn’t even really come from a character beat; it’s a clockwork opening that states its intent and ends on a shocker. In the narrative, it wasn’t really necessary to even HAVE Michael be a kid or anything. He could’ve just been an escaped killer. Does it ramp the overall effect of the film? Yes, but it doesn’t reveal anything more about MIKE than if a Sheriff had just read the dossier. That’s by design and I know it. But, can you imagine an It Follows sequel? They’re either going to have to tip their hand on the creature or it’ll just be the same flick again.

    That’s kind of a thing I think the anti-H40 crowd are sweeping under the rug just a bit. I mean, this is the first sequel to take Michael back, as a CHARACTER, to the Shape in the original. It’s just an example of one of the things that I think this one did that everyone was always talking about wanting a sequel to be like but that seem to never get brought up in the listings of all the things they would’ve done instead.

    This is maybe all a REALLY long-winded way of getting around to my point: Even after all I qualified there above about monsters with depth, I think Mike might be one of the very few that can get away with it. I mean, I wouldn’t want to be the guy who has to write another misadventure of just a walking prop-knife, but this film gave me some hope that there’s milk in that bottle still. I’ll take it over Thorn cult any day and I always thought the sister stuff was half-baked. But I won’t tell them what movie to write or make, Hell, if they bring in the cult or runestones or something in the next one I’m not going to say I’ll be looking for MY Halloween movie, but I’ll be highly intrigued by what they think they can bring to it. Then I’ll judge the final product after I’ve seen it.

    P.S. Seriously, when the doctor put on Michael’s mask was some seriously shocking shit. That was about as close to making the audience believe that the film just killed the character we’re there to see before the climax. Everyone in my theater kinda froze up in suspense. It was awesome and then it got a great gore shot and then it went back to where we thought it was going. I honestly thought it was a clever little set-piece. And if it had continued on with the doctor we’d all be talking about how it was like the ending of To Live and Die in L.A., right?

  84. Adam: It’s easy to miss in the wall of text I’ve written so far, but I did say the movie was “decent, bordering on pretty good sometimes.” The movie’s fine. It’s got some good sequences and a likable cast, and I had fun watching it. It’s just giving me the chance to rant about the same old crap I always rant about. I talk a good game but I usually get over it.

  85. Of course, I understand. And hey, I’m certainly not arguing “you must like it as much as me”. As much as you, I’m just ranting on the stuff I usually do. And you DO talk a good game. Cheers.

  86. They should have called this movie Easter since it’s just a bunch of references. Ha ha.

  87. LoL, Good one, Brian. this movie really does end up with easter egg on it’s face.

    Vern, you mention some sort of Halloween movie called “resurrection”… I think that might have been in a dream you had once or something because there is no Halloween movie called that. Certainly not in the past, and I am sure there won’t be one in the future.

    As far as this 2018 Halloween movie though, this was a bad movie, really. It might have been an OK movie if there hadn’t been any Halloween movies since the first one, but since it sets out to delete the others, we have to compare it with them to see if that’s even worthwhile, and I say upon reflection that it is not better than the original H2, it is redundant to and less entertaining than H20, and it is not better than the Zombie movies, even as it swipes some of Zombie’s cinematography.

    In fact, I would call this 2018 Halloween movie basically a thinner and more watered-down version of the Zombie movies. I get as annoyed as the next fellow at Zombie’s horrid dialogue, but I still liked a lot about his H1 and 2 (director’s cut only). Laurie Strode in 2018 would fit in well with Brad Dourif’s Sherriff Brackett. But just as I didn’t like Zombie’s cast of Laurie and the other Haddonfield victims, I have to say I like 2018 Laurie’s family and their friends even less. It takes a lot for me to dislike Judy Greer in something, but they managed it here, and that granddaughter was as unlikable as Scout Compton even without the constant nervous breakdowns. I was grateful though that we got to see Michael slaughter the condescending podcasters.

    Well, this does have the distinction of being the most gender-fluid friendly of all of the slasher films, aside from maybe “Crinoline Head”. If watching a bunch of teens try to decide their orientation is what you look for in a Halloween movie, then definitely this must surely stand as the greatest horror film to date. I feel that I would be doing the film makers a disservice if I didn’t mention that, because it was clearly important to them.

  88. I think I like the actor who played the doctor so much that I don’t mind his turn. I kinda wish he’d stayed alive.

  89. For some reason I thought this movie was universally liked, so imagine my surprise when i see most of the comments here lean towards negative. Which makes me glad I’m not crazy because I was hugely disappointed in this movie. I mean, it does ALOT right – so much so that it makes me feel like I’m being nitpicky and too hard on it. It’s obviously better than most of the sequels. It’s better than most slasher movies. It looks absolutely fantastic – the Blu Ray is gorgeous. The teenager/kids are all surprisingly likable and naturalistic actors. The big scare setpieces are clever and tense.

    So why am I so disappointed? I think because for every great idea Green and Co. have, they manage to muck it up in a frustrating way. Why reset the timeline and make them not brother and sister if that has no bearing on anything? My wife missed the “they’re not brother and sister” line and assumed they still were at the end because they might as well have been. Or the conceit of each victim getting a little slice-of-life scene before they’re killed. It’s not just effective at making you feel bad for the characters, it also works as a sly commentary on the whole “we root for the slasher because his victims are assholes” trope. By killing likable, charming kids early on while leaving the cheating boyfriend alive, Green seems to be saying “Hey – serial killers are not heroes – you should NOT be rooting for this guy”. But then later we’re introduced to some snidely whiplash villain, a poor man’s Rade Serbedzija, who gets killed in a “fuck yeah!” moment and it’s like, “wait, what?”

    Or how about the ending? Absolutely brilliant on paper. The idea of burning down a prison of your own making with your metaphorical captor inside – it’s powerful and cathartic without aping the triumphant ending of H20. And then…Michael escapes??? WTF? I mean, I know they need to keep the door open to a sequel, this is 2018 after all. But for God’s sake – Michael was “definitively” killed in Halloween II, H20, and both Rob Zombie films. Is it too much to ask that this movie LITERALLY about closure contain at least an ATTEMPT at closure? Or if you need to keep Michael alive, do it in a way that doesn’t make our trio of heroines look like complete morons? Greer does a hypothetically awesome fake-out that a) would have meant more if they developed her character any, and b) doesn’t have any effect on Michael at all. It’s a scene made just to elicit a cheer from the audience without having an actual consequence. Laurie spends the last 40 years of her life building Jigsaw-style traps and leaving nothing to chance – but then just curiously leaves, guessing Michael will probably die. Who is she, a Bond villain?

    I hate saying “they shoulda” done such and such. But how amazing would this movie be if Greer killed Michael with that gunshot, Laurie burned her house down with Michael inside, and then we get a feeling that now that the trauma is over they can finally get started on having a real relationship (kinda like that amazing final shot/first smile in Widows). You’d have a cinematic all-timer right there. Instead, we’ll get a sequel where Michael comes back again and Laurie is traumatized again and the shine from this one will end up wearing off the way it did off H20.

  90. What makes you say he escaped? The breathing after the credits? I mean yes, I assume that they will make another sequel, but I don’t remember anything in the movie to directly say he survives, only ambiguous things that can be interpreted that way if you want to. I have not rewatched it yet though – did I miss something?

  91. Really Vern? I can’t imagine a single person who saw that ending where satisfied knowing he died. You see him, it cuts away and when they come back he is gone. If they wanted him dead they would have shown it. I really hope they have him fall through a hole into an elaborate underground river where he is saved by a homeless guy who cares for an unconscious Michael until the following Halloween.

  92. SPOILERS…
    SPOILERS…
    SPOILERS…
    SPOILERS…
    SPOILERS…

    I think the final scene, where it’s panning throughout the house and the basement, is another callback to the original, just like Laurie falling of the balcony and disappearing being an inversion of Michael doing that in the original. Like in part 1, the final pan around the house with Michael nowhere to be found implies an open-endedness to things. We can’t quite pin him down, so he could be on the move or at least not dead. Have to say, though, it’s going to be hard to retcon that intelligently in starting up the next one. The main thing this one had going for it was to feel much more grounded and less eye-rolling, and it’s hard for me to envision Michael surviving the end of this one in a way that doesn’t feel like a cheat. Assuming they don’t go in some really different direction (the ghost of Michael), it’s either gotta be him slipping out some secret hatch in the basement we didn’t know about, or he’s surviving as a Jason-eque zombie briquette, or he’s just inexplicably alive and unscathed.

  93. That said, I don’t think it’s the obvious, inescapable conclusion that he survived. I would call it deliberate ambiguity rather than, “Whomp, whomp, looks like he got away.” Honestly, the ending of the original is way more overtly open-ended (“He’s not right were he should be on the ground there, wtf?”), whereas the ending of this one is not so precise, because it’s a blaze. It’s not clear (to me at least) where Michael is at that point, but it’s entirely possible he’s engulfed in flames down there. I thought it was about as HALLOWEEN 1978 of an ending as you can get without literally ripping off that exact ending. It captures the spirit of it but plays it a bit more subtle.

    Also, I think people are getting caught up in the expectation trap on this one. It’s a good slasher film that has some obvious strengths and does some nice things with mythos. It’s a solid, B or B+ in the HALLOWEEN or general purpose slasher canon. It’s only when it’s held to some arbitrary imagined standard that describes very few actual slasher films that it falls short. Each downer reviewer seems to have a different thing to complain about vs. there being some consensual gaping flaw — this is what tells me it’s more about expectations than anything else. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. I think it’s compelling and interesting that the obvious asshole doesn’t get killed and the more sympathetic one does. Likewise, the Judy Greer thing is a nice little note…it doesn’t have to be the culmination of some great arc to be a fun moment.

    Anyway, to me, this one more or less nails the landing between moody, ambient artsy-fartsy and carnage schlock, bringing together the best elements of both without disappearing up its own ass.

  94. Devin Faraci (can we say his name around here?) said in his review *SPOILERS* – “the disappearance of Michael Myers from the burning basement means that the boogeyman is gone. He’s been vanquished in the most primal way possible – the fear and pain that he represents has been cleansed, and he is literally evaporated. He is not just killed but actually ceases to exist.” – I kinda love it if that’s what they were going for, but sorry, “cut to a burning room and the guy’s now gone” will always be horror-movie speak for “he escaped”.

    Faraci’s review also points out that the Myers/Strode obsession is one-sided – she has spent the entire last 40 years of her life recovering from this one incident, while Myers hasn’t thought about her at all. It’s a powerful statement on trauma and abusers and the abused, and actually gives the movie reason to retcon the brother/sister thing. But it’s kinda muddled and not really easy to see in the film text itself (granted, it’s hard to convey these themes since Myers wears a mask and doesn’t speak, but the writers get paid the big bucks to figure shit like this out.)

    Again, this movie is SO CLOSE to being a true classic that I feel bad saying negative things about it. My very first reaction after it was over was “Man, I think I actually prefer H2”, which pretty much proves Skani’s point that expectation weighs too heavily when judging a movie (I heard H2 was horrible and I heard this movie was the greatest thing since sliced bread). The more I think about this movie the more I appreciate it’s accomplishments on their own terms, but I don’t think it’ll surpass H20, a movie I liked when I left the theater back in ’98 and I still like now.

  95. Man, and I thought my spiel about the FAST & FURIOUS timeline was full of shit.

  96. Just to be clear, that was directed at Faraci, not you, neal.

  97. I think the one thing I hated is they were advertising it on Facebook for the bluray as the “number one thriller of the year” so they can all go fuck off now. I hate they are afraid to call or what is is, a fucking horror movie.

  98. well they officially announced a sequel which was obvious the minute they filmed the weak ending of setting the house on fire and walking away like Laurie was a bond villain. I hope they deal with the fact that Laurie is an idiot who fills her entire house with mannequins specifically only for them to have the scene with you not knowing which mannequin will be Michael Myers. The actual ending should have just been Myers heading off to a different town because she doesn’t give a fuck about Laurie and she just sitting there waiting for somebody to not show up.

  99. Just watched it. One of the many things that rubbed me the wrong way: Laurie calling Michael “The Shape”. That’s the writers talking, showing the audience how they’re such true fans of the original. Why would Laurie call him the Shape? Did she read the credits? There’s absolutely no reason for any of the characters to have given him that particular nickname. Even if the cops and journalists had decided to be cute and not to simply call him “Michael Myers” after the arrest, to them he wouldn’t be “The Shape”, he’d be “The Halloween Maniac” or “The Trick or Treat Psycho” or “The Haddonfield Stalker”, or “Mike the Mask”, not “The Shape”.

  100. Did that actually happen? For the sake of my blood pressure, I’m glad missed that. Christ, that’s almost as bad as remaking JAWS and having the characters refer to the shark as Bruce.

  101. Did that actually happen? For the sake of my blood pressure, I’m glad I missed that. Christ, that’s almost as bad as remaking JAWS and having Brody (Adam Driver, STAR TOURS: THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE) refer to the shark as Bruce.

  102. Dammit. I thought I stopped my first draft from going through before it posted. I apologize for the redundancy. Hope that Adam Driver joke was worth it.

  103. I watched it a few days ago too and I am on team “Didn’t like it”. But in all fairness, Michael Meyers was for me always the limp dick of the big horror icons. Still, I appreciated H20 for being a mindless 90s post-SCREAM slasher with a damn great, emotionally deep “Oh shit, it’s ON!” finale. This one was…nah.

    At least it had some really good suspense scenes and the people behind it weren’t the kind of douchebags who believe that part 1 was so scary because it showed only very little blood, so they gave us some good gory images.

    Still, even as a non-fan of the series I feel incredibly insulted by the fact that these people thought they were making a better “real sequel” than H20 by turning Laurie into a bootleg Sarah Connor, who needs help from previously unseen characters to find the closure she needed all her life, only to then half-ass her revenge in the dumbest was. YOU HAD HIM AT GUN POINT! AT LEAST BLOW HIS HEAD OFF, BEFORE YOU TRY TO BURN HIM! SCOTTY EVIL IS LAUGHING AT YOU! Seriously, if the next one begins with Laurie getting murdered in a pre-credit scene again, well…she had it coming this time!

    Also this.

  104. Once again, I shall clock in and defend this film’s quality and its underlying intentions.

    First, I take issue with the narrative that imputes smug condescension to Danny McBride and the other guy. They’ve been nothing if not reverent to the rest of the series and tried really hard to incorporate compelling motifs / homages from the other films, and they’ve said that ignoring the other films was a strategic choice (think of it as an alternate branch in the HALLOWEEN multiverse) to free up some options, not as a repudiation of the other films per se.

    As for the film itself, it feels very grounded in Halloween world, yet it still has a very nice cohesive aesthetic, some great new visuals, set pieces, and ideas to bring to the table. The kills are also pretty gnarly, which is a compliment in my opinion. I think the film even does a really effective job of melding Carpenter’s version of “the Haddonfield Stalker” with Zombie’s version of Michael — not that it had to take that on, but it does so and does it incredibly well — while still presenting something new in the form of a senior citizen killer who seems at once utterly banal and senior citizeny and fucking ferocious and menacing as hell. This film is easily in contention for 2nd best HALLOWEEN film in a competitive three-way race with Zombie H2 and original H2.

    This is visually compelling, quirky, gory, relatively grounded and at times genuinely scary or unnerving film. If they could do a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET soft reboot even remotely this inspired and competent and attentive to the canon/legacy, I would be thrilled.

  105. Why do you guys like Zombie’s H2. I think it is a pretty miserable sequel.

    Though I just watched and enjoyed the producers cut of 6 and think an edit using the best of both would make a very good sequel to 4 and 5. So whay do I know?

  106. I’m definitely team Director’s Cut re: Zombie H2. I found H2 to be closer to the trance-like Lynchian dreamy weirdness that he leaned into with LORDS OF SALEM (which I also liked). H1 did very little for me, leaning really hard into the white trash hillbilly sleaze, which is much less pronounced in H2. Now that I think of it, I think Zombie H1 and H2 illustrate two different, and competing tendencies in Zombie — arty weird Zombie vs. Hillbilly-sploitation. Not that you’re not going to have some elements of each in anything he does, but H2 and LORDS OF SALEM definitely vibe together, whereas I think H1 is more in that DEVIL’S REJECTS kind of space.

    Anyway, I liked the way H2 dealt with trauma, I liked the way Zombie was able to really communicate both prolonged (Laurie) and acute (Sheriff Brackett) emotional trauma. I liked the way he does violence which is truly painful to watch, never gleeful or cartoonish. I really liked the casting and interpretation on Michael not that it’s the only way to go, but the hulking, utterly devastating Michael was a fresh take for HALLOWEEN. The whole hospital sequence is extremely suspenseful and starts the film off with a real bang — and I do like the Moody Blues soundtrack to that scene, if it is mabye a little arty-kitschy on the nose. Works for me. Finally, I enjoyed the idea that Michael has create a fantasy, idealized version of his mom and that he is guided by this mythicized construct version of his mother and supporting mythology (or is she a ghost), which is strange and brings an interesting ghostly iconography to things, gives Michael in interesting but appropriately bizarre and impoverished inner life (something else very new and different), and there are some beautiful and beautifully weird night shots and moonlit scenes. This film also leans into the Myers family psychodrama in a way that I think works way better than any other HALLOWEEN film in any iteration. However fucked up it is, Michael’s fantasy life around his family and reconstituting it is a fascinating through line and motivation.

    Yeah, the idea of actually giving Michael some motivation and inner life — but only making weirder and more mysterious in the process vs. just explaining away stuff — was a big swing that connected for me.

    Yeah, so, by way of top-of-mind stream-of-consciousness, these were some of the most memorable and compelling pieces for me.

  107. So I figured what the fuck? Let’s get the rehabilitation process for this started with a surprise installment of MAJESTYK MAKES AMENDS. Despite my many, many complaints, I originally thought this was “decent, bordering on pretty good,” and while I think it has risen a little in my estimation this time, that’s still its general ballpark rating. I now no longer care about the disingenuous manner in which the film was marketed and can focus more on what’s actually there and not the bill of goods I was sold, so I recognize that, in addition to the bits that pissed me off (Laurie’s idiotic survival strategy, the moronic bloggers, the absolutely awful new fake Loomis) there was also a lot to recommend it. I find the movie to be overstuffed in general but it’s hard to tell what should be removed since many of the doodles in the margins are some of the most entertaining stuff in the movie. The main characters are pretty much a drag (understandably so–none of them are having a great time right now–but that doesn’t make them any more fun to spend time with) but the supporting cast is stocked with ringers who are given the room and material to shine in their limited appearances. The gravelly voiced dance enthusiast, the pot-smoking babysitter and her foul-mouthed charge, the cop in the cowboy hat who seems important but disappears halfway through, the out-of-touch dad; all these characters add color and humor and specificity to what could otherwise be a generic slasher outing. The middle section where Michael just bombs around the neighborhood slaughtering people (which I now realize is one of many obvious homages to one of the ousted sequels) lets the film stretch its legs and savor the laser-focused yet seemingly random chaos that Michael represents. So it’s a bummer whenever we return to the main plot which seems pathologically obsessed with figuring out WHAT THIS ALL MEANS. I realize the film makes it a point to never come to a definitive conclusion, but it doesn’t stop all this lip-flapping from being a major drain on the momentum. Whenever the movie just lets us watch Michael be Michael, it has verve and style. Whenever it’s ABOUT Michael, though, it falters. For a movie that wants to insist there’s no explanation for the unexplainable, it sure does want to make us listen to a lot of attempts to do so, culminating in the doctor’s ridiculous heel turn, which leads into the poorly imagined finale, which shows that Laurie might have been in the honor society but she sure didn’t get there for her work in Home Defense 101. Her 40-years-in-the-works plan seems to be to wander around a house she has filled with dark corners for her assailant to hide in and to use her own daughter as bait in a trap with only one exit. I do not expect strategic infallibility from the average Final Girl, who is generally flying by the seat of her pants in a blind panic by the time she gets around to making important tactical decisions, but Laurie has been characterized as someone who has been planning for this night 24/7 for four straight decades. I expect a little more than “I’ll knock him down the stairs and then you climb over him, okay?” And then she just leaves before she sees him die? What was the point?

    Great last shot, though.

    Anyway, you guys are right, warts and all it’s probably one of the better sequels. Busta Rhymes never shows up so it’s automatically got that going for it.

    ORIGINAL RATING: C
    AMENDED RATING: B-

  108. I rewatched it the other day and meant to post here about it but my opinion is relatively unchanged. I liked it a little better but still think the whole climax and ending is awful which still takes it down several notches for me.

    I do like it better than the Thorn Trilogy and RESURRECTION and the first Zombie remake (probably) and it never drags as much as SEASON.

    I’ll still see the sequels because I’m part of the problem.

  109. I was trying to rewatch it with this girl I’m seeing. She started “startending” at this popular strip club on weeknights and was exhausted and literally fell asleep on chest. So I turned it off and watched PET SEMATARY 2. I still haven’t seen the whole thing again since the cinema but since it’s time of the year again I might watch it during my annual HALLOWEEN marathon next week. I’ll probably squeeze it in after SEASON OF THE WITCH.

  110. *on my chest

    Staring at those monitors at work really screwed my eyes up today. I didn’t notice the grammatical miss.

  111. “Whenever the movie just lets us watch Michael be Michael, it has verve and style. Whenever it’s ABOUT Michael, though, it falters.”

    Yeah, pretty on-point, Majestyk. Expectations are a mother. When you take this movie on its own terms within the full HALLOWEEN filmography, I think it’s pretty darn fun. Is it fully cohesive, logical, great cinema? No. Oscar-bait? No. A fun Michael Myers outing that adds some things and feels like it could actually age relatively well. Yes.

  112. Teaser for Halloween Kills is out and it just proves my point that Laurie is just a shitty Bond villian and everybody that dies in the new one is her fault and say what you want about H20 but that is such a superior Laurie. This movie is going to be trash and hypocritical.

    https://youtu.be/rHhZDYVoV7w

  113. How is it hypocritical? He was in a burning house, he oughta be dead. What was she supposed to do, run in there?

  114. I don’t know, come up with a better plan than set the house on fire and walk away without seeing him die.

    The hypocritical part is how they went into this whole thing where they were going to be the classier sequels unlike all the other Halloween sequels and now this one all they can talk about is how brutal it is and the high body count. That’s just saying Halloween II is trash and then you just go and do what they did with Halloween II.

    I’m being hypocritical too because I’m obviously going to see the film and I hope it’s awesome (and by fault better than H18) and they give us a much better ending than shitty bond villian ending of last time.

  115. I still don’t understand this bitterness, Sternshein. I say this as an avowed H20 fan. HALLOWEEN 2018 has all kinds of references to all kinds of HALLOWEEN sequels. Obviously it is in love with the HALLOWEEN series, not just the first movie, it just found it convenient to jettison the continuity and interesting to make them not siblings. Green has never been a snob, even if he’s in the Criterion collection. I don’t know the guy, but I did meet him, and he seriously knew all the Seagal movies, including DTV. I don’t know who said that he and the star of THE FOOT FIST WAY were trying to make a “classier” HALLOWEEN, but obviously that’s not what they did, so why dwell on it?

  116. I think Stern is putting words into the Hoalloween guy’s mouths that they didn’t say. I really doubt they ever talked about making a classy sequel. Gussy it up however you like, it’s still a slasher sequel and that’s what they delivered. They weren’t making one of the newer style arthouse horrors, they delivered slasher thrills as promised.

    As for burning up Michael, should there have been a better plan? Maybe I guess. But this is before we know Michael can survive being burned alive, they only have the info from the first movie, where Michael survived wounds that someone COULD survive. I’d set fire to the house and get the hell out of there too, cause if he got out, what are you going to do then? They figured he’d just burn up. I gueeesss they could have had some elaborate trap that opened up and he fell into a pt of acid or something.

  117. I mean, they could have shot him in the face while they stood there staring at him with guns in their hands for like five minutes. That would have been a pretty simple way to be sure.

    I’ve gotten over most of my bitterness about this wildly overpraised movie, which is pretty entertaining until the exact second the doctor does his stupid heel turn, at which point I have to agree Laurie’s terrible 40-years-in-the-making survival plan makes her look like a moron. I haven’t watched the trailer yet, but now that this reboot series is removed from all expectations that it’s anything other than some uncommonly well shot dumb slasher sequels, I might even be looking forward to it if I weren’t currently dreading the return of having to have opinions about new release movies. I thought I’d really miss going to the cinema but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying not having to come up with a hot take about whatever shiny new distraction has the internet all hot and bothered this week. I’m not saying I never want there to be new movies ever again (the fact that there’s a new F&F just sitting there and I’m not allowed to see it makes my blood boil when I stop and think about it) but I am really not hating this extended break from the hype machine.

  118. You know, Mr. M, that it’s possible to see new movies and not engage with the internet about them, right? There is not a law mandating that everyone shares their opinion about everything that happens, even if that is exactly what everyone on the internet is always doing. I’ve enjoyed reading your opinions over the years, but I am not demanding them from you.

  119. Michael HAD just been shot in the face a minute before that. They know bullets may not kill him, so why not burn him up.

    I’m not so sure the trap was necessarily INTENDED to be a trap…I never read it that way. Originally they’re hiding, and Michael finds them. If they wanted him to find them they would have made some noise, or tried to lure him in there, but they didn’t. Then they shoot him and switch places. I think the steel bars that lock him in and the gas was meant to be as a “just in case” kind of thing, not the plan. It was like Plan C. Just like how Jamie has the steel doors that shut in the rooms, but her big plan wouldn’t be to lock Michael into one of he rooms. Now, once Michael ended up down in that thing and they closed the bars on him, THEN it’s not a cage to lock him in…it becomes a trap. But I never saw burning down the house as the master plan.

  120. I’ll admit it’s mostly the hype train which isn’t fair to the movie or it’s makers but… I’m still at a loss as to why you’d erase all sequels from existence, just so you can make the same exact mistakes and a bunch of new ones. Also, why would you take one of the great ‘final girls’ and reimagine her as a complete and total idiot?

  121. I just needed a day to rant and I thank you all for letting me.

  122. I really don’t get the idiot stuff though. She has the lock pretty well locked down, within reason. Yeah yeah she had mannequins in a room hurh duuuur she’s dumb. But generally what stupid things does she do?

    Also, Curtis is great in those movies but let’s not go acting like she’s Superwoman in the previous flicks. In part one she’s oblivious until the last 20 minutes, then runs and hides a lot and keeps killing Michael and then turning her back on him. In part 2 she runs and hides a lot and then Loomis saves her. In H20 she becomes more of a typical Aliens badass cause that was the cool thing back then.

  123. Dan: You’d think you’d know me well enough by now to realize that, for me, seeing movies is optional; having opinions on movies is not.

  124. Mr. M- I say this with all the respect in the world (*all* of it- this moment here is why Rodney Dangerfield never got any of it, it was all pulled through time to now), but if you found not feeling obligated to see movies to be refreshing, just wait til you try not feeling obligated to have an opinion! I feel like this sounds like I’m trying to be shitty at you, but really I’m not- it was honestly a huge relief a few years back when I suddenly realized, hey, I don’t *have* to have a considered opinion ready to go on every topic or cultural event of the day! I can just…not do that. It’s nice!

    Perhaps not coincidentally, this was also around the time my social media usage dropped like a rock. Also I am old now.

  125. 1. Yeah, the dummies all throughout her house was something an idiot would do.
    2. If you’re plan is to kill somebody and you had decades to come up with it and that plan is to lock somebody in the basement and set the house on fire and walk away KNOWING he can get shot 5 or 6 times and still not die that I’m going to make sure the fucker is dead. I’m not going to walk away. Hell I would stay and watch the whole house burn to the ground. That’s just my feelings on the whole thing.

  126. Hey if distraction mannequins worked against the Wet Bandits, they can work against Michael, dammit!

  127. You know people routinely survive being shot a number of times. In the realm of that movie, they don’t really know that Michael Myers is basically unkillable. Plus like I said, doing that wasn’t their “plan,” seems to me that was their backup.

    I love how everyone watching a movie is a total badass and says what they would do. You know I’ve been in actual hairy situations and been shot at, and you know who does everything according to plan?

    Fucking NOBODY.

  128. Still, she had him at gunpoint with nowhere to go, jsut before she locked the door and set everything on fire. A scene of Michael’s head exploding from a shotgun blast or having him getting shot to pieces by the whole family of never before seen characters who have no reason to steal Laurie’s happy ending, would’ve been way more satisfying than “Eh, let’s do it in a way, that ensures our last HALLOWEEN movie ever will get another sequel”.

  129. I would have preferred a Halloween that had a definitive ending too, but at the same time it’s pretty much par for the course that a slasher sequel must set up another one. Plus that’s what happened in H20. But looks like they’re doing this trilogy so hopefully it will have a legit ending.

  130. The thing though is her plan goes exactly as planned. She was going to lock him in the basement and set the house on fire. It just wasn’t a very good plan.

    Regardless I do kinda want to see how he escapes because I don’t think firefighters enter a house burning like it is and that fire has to take a while to put out. So I guess I’m intrigued.

  131. I’m actually kind of curious to see if they’re going to try and go the Halloween II (original Rick Rosenthal-directed version) route by having the next movie take place immediately after the events of the previous one.

  132. Doesn’t the Zombie’s II also take place immediately after the events of the previous?

    It sure looks like KILLS does; they’re driving away from the burning house!

    I really enjoyed the HALLOWEEN ’18 but boy, that teaser can be taken like it’s openly ridiculing the ending of that movie.

  133. But Stern, I’m not so sure that IS the plan and I outlined why. I think that was a fallback…she has 3-4 plans. One is that Michael never gets inside at all and she kills him outdoors. One is he gets inside and she either traps him in one of the rooms and then kills him in the house. And then you have the final option, in case he has breached your safe hidey-hole…burn it all down. I mean it’s like the military, the FIRST option is not to burn down the base. But if you’re being overrun, you burn that shit to the ground as you get out.

  134. YouTube

    আপনার ভিডিওগুলি বন্ধু, পরিবার এবং বিশ্বের সবার সাথে শেয়ার করুন

    There was some debate here whether the 2018 film, which I liked a lot, was or wasn’t “just” another HALLOWEEN sequel, whether that was what they thought they were making, and whether we were sold it honestly or not. This one doesn’t look like it’s pretending to be anything other than 2, 4, 5, 6 and the Zombie films in a blender; the big ideas seem to be “he’s more brutal” and “he’s magic I guess?”.

  135. Oof, I was hoping they would find a way to make Laurie’s perfect plan from the last movie, y’know, the one that she had decades to come up with and then made every mistake that AUSTIN POWERS already turned into punchlines decades ago, less dumb, but apparently she didn’t even expect firefighters to show up? Sure that this isn’t SCARY MOVIE KILLS?

  136. Muh does bring up a good point that it’s probably not her main plan even though I’m not sure what her other plans would have been.

    I’m in for watching this film because I do appreciate a large body count slasher film but at the same time I think it’s going to end up being just a depressing watch. I don’t know if I want to see Michael mowing down every character we liked from the first movie in increasingly gory and mean spirited ways. I think one of the reason why the F13 films are beloved is that they don’t bring back multiple characters from previous movies into new ones to just kill them off.

    Also this Micheal trascends thing makes me think they’re going to make Laurie into crazy pants Loomis but in a super annoying way.

  137. Before the pandemic I’d never seen an entire Halloween film. Over the course of the past year I’ve watched watched Halloweens ’78, II, H20, Resurrection, and ’18, not necessarily in that order. This franchise reboots more often than the Terminator.

    Maybe it’s because I’m coming to these movies late, but the sequels don’t really do it for me. I was particularly surprised by H20, which I’d long heard was the best of the sequels. Despite a stacked cast (JLC, JGL, LLCJ, Michelle freakin’ Williams, etc.), it’s almost entirely filler or tire-spinning until the iconic scene of Laurie going for the ax. There are some themes in there which Halloween ’18 would explore better, though I still wasn’t entirely satisfied with that installment either. One or two homages to the original would be fine (Laurie disappearing like Michael at the end of H78 was nice), but this put in a few too many. The “Evil Loomis” doctor guy didn’t do much for me either. He seemed like the best thing they could come up with to get Michael into position for the climax of the movie (“how do we get Michael to Laurie’s house if he doesn’t know or care about who she is”).

    Just this past Friday I watched Halloween Resurrection for some damn reason, which, yes, is awful, but in a way that somehow entertained me. Every filmmaking choice seems to be the wrong one– killing off Laurie, random slo-mo, grainy camcorder footage, hilariously bad consumer technology– but it’s also a movie in which Busta Rhymes gets top billing and electrocutes Michael Myers right in the dick, so I liked it despite– or because of?– all its faults. Sometimes it accidentally succeeds, like the scene where Michael Myers is stalking or being stalked by Fake Michael Myers. (“I’m seeing double here– four Michaels!”)

    Anyway, I’ll surely end up seeing HALLOWEEN KILLS at some point. And HALLOWEEN ENDS, and then in five years, HALLOWEEN LIVES AGAIN or SON OF HALLOWEEN or FRIDAY the 31ST: JASON VS MICHAEL (ON HALLOWEEN).

  138. There’s this persistent debate about whether this Blumhouse cycle of HALLOWEEN films is a better breed of HALLOWEEN sequel, in one or more vague senses, such as: is artier, is more Carpenter-esque, is more serious / less silly. I don’t know that it actually aspires to be some kind of elevated, superior HALLOWEEN film. I think it merely aims to do the following things: 1) give the series a bit of a reset; 2) relatedly, make Michael scary again; 3) make the films seem handsome and more legitimate (less exploitationy, less like throw-away teen make-out fare); 4) make a boatload of money. I think it’s mostly the latter, and it’s a brilliant bet. Get serious filmmakers, throw enough money to make it look good and to get Curtis back and Carpenter’s co-sign: Mission accomplished. I’ve seen or read multiple interviews where Carpenter has straight up said that if he’s going to do anything right now besides his music, it’d have to be good money. Getting him to do the music for this and then using that to leverage him into doing interviews and stuff was a stroke of genius. If we get an extremely nice-looking HALLOWEEN sequel with this iteration of Michael doing his thing, then it’s a win for all parties. The SCREAM cycle of slashers gave the films a degree of respectability in terms of production values and starring up-and-comers (PARTY OF FIVE being a particularly fertile source). What this HALLOWEEN film is doing is making it respectable for a middle-aged person or a kid to watch and enjoy a slasher film, because Jamie Lee and Judy Greer and the cop guy are the kinds of people who star in respectable mainstream adult fare. As marketing, it’s cynically genius. If it leads to more slasher films, I’m here for it.

  139. I really like David Gordon Green and appreciate that he’s coming from a place of love and doing his honest best to deliver the best HALLOWEEN experience possible. And that’s the problem. At the end of the day, these aren’t movies. They aren’t stories. They’re not even ideas for movies. They’re the summation of a list of requirements dictated by someone else’s ideas. Some of those requirements are played straight and some are subverted, but it’s just choosing between Option A or Option B. There are no original creative impulses. There can’t be. The HALLOWEEN template is too pure, too limiting, to allow much deviation. For all their faults, the Zombie films were driven as much by their director’s fixations as they were by their franchise obligations. Probably more so, which is what people hated about them. The average fan would rather have something slavish but polished than something original but messy. I talk a big game but in my heart, I’m no different. Which is why I’d rather have my favorite franchises end than devolve into fan-bait the way they all inevitably do.

    DGG seems like a really cool guy with pretty solid taste. I really wish I liked what he came up with. I don’t fault him, really. He never really had a chance.

  140. I’m interested in what everyone thinks of as the true timeline for this series. I, personally, am a part 1, part 2, H20 believer. All the others are either spin-off, alternate universe, fever dream, or don’t exist in my head cannon. I don’t begrudge others their beliefs. It’s a buffet – take what you want and leave the rest for someone else.

  141. In a showcase showdown between H20 and H2018, I’m firmly H2018. Not even close. I never loved H20, though it does have its moments and good qualities. Certainly better than CURSE and RESURRECTION.

    From the micro-, film series-specific standpoint, I’ve always been here for sequels to films I love, and my basic posture has been that no number of shitty, ill-conceived sequels can do anything to tarnish a solid original. PSYCHO and HALLOWEEN and NIGHTMARE 1 and CHAINSAW 1 will always be great no matter what crazy shit others try to do with the properties. Best-case scenario is a truly worthy successor that can go in your personal canon; worst-case scenario is depressing crap. Mid-case scenario is diverting or genuinely imaginative and provocative fan fiction. That’s a low-stakes, worth-it proposition imho.

    I haven’t always been here for reboots and resets, especially in the more macro- sense of just an entire generation of people whose beloved characters and stories are just reboots of their parents’ or grandparents’ beloved characters and stories (aka Disney, DCEU). I can get grumpy about that, but in my heart, it’s not so much that I hate MCU and STAR WARS for their success, as I want a new Freddy Krueger and a new space opera and room for the building of wholly new worlds and mythologies.

    So, in this case, I am definitely here for new and varied Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger adventures, but I also would like to see
    a new slasher get some real traction and go on a run. Even Hell-FEST guy, let him go on a run (I thought HELL-FEST was only competent, but there’s room to build that out).

    Okay, enough shaggy dogging it. To your question, Maggie, I’ve revised my view, for various reasons. As remakes have given way to reboots and soft reboots and mid-quels and retcons and multi-verses … and willful ignoring of select films … and having just re-watched NEW NIGHTMARE … and discussing the many Jasons of the original FRIDAY series … I’m warming up to the idea that there need not be a single coherent canon. There can be multiple iterations of Freddy and of Jason and even of Laurie or of Nancy/Heather, and they can co-exist in ambiguous ways. Perhaps H20-iteration Laurie is the idealized self that H2018-iteration Laurie fantasizes/daydreams that she had become — marrying that hunky Adam Arkin and becoming the dean of a prestigious California prep school wear also-good-looking Tiger Beat / Teen People kids roam the halls, and where she decisively and gloriously chops that fucking Michael’s head clean off.

  142. Also, Majestyk, on the last episode of “Majestyk’s tortured relationship with modern horror in general and HALLOWEEN 2018 in particular,” I thought you’d landed at a solid “B” for this one? My end-run around all the hand-wringing is just to radically revise my expectations. Not just lower my expectations, but to recognize that this is the nature of sequels: a sequel that is as good as the original is the exception to the rule, due to a combination of pure regression to the mean and what I am hereby coining the novelty-familiarity paradox, which is that, by definition, we want a sequel to both recapture what we loved about the original and deliver something new, which dooms even the best sequel to have a parasitic, derivative relationship to the original, where it by definition can’t escape the original’s shadow and the constraints of its mythology but can at best extend and build out and play with that mythology. A HALLOWEEN sequel cannot deliver what HALLOWEEN did by definition of its being a sequel. I think you agree with at least 80% of this, just based on your other writing, but I think the invitation is to love a good sequel for what it is, not torture it for what it can’t be. Or leave it alone. I don’t mean this browbeatingly or in a trolling sense. I’m curious for your thoughts on this.

  143. Yeah, but then I watched it again last Halloween and found that after all the handwringing is dispensed with, it just doesn’t entertain me. It’s got individual scenes that work but overall it’s just a badly plotted, overstuffed, self-important nothing of a movie with a horrendous third act. I can’t even grant it “fine for what it is” status anymore. I think it’s mediocre less for the mess it makes of HALLOWEEN’s primal simplicity and more for its own merits as a film. It goes nowhere and takes forever to get there. Good production values can’t counteract that.

  144. Really, it’s that third act that is the problem. It’s fine until the doctor’s heel turn but then I just don’t buy anything that happens after that. And that’s a problem, because a slasher movie really lives and dies on its big showdown. That’s what the whole movie is building toward. So if the climax is bad, it takes the whole movie down with it. So while I’ll concede that while the first two-thirds of H18 is probably better than the first two-thirds of H20 (Well, except for that infuriating scene where Laurie can’t just blurt out “Michael Myers escaped!” before she lets herself get kicked out of the house), H20’s rock ’em sock ’em ending makes it the clear winner for me.

  145. I need to re-watch this one and see how it ages, especially as we are not kidding anyone: I will be watching HALLOWEEN KILLS pretty soon after its out.

    I remember really appreciating the fall aesthetics, the score, they got the mask perfect, and a couple of specific set pieces. I also thought not-actually-Nick Castle was a great shape, and I loved seeing him maskless as just an old balding gray-haired dude. I hadn’t seen that before: all the previous films had implicitly given us a young enough or ageless Michael. There was something satisfying and intriguing about the idea of a Michael, who, whatever his powers or nine lives or “he’s pure eeevill” qualities, is still aging and looking like a regular dude. This Haddonfield felt like a coherent, tied together town, which is something I hadn’t seen in anything since maybe CURSE, and I think this film brought the Haddonfield-as-community theme front in center in a way I hadn’t seen before. This is probably by virtue of the homecoming dance and kids interacting with their parents and a lot of multi-generational shifting in the allocation of screen time. I also like the direction they went with Laurie. There’s really very little I can complain about here.

    Even Loomis, Jr. whom everyone loves to hate. Loomis himself always got on my nerves, as was always miraculously surviving, living to exposit and overact another day. He as obnoxious and off-the-rails, but there was a certain comfort and charm in that: Loomis gonna Loomis. Fake Loomis and his heel turn **ARE** ridiculous, as is the skull stomp, but I got a kick out of it all. You will here me wax pretentious about how MANIAC or MULHOLLAND DRIVE or CARNIVAL OF SOULS or HALLOWEEN 1978 is actually an important bit of cinema that is powerfully affecting, inspired, original, and demanding. You won’t hear me saying that for HALLOWEEN 2018, because it’s not that kind of film. It’s derivative, opportunistic, fan service-y schlock. But it’s handsome, well-executed schlock that mostly plays it straight in the service of giving some effective kills and suspense. A solid slasher sequel.

  146. H2018 – I’ll go back and check for how distracting that third act is for me. I just remember enjoying the showdown at Laurie’s house, especially the stuff with the mannequins and the fall from the window and whatnot.

    H20 – I will grant you that H20 ends strong. Everything else about it is just so un-atmospheric and un-Haddonfield, and the mask is kind of a mixed bag. I find the presence of Josh Hartnett, LL, and Adam Arkin pretty distracting. It’s like a USA network made-for-cable HALLOWEEN sequel. That final showdown is solid though.

  147. Re-watched this one. Very solid as HALLOWEEN sequels go.

    To my surprise, this go-round it’s Jamie Lee that emerges as perhaps my biggest mixed bag reaction. Without a doubt, this film is a non-event and possibly even a non-starter without her (at least as far as Green and McBride’s participation). We needed a variety of factors to align for this to be the minor event picture that it was, but Jamie Lee’s participation easily doubled the box office and made it a marketable event, whereas the other elements made it an actually handsome and rousing picture, enough to give it some legs. Moreover and relatedly, Laurie Strode in Haddonfield confers emotional investment by-association to her family and gives the last act personal stakes and the opportunity for some fun callbacks and inversion of expectations or part 1 tropes. It’s the difference between Michael simply killing randos and one of those randos living vs. this multi-generational struggle with trauma and about what narratives should be built or lessons there are to be learned from that trauma.

    That said, the Laurie character seems very one-note, RAMBO IV Rambo meets Sarah Conner, and not only is she no fun, but she’s not interesting. The Sarah Conner reaction to trauma is an interesting take — or was so when Linda Hamilton introduced it — but it lacks depth and feels hamstrung. By definition, there’s no tenderness or emotional arc: as with T2, a lot happened offscreen between films, and we are left with end product, which is a very guarded, rigid character who doesn’t want others to get too close. Unfortunately, those others include us, the audience members, so, we’re always somewhat distanced from Laura. We cheer her on, of course, delighting in her final-act badassery, but I never really connect to her, because she’s one-dimensional and uninteresting. She’s also a bit over the top in her unhingedness, like in that bistro scene. Basically, she’s the new Loomis. And I do have a few complaints or general credulity obstacles viz the final inferno. Not really seeing Michael melted to ashes does feel like a copout, a bit, and the house is such a firetrap, it’s a little much to accept.

    That said, James Jude Courtney is a fantastic Shape, maybe the best ever. The film is genuinely edge-of-seat tense, the characters and dialogue are great, and the general Myers mayhem-and-weird-predicament-ometer is spiking all over the place, from the gas station to the back of the squad car to the bathroom scene to the multi-house romp to the strobe scene to the bus crash aftermath. For me, once Myers gets caught in the back of the squad car, the film cranks the action-horror-suspense up to 11, does not look back, and it’s quite exhilirating. Top-tier high-tension set pieces. And it looks great. Definitely better than H20, probably better than o.g. H2, though the former definitely has plenty of great moments and ideas.

  148. Slept on it, and just a few more stray thoughts on the H2018 re-watch.

    The overstuffedness – Majestyk is right that the film has a ton going on, but I’m mostly positive on this. Rather than feeling over-stuffed, it just feels pleasingly full of stuff, in the same way FRIDAY 4 does. There are a *lot* of colorful characters, from dad to sheriff to main cop to podcasters to Sartain to kid being babysit — and that’s not even covering the main protagonists or any of the teens, which are the bulk of the film. But I never feel like I’m losing track of who’s who, and the stuffed, variegated nature of the characters, along with the casting choices, characterization, and dialogue is what makes Haddonfield really pop as a lived-in community. We feel like Haddonfield is a place, not so much because of any particularly memorable geography or landmarks, but because of all these personalities and n-degree-of-separation community ties. Even though many of these characters are isolated and share little screen time with the others, there are just enough little touchpoints or Kevin Bacon-esque connections among all these characters for us to feel that this is a community under siege. Even HALLOWEEN 1 only somewhat approximates that.

    This is part of what makes Michael’s rampage so compelling and effective, is because we see him rippling through and touching all of these people on one night, and this relentless prowl-break-end-enter-kill energy is shot in such a manner that it feels convincing. Great editing. Michael doesn’t just randomly show up places. Rather, we follow and feel his momentum.

    That’s the other thing. The more I watch this version and performance of Michael, the more I like it. He moves like the HALLOWEEN 1 shape. The overt callbacks, like the rigid sit-up or the head-tilt, feel like nice little grace notes that are integrated into a coherent overall physicality and interpretation of Michael. This film gets the dance between Michael lying patiently in wait, Michael in efficient, robotic pursuit, and Michael methodically taking care of business. But this film also adds some new elements to Michael that I like.

    First, he’s substantially taller than Nick Castle Michael, but his build isn’t too ridiculously jacked, nor is he Ken Kirzinger ho-ho-ho-ho green giant tall. This meshes in a wonderfully strange way with him being an old boomer Michael. It’s like he not only kept getting older in the sanitarium, but he also kept growing taller or something. He moves and acts very much like the same Michael, he’s just more physically imposing. Something about this feels very Loomis-y, where he was always going on about how the evil in Michael seemed to just take over and seethe and acquire a life of its own. Michael hasn’t just been waiting over these 40 years, it’s like he’s some kind of twisted creature who has keept incubating hate, growing bigger, taller, stronger, and more rage-filled.

    Which brings me to my second point. He’s way angrier! This film borrows one of the best elements of Zombie’s Myers, which is that he is just ferocious. In Carpenter’s original, Michael is not particularly ferocious, he’s simply methodical, clinical, and relentless. Notwithstanding his first kill of Judith, 1978 adult Michael seems mostly about handling his business and getting the job done as quickly as possible, with the mininum amount of sweat, blood, or physical motion necessary to get the job done. 2018 Michael still very much places a premium on relentless, methodocial efficiency, but this time he’s really looking for maximum body count, and he’s got the added goal of doing a lot of physical damage as quickly as possible. He allows a little extra time to overdo it. Even here, some of the kills put greater emphasis on efficiency than artistry, particularly when it’s merely someone in the way of some other pursuit. But there’s a level of brutality we didn’t see in 1978 Michael. It’s like he’s grown more rage-filled and as though 1978 was just a dry run. In this film he is in a hurry to achieve a high body count and directly reach out and touch as many Haddonfieldians as possible. There’s such a great mix here. He’s clinical and efficient and robotic at times, but he’s also much angrier, and he seems to be in a much bigger hurry to make a bigger splash this time. And he also has a bit of that playfulness we say in 1978. The same Michael who took the trouble to put on Bob’s sheet for a goof takes the time to drop a handful of teeth into the bathroom stall.

    So, as much as Laurie is my biggest mixed bag, the Shape is a complete homerun here that sticks the landing of merging the best of Carpenter and Zombie Michael into something new and cohesive and fascinating AND terrifying.

  149. Skani: I agree on some points. The characterization of Laurie is one-note, obstructive, and kind of patronizing, if you ask me. It kind of pains me so say this because Jamie Lee is a national treasure but she stops every scene she’s in dead in its tracks. H20 Laurie is a much more interesting and layered exploration of trauma. She’s extremely damaged and currently in the process of damaging others because of it, but she holds it together in public and isn’t just some cartoon loon with wacky hair and a shack out in the woods. It never occurred to me, but you take Laurie out of H18 entirely and you might have a better movie.

  150. Also, as I said in Round 1 or 2 of this yearly autopsy, when the movie just lets us watch Michael be Michael, it works. I’ll go so far as to add that when it lets us watch the colorful supporting characters be colorful supporting characters, it works. It’s whenever it tries get into what it all means or push any HALLOWEEN lore on us that it dies sputtering on the floor.

  151. I still kinda think that David Gordon Green really wanted to make a Friday the 13th movie but could only get Halloween so this Michael has more in common with Jason than the OG Myers.

  152. Yeah, Majestyk, I’m trying to decide if I’m digging on Sartain out of some submerged contrarianism. He’s just so unhinged that I genuinely did enjoy him this last time around, but I can’t promise that sentiment will hold up. As I said before, I always found Loomis to be a bit much, but there was a charm to it that came with pure repetition — of course, you need Loomis to show up and berate everybody and say “eeevill” and “myyyy-chael” and alternate between low mumble warning mode and practically screaming rebuke mode — wouldn’t be a HALLOWEEN film without it! That’s my problem with Laurie: She and Sartain are kind of splitting the Loomis duties, but Laurie doesn’t give us any of the fun or unintentional comedy of Loomis.

    So, inasmuch as Sartain is a kind of the proper professional successor to Loomis, I’m primed for him to be ridiculous and completely obsessed with Michael, and I kind of enjoy the idea of someone who is perhaps every bit as obssessed with Michael but completely driven by amoral clinical fascination and/or prospects for professional advancement via his study of Michael. This in contrast to Loomis, who is practically the psychiatrist-turned-priest inasmuch as his obsession with Michael is hyper-moralized and quasi-theological. Loomis sees that Michael is beyond medicine and essentially a force of quasi-supernatural evil that can only be contained or destroyed, and this fuels his obsession. Sartain maintains his commitment to a reductive naturalistic / psycho-medical worldview and just thinks that Michael is a really tough nut to crack.

    There is also this theme with both Sartain and the podcasters, where they don’t learn the core Loomis insight, which Laurie does learn: Trying to explain or understand Michael, whether out of curiosity or the quest for professional advancement, is misguided and dangerous. If you play with it or try to get in his head, he will destroy you. Loomis got this, Laurie gets this in spades, but we’re surrounded by others who don’t get it to various degrees. If you’re still alive by the end of the movie, you’re a believer in the Loomis/Laurie “non-theory” of Michael (that he’s pure irreducible evil). And if you fool yourself into thinking that Michael can be solved or peddled, then you’ll meet with a particularly nasty fate even by Michael’s standards.

    Stern – As I try to explain above, Michael/Shape’s moves and general killing strategy is too Michael to be Jason. It embraces the greater brutality of Jason and of Zombie’s Michael, but it’s still very much Michael — the lurking, stalking, lying in wait, robotic/geometrically strategic use of motion. He seems more Shape than Jason, and I love the way Green and Courtney integrate the new elements. Basically, Michael is still Michael, but he’s somehow trying to both cover more ground and do more damage per kill while staying true to his emphasis on process efficiency. This shape deserves a promotion.

  153. SPOILERS FOR HALLOWEEN KILLS

    HALLOWEEN KILLS is great, great fun. If you are up for a fun, smartly dressed slasher carnival ride with mostly shitty dialogue and only the slightest pretense of a plot, then this is the film for you. If you didn’t like HALLOWEEN (2018) and are somehow hoping this will right the ship toward more HALLOWEEN (1978) slow-burn, understated minimalism, then this is decidedly not the film for you. If you are grading it against 1980s slasher heyday slasher films, this is easily somewhere in the 90th-99th percentile.

    *Complaints*
    1. Dialogue – Too much empty and borderline cringe pontificating or speculating on Michael’s power and the nature of eeevilll. Instead of Loomis doing it, or Laurie and Sartain doing it, it feels like all the key cast members get their chance to get their Loomis on. Everyone gets to say some bullshit bumper sticker nonsense about fear and evil and the nature of Michael. Everyone manages to claim that Michael’s rampage is one’s own fault (or that it’s everyone’s fault). I lost of track of how many individuals specifically identified themselves as either being the one who should’ve killed Michael or as the one who yet will / must kill Michael. The dialogue is either that, or else it is self-consciously sassy and quirky Danny McBride-speak

    2. Characterization – Save for the irrepressible Judy Greer and the all-business Shape, none of the characters is particularly sympathetic or multi-dimensional. Pretty much all talk the way a loudmouth asshole at the local watering hole would — Laurie, Hawkins, Tommy Doyle, Lonnie, Sheriff Bracket (a nice callback in principle, but total cringe in execution), Nurse what’s-her-face from when Michael first escaped in 1978. These people are obnoxious even before they become a mob.

    3. The Middle Act – There is some good stuff in the middle act at the hospital, but it sags a little bit, as there’s a lull in the Michael action.

    4. The 1978 flashback shit and the whole Hawkins sub-plot – A mixed bag that mostly fails and probably shouldn’t have made the final cut. Not actually necessary to the story, not particularly well done, makes Michael less scary and mysterious and cheapens the original for no obvious upside. 1978 Michael looks cool, though. 1978 Loomis looks fantastic (I’m half-wondering if they got some of that next-gen deepfake shit going on) and sounds like a little kid making a joke Loomis voice. Ridiculously, embarrassingly bad mis-match to the face and to Donald Pleasance’s voice. Boo!

    *Compliments*
    1. The Shape – This is the perfect slasher. Same energy as 2018, just cranked up a couple more notches. Like Gene with his cowbell, he’s exploring the studio space on this one, like he’s at an all-you-can-kill buffet and wants to try a little of everything. He just gets better in this film.

    2. The kills – This is ferocious, nasty, gory, mean-spirited shit that dances just up to the line of parody but never crosses it for me. Some of the best slashing I’ve ever seen. This movie is carnaged-out as fuck. If you watch a slasher film to see kills, then you can’t not love this film. If you watch it pearl-clutch or critique narrative choices, dialogue, or character motivation, then … are you really a slasher film fan, because the kills are central, fam.

    3. Judy Greer – Second best character in this series.

    4. Less Laurie – Honestly, a little bit of this Laurie goes a long way. I’ve read critics saying that “sidelining” Laurie is the big mistake this film makes or the big obvious flaw. No, it’s not. It’s one of the best things they did, b/c she was a little extra in 2018, and she’s unintentionally goofy here, too. So, less of her is a good thing.

    5. The Hospital rampage – This is a mixed bag, but mostly good. I did not believe that doctors and medical personnel would be swept into the act, though. Still, harrowing shit.

    6. Big John and Little John – This is another thing that I think some critics are dunking on, but I loved them and thought they were one of the better parts of the film. If you approach it from the idea that Michael reclaiming his home is an event, and why not have it be a memorable home invasion, I think this makes sense and works very well.

    7. Ambiance and one-big-movie vibes – If you liked 2018 and the overall Halloween-time atmosphere, and if you like that o.g., HALLOWEEN 2 energy of a film that picks up right after the previous one like it was one big long-ass movie of which this is the middle…you’ll like this. It works as a middle act, just like 2018 (in retrospecct and in context of this one) works as a first act. How/whether they can pull off a satisfying third act is anybody’s guess. They’ve certainly got their work cut out for them.

  154. I’m dealing with a FORCE AWAKENS situation here where the the buzz on the second one sounds up my alley but the first one did such a shit job of beginning the story that it’s simply not possible to do anything satisfying in the world it created. Can’t wait for them to resurrect Loomis in the opening crawl of Part 3.

    I am again struck by how “respected director does massively bloody slasher film for theatrical release” would be my most highly anticipated film of the year if it were an original property but as yet another corpse-humping franchise extension, all it does is fill me with sadness. We’re a truly exhausted culture and we deserve everything that’s coming to us.

  155. The irony here is that there is no way we would get a slasher film with this cast and production values and relentless terror-gore-horror-gore-stalk-more-gore without it being an existing property. HELL-FEST and HAUNT and, I guess, HATCHET are the best we can hope for in the new slasher department. And, here’s the thing: I didn’t enjoy any of those (have not seen the HATCHET films) as much as either of the new HALLOWEEN films, so, it kind of proves the studio right. I think you could still do a nice-looking, decent production values slasher that could be fun and invent a new character, but I think it would have about the same cultural impact as HELL-FEST or HAUNT, which is to say, not much. To get a film with the production values, scope, look, cast like this one, it has to be some kind of big event picture. I see no evidence that there is the appetite for a new, smash hit slasher franchise. The last original run slasher hit franchise we had was SCREAM 1-3 (which I like okay but am not in love with).

  156. But I mean it — if you’ve ever enjoyed a Jason kill or a Michael kill or an also-ran imitator kill (HELL-FEST, VALENTINE, MY BLOODY VALENTINE remake), the stalk-and-slash in this movie is top-tier, maybe best-ever. Of course, no one film is going to do it all, or it would be tonally all over the place. So, it’s not a silly high-jinks, goof kills, teen sex romp type slasher. In a way, I think it actually is “elevated” slasher, in the sense that it strips it of the campier elements, aims to be genuinely scary and horrifying, and then just goes completely gonzo with the kills while still trying to make them look and feel improvised and realistic (vs. cartoonish). It’s violence that is cartoonish in concept but non-cartoonish in execution. It’s like a lot of other slasher films, but I think it does elevate it to a kind of art form, like they looked over the whole corpus of the Jason-Michael type killer, saw what Zombie was adding with his run, and then perfected it.

  157. Yeah. Exhausted cultures don’t want new experiences. They just want to wallow in past glories until they drown in their own self-indulgence. Our incuriousness is monstrous and it will be our downfall.

    Have a good weekend, everyone!

  158. I mean, whatever. Same old shit. What is this, my first day? I’m sure the stabbing is great. I like stabbing. Maybe I’ll appreciate it someday when our culture has deteriorated even more past the point of no return.

  159. See, I will grant that, as far as theatrical releases go, we substantially are in a human centipede era of recycling the 1970s-90s properties or doing comic book movies. However, that doesn’t always happen even now (see, e.g., EMPTY MAN, HELL-FEST), and there is all kinds of new and different horror being done, elsewhere (from MANDY and WILLY’S WONDERLAND, to TALES OF THE MORTUARY and all that ghost-jump-scare shit, to MALIGNANT, to all the A24-core stuff you hate). And, honestly, it’s comments like these that just seem contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. Like, given that all of these other films exist, and given how shitty many of the previous HALLOWEEN entries are by normal standards, what actually is there to be so grumpy about? This moving target, swipe-left animus or aggressively dismissive fault-finding toward most things being made now just smacks of “today’s industry raped my something-hood” or something. I still love you and hope you won’t respond with the an old school “why you pickin on me” hissy fit, but, c’mon. This movie is fun!!! Surrender to fun!!!

    And I don’t even know what to do with your “first day here” comment? Are you the one who has graduated to that secred elevated type of slasher film where awesome kills are so last year / 101 stuff. What is the Advanced Slasher Math formula that today’s slasher film should be delivering? I mean, if you miss the T&A, that would be a legitimate gripe perhaps. Beyond that, I can’t see it.

    I’m not mad, I’m genuinely befuddled and mostly amused at your relentless contrarianism and commitment to your specific notion of the good old days.

  160. I meant my complaints are the same old shit, yet I rant about them as if I only just noticed them. I’m being cynical about my own cynicism. I see how repetitive it is. But so if your response. You’re gonna give your whole spiel about how my feelings are not valid and in fact I’m letting down the whole human race by not thinking some movie that got sold at Best Buy for one week is somehow a balancing factor to our entire mainstream culture being the same five or six properties being remade again and again, swallowing up every promising new artist into the franchise machine before they even get to build a body of work and spitting them out as TV hacks. Nobody I know saw THE MORTUARY COLLECTION. Everybody I know will see HALLOWEEN KILLS, whether they particularly want to or not, because The Brand rules all. All hail The Brand. All thought most flow through The Brand. If a movie drops in the forest and it doesn’t have a Brand, does it make a sound?

    I honestly don’t care WHAT the content of HALLOWEEN KILLS is. It may very well be quite enjoyable. It’ll still be an abomination.

    We’re a society that only writes poetry if it can be worked into the copy on the back of a shampoo bottle.

    You ask me what I want in a modern slasher movie. No fucking idea. That’s kind of what actual artists are for: to show me things I didn’t know I wanted. Not to keep showing me the same shit I wanted yesterday.

    So in answer to your question, I don’t think there was ever a good old days. It was always shit and it’s been getting worse every single second.

  161. Whatever. I act like some kind of prophet of doom but I’m just as much a part of the problem as anybody else. All the things I hate about my culture and my species are things I hate about myself. So I’m sure I’ll see HALLOWEEN KILLS at some point and give it **1/2. Who cares? There’ll be a new one to complain about in a year, after the SCREAM and TEXAS CHAINSAW reboots and just in time for THE EXORCIST. Meanwhile, dozens of indie horror filmmakers will have gone into lifelong debt making their labors of love that like seven people will see.

  162. You are mistaken, my friend. Your feelings — sadness? discouragement? fear? frustration? — completely 102% valid. It’s the broad, sweeping, axiomatically and impreviously misanthropic conclusions and conjectures about films and the universe that you draw from your feelings. Rather than owning your own role and introspecting, you externalize and shit in everyone’s popcorn. Which is fine in a “Lieutenant Dan in the eye of the hurricane on the boat” kind of way, but even Lt. Dan got his metal leg and married a fine gal and then, I don’t know, did the 7th CSI spin-off or some shit. Your last sentence reveals your cynicism not as some testable proposition but as a personal ideology presented as simply the view-from-nowhere way it is. “I feel sad and miss x and long for y” is fine with me. “I feel sad and miss x and long for y, and it’s because everyone and everything is just shit, and ill-intentioned, and will necessarily always be that way” is not fine with me. But by all means, keep shitting in the popcorn, because I love to read what you write, and I enjoy both arguing and agreeing with you,a nd I think you are awesome.

  163. I never said I long for Y.

  164. Sounds like a Morrissey song title or something.

  165. I never said I long for Y
    Or A or B or U or I
    The whole alphabets a heinous lie
    Except the X that marks the spot I’ll die
    *tortured bleating*

  166. Well-played!

  167. Gotta say, Maj’s comment about exhaustion hit home for me. I was feeling exhausted before the pandemic. Admittedly a lot of that is due to my job, the. Atherton I’d see as much as possible because every movie, show, or piece of conte t is potential money.

    But now in the pandemic/reopening world there are so many extra steps in going out to take in a movie, pretty much the only ones I was motivated to do were Bond, F9 and Spiral. I don’t even care enough about Marvel to go out for Shang Chi and Eternals.

    I did see Last Duel and loved it but also felt by then I was so run down I probably could’ve waited and gotten just as much out of it (and no less money these days.) so yeah, franchises are Counting on me to trust the brand enough to brave the new world.

    That said I am still planning to go to Sundance in January so perhaps I’m not totally dead inside yet. And I started watching Squid Game but only because the Netflix algorithm brought it to my attention.

  168. The Atherton? I don’t even remember what I was trying to say there it was so many paragraphs ago, but you get the gist.

  169. Fred, is it all movie-related content you are doing (and hustling around that being the exhaustion), or is it a different day job? Either way, I hope it gets better soon. Also, clearly you were thinking about William Atherton and why we need more of his officious-guy presence in today’s cinema.

  170. Thanks Skani. My fulltime job does involve hustling to different movies and tv shows, and the fact that I can do tv from home (and it’s exponentially more lucrative than one and done films, even sequels years apart( weights tv work considerably. And frankly my editors don’t even necessarily want me covering film. I still care about film so I try but at some point why am I ice skating uphill as it were?

    I could just take in an empty matinee like Vern does.

    I do love that I’ve obviously written about Atherton enough that autocorrect learned it.

  171. As long as you’re taking care of yourself and keeping the lights on, I guess them’s the basics.

    I have not seen a theatrical joint since covid hit and not sure when that will change.

    I do miss the days when movies came out in theaters and were there for awhile before you could watch them at home. You get more faster cheaper these days, but it all feels less special to me, unfortunately. As I’ve said before, I don’t know how much that’s just me getting older and wistful, but it’s how I feel, whatever the case.

    Hope you stay healthy and rested and that the writing is rewarding.

  172. I think you’ve hit on a major source of the exhaustion. I used to see everything that came out in theaters, but now there are multiple block sheets every week. I used to have a few shows I watched every week but now every week there’s a whole season you better watch or you’ll be behind next week when something else comes out.

    I’m not saying I’d prefer fewer options. But as you said, for the options to last longer. Keeping a movie in theaters for months is a good long game, but studios aren’t interested in cultural impact. Nor is social media.

    It makes consuming art feel like work. It actually is work to me, so I can’t imagine how it feels for people who purely watch for fun.

    I will say my current slate requires more office hours than Ive ever had before. I quickly learned I really can’t work 8 hours and then go to a screening and have coherent thoughts about the movie. But I suppose that’s what critics with non industry day jobs deal with anyway. So again, what do I push myself for? Trusted franchises I’m invested in. I won’t miss John Wick 4 and I’ll probably tough it out for West Side Story for Spielberg, but may wait on the acclaimed likes of Titane, Belfast and other awards movies.

  173. Blockbusters, not block sheets.

  174. So over at the good ole Letterboxed these are the star ratings from the people I follow for the film. 1/2 star, 1 1/2 star, 2, 2 1/2, 3, 3 1/2, 4, 4 1/2 and 5. This is literally the most devicisve film I’ve ever seen there. I’m in the 2 star camp. I think the ideas in the film are top notch but with the worst execution. The script is just awful with terrible dialogue and even dumber deicisons. The editing is bad, what they do to characters is a fucking crime. It has a super rushed ending. Sure the gore and kills are good but a lot of it is because the people in it are especially dumb. When Vern reviews it (and I presume really likes it) I’ll probably add some stuff but just know I think it’s terrible and I probably won’t try to be a bumme rabout it when you all rave about it in the comments section of his review.

    Also, I wish I could give all of you the peace of mind I have about going to the movies :(

  175. Stern, I’m good w/ going to the movies, but my wife is really hung up on things until our younger ones can be vaccinated, even though kids that age are more likely to be in a car accident or maybe die of flu than to die of covid. Still working on her, and in the meantime, I’m trying to toe the line between being a good, respectful co-parent and enabling a phobia. Also, although I enjoy the theatrical experience, it’s not a must-have for me (the things I miss about the theatrical experience are mostly the specialness of seeing something new, knowing that’s the only way to see it for awhile, not the sound or “have to see it on the big screen” aspects, which never really mattered much to me).

    Also, since virtualy all the things that you think are dumb also are things I think are dumb, my sense is that the polarization is largely about differences of emphasis as far as what you need the film to be. For me clincher is the way the Shape is realized, which is so perfect in every way — look, movement and behavior, kill creativity and brutality, and overall journey in the film — that I am willing to tolerate a lot of meh and mediocrity elsewhere just for the Shape, because for me he is one the best possible Shape ideas that could be executed, executed as beautifully as I could imagine is possible. I’ll take this over virtually any other HALLOWEEN sequel (though I do like some of the sequels okay enough, they’re in a lower tier).

  176. Put me down as a 3-star, and I can see how that could go up on subsequent viewings (not that I tend to rewatch modern films these days, but in theory). It’s a pretty messy first half but I was on board by the end. I’m here for HALLOWEEN ENDS; it would be funny if it just ends with Myers getting his head cut off again.

    What’s interesting to me is that it’s easy to see the majority of the film being a theoretical third R.Zombie film, it has much of the same foul-mouthed bedroom-bound teenager nihilist worldview and gawping borderline revulsion/admiration for brutal violence. If you trashified it by 10% or so this would be well into Zombie territory, but I think this does a better job than he’s ever done at having moments that are genuinely upsetting rather than just explicit.

  177. The grown adult men who literally check noises at the door alone while the entire town is literally forming an angry mob because Michael myers is on the loose was a bit much even for “I’ll be right back” slasher movies.

    At this point I’m pretty sure no one’s gotten sick from a movie theater, although if I had unvaccinated children I’d be as protective as Skani’s wife. It’s still a rigamarole and I don’t find watching a movie wearing a mask very comfortable. Does anyone else have a problem with masks making your breath shoot up into your eyes? I squeeze the nose part but after a few minutes it gets loose enough for air again. I’m still going to tough that out rather than go maskless of course.

    I did see Halloween Kills at a screening tho. Wasn’t worth it. Peacock would’ve been fine.

  178. Also, Fred, you had me thinking “block sheet” was some insider jargon I didn’t know. So, I was prepared to just go with it.

  179. I heard that Peacock bounces you out as soon as the credits start, which seems ruinous to this movie!

  180. @franchise Fred – no issue with breath shooting up into my eyes, but there must be something to it because I and many other people I’ve spoken to find it impossible to use glasses with masks; They get all misted up.

  181. Vern, it does, but you can bounce back in. In my case, what it did was try to set you up to advance you to PROM NIGHT, just like how Netflix wants to kick you to “Next Episode” of whatever show. You can just opt out, but, yeah, it’s maybe a little jarring. Not sure if you’re joking, but for me it registered but did not notably detract from my experience.

  182. A) most people don’t really stay for credits in the theaters in my experience either

    B) DGG has got to stop with this tap dance that Myers isn’t supernatural because he sure as fuck is lol

    C) They say surgical masks are better than cloth masks but the ones my wife made are never have an issue with breath fogging my glasses while surgical masks don’t fit worth a shit. Thank God I’m probably super immune with my two shots and previous infection.

    D) I understand that kid thing. My main movie friend has a kid and he is taking a break until his can get the vax. Should be soon.

  183. Stern, agreed re (B) – Myers clearly is a supernatural force. I think the mistake is to fall into the trap of false alternatives, where either he is not at all supernatural or else he is supernatural in a way that requires some kind of detailed explanatory mythology for why/how he is supernatural. If he’s only a natural human, then his reslience is just implausible and goofy. If we try to explain the source or cause of his power (e.g., a curse, a genetic anomaly), or if we try to situate him in some grand plot or destiny (e.g., he is the antichrist), we inevitably reduce the mystery to something that is underwhelming at best and flat-out stupid at most-likely. The workable alternative is that he is fundamentally motivated to kill and that he is hyper-resilient but not necessarily immortal. We may think we want to know “why,” but we don’t really, because the answer almost certainly will be less satisfying than the inexplicable mystery. But, yeah, at this point in the current continuity it’s completely implausible to imagine him as simply one tough bastard.

  184. Look out everyone, there’s a maniac on the loose (me) and he’s armed with (mild) SPOILERS

    I thought the ending came down pretty hard on the “he is supernatural” side, unless I misunderstood something?

  185. There’s this thing here were DGG talks about his “concept” of Michael wrt this question.

    Halloween Kills Ending Explained With Director David Gordon Green - IGN

    Halloween Kills is finally here, and the usual question is popping up: Does Michael Myers die in this movie? We spoke to director David Gordon Green about the end of Halloween Kills, as well as the next movie, Halloween Ends. Also, read on to find out if there's a post credits scene in the latest Halloween movie as well.

  186. Allow me to take this analysis extra-meta. DGG thinks that Laurie Strode and others think that Michael is supernatural but that they are wrong / he is not supernatural. I think DGG, Laurie Strode, and all the other conjecturers and theorizers inside or outside the film are wrong to think that they can explain or limit what Michael is. Like Jason in the FRIDAY films, we don’t know what he is, only that he does seemingly supernatural things and he displays seemingly supernatural resilience. I don’t really need or want more than that. I mean, never say never — maybe there is some incredibly satisfying substantive explanation or coherent mythology that is satisfying, but I doubt it.

    Of course, I do want this version of Michael to eventually become zombie undead Michael, but not for about 3 more sequels, and then I’ll reserve the right to ignore or laugh at them if they don’t work.

  187. The only rational explanation is druids lol

  188. Weird. That really does read to me as if he hasn’t seen the ending of his own movie. Or maybe he was trying not to spoil his own movie? Or maybe I’m just wrong?

  189. MILD SPOILERS FOR HALLOWEEN KILLS, BUT NO PLOT POINTS

    Some of this maybe comes down to your threshold for supernatural. I’m not aware of anything Michael does in this film that egregiously violates our plain sense of physics. He’s just supernaturally strong and extremely hard-to-kill (what I mean by “resilient”). That’s one of the things I enjoy most about Carpenter’s iteration and then this film as a kind of hyperbolic riff on that iteration. Michael does things that are kind of like a realist “big man” tall tale folk hero (a la Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry). He doesn’t have obvious psychic powers, or shoot force lightning, and he’s not (yet!) an undead zombie or ghost. He’s just implausibly strong and tough. Also, I feel like this film can be read as supporting my Loomis-y theory that he not only has grown darker and more evil over time, but that he continues to do so: he grew still-darker between 1978 and 2018, and not only that, but he grew physically stronger and larger in stature, like an oak tree or something. HALLOWEEN KILLS’s 1978 Shape has the build of Carpenter 1978 Shape (and is not performer by James Jude Courtney), whereas 2018 Shape is noticeably taller, stronger, and meaner. It would have been easy enough to have James Jude Courtney play 1978 Shape: he moves the same, and ou’d have to do little if any de-aging, since he’s wearing a mask and it’s night shots.

  190. It’s gotta be the shape of my nose/face because it happens with both N95 and regular masks. Small price to pay for not getting COVID but it it’s not the same as seeing a movie in normal times. But that’s not even the hard part. It’s people getting too close to me that makes it stressful.

  191. N95 masks shouldn’t do that so it’s gonna be your weird shaped face lol

  192. Skani – I think it was Drew McWeeny who tweeted that it didn’t let him watch the credits. I know personally I have been enraged on many occasions because for me anyway it’s never obvious what I’m supposed to do, and it’s different for different streaming services, so I often press the wrong thing and have on more than one occasion sat stubbornly re-fast-forwarding through an entire movie multiple times in a row before eventually giving up on figuring it out. It reminds me of being a kid and wasting my quarters on Dragon’s Lair but way worse because I feel like it is personally bullying me for being old and wanting to just watch a fucking movie like a normal person used to do.

    If that happened on this movie, ending in that way, and then it just flips the channel rather than letting me listen to the John Carpenter score, I would have blown a gasket.

    As for that link, I don’t understand Green’s explanation, but I *really* don’t understand why the write thinks the ending relates specifically to part 6. Did he not seem supernatural when he disappeared and became everywhere and nowhere at the end of the first film? He only becomes that way when there’s druids involved?

  193. Yeah, I can relate to that. I have gotten a little stressed out with the Netflix version of that before. In the case of Peacock, it shows you what’s coming up next on the right, and underneath it, there’s a fairly prominent button that says “cancel” (which I guess is a terse way of saying, “you’re running out of time if you’re the kind of sick fuck who likes to watch credits on whatever just ended, so, you better click this button, or else it’s the PROM NIGHT trailer for you!!”

    Bonus, if you do Peacock, they apparently are streaming JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, which I started, and then for no good reason I was genuinely unsure of the ethnicity of the actress who plays the young lady who gets killed on the small boat real early on in MANHATTAN — the one hiding in the hatch that you said went on to write the Emma Roberts NANCY DREW movie. Well, I did not find that information (none of my business, anyway, I guess), but guess what I DID find out? She also wrote the recent Emma Roberts Netflix comedy HOLIDATE, which I also learned was the the #4 Netflix original film in whatever recent year that was. So, given what I already learned from you, I guess maybe she and Emma Roberts are tight (and, yes, they are re-teaming for another upcoming Netflix rom-com, as if you needed to ask).

    But wait, there’s more. Something told me that my question couldn’t end there. So, I popped over to Netflix to see how to watch the full credits for HOLIDATE, if one were ever so inclined. Last thing I want to do is send you over to Peacock and straighten you out with their credits situation, only for you to fall down the same rabbit hole, get curious about HOLIDATE and its end credits, and then leave you in a Netflix end credits situation with only your newfound Peacock knowledge to guide you. Ironically, those Netflix HOLIDATE credits go on for fucking ever before it even thinks about seeing if you want to skip them, and then, guess what: No Peacock-ish “Cancel” button to be found. You believe that? Instead, with HOLIDATE (and Netflix generally) the view of the end credits gets real small and drifts off to the left while it shows you on the right or background the next thing it’s teeing up. But, good news, in the case of Netflix/HOLIDATE, you just click on that small version of the credits on the left, and it comes right back. Boom, you’re watching the HOLIDATE credits again like nothing ever happened. So, now you know a whole bunch of extra vital info, and I suspect that all of it will be of equal and immediate use to you.

    Also, based on having to suffer through 1/5 of the HOLIDATE credits to get to their do-you-want-to-skip-the-rest-of-this-shit? opt, I discovered one more thing. Apparently Kevin Arnold’s dad from the original WONDER YEARS is in HOLIDATE (and doesn’t look any older, wtf?), so, in case you are a fan (or sworn enemy of his), you are now also hopefully set up to make a more informed decision about whether HOLIDATE is your cup of tea.

  194. Also, now I’m thinking HALLOWEEN KILLS should’ve ended by showing Hawkins looking out the hospital window at his own reflection, and he’d scoff, “Fuckin druids.” Then straight to credits (which hopefully linger and progress for as long as you need without kicking you over to the PROM NIGHT trailer).

  195. Going down to SPOLIER town again, which may or may not be Haddonfield, and may even on closer inspection be a city;

    I personally don’t know how to interpret a scene where somebody survives being shot and stabbed multiple times, intercut and overlayed with a speech about how “he’s not just a man, he’s the personification of pure evil” or some such, in a way which doesn’t lead to a conclusion that he’s well, not just a man. But hey, I didn’t make the film. And maybe HALLOWEEN ENDS will change my mind. Maybe it will go FIRST BLOOD PART II novelization-style into details about Myers’ meditation routine in prison, and how that has helped him withstand incredible pain and injury.

  196. Well, nothing says that Laurie has special access to the God’s-eye truth about Michael — she’s not even his sister any more, she’s just someone whose gone down a 40-year rabbit hole of survivalist obsession. So, she has no particularly privileged vantage point to opine on the metaphysical aspects of Michael’s person, actions, or destiny. Accordingly, I wouldn’t take her dialogue as offering the authoritatively true mythology. Rather, she and Hawkins are trying to construct an interpretation themselves — mythologizing on the spot in real-time as they take in this new data. Like everyone else in this film, Laurie seems to be mostly speculating and talking out of her ass, trying to make sense of how Michael’s doing what he’s doing, and why he’s proven thus far unstoppable. So, just because she says it don’t make it so. And maybe that is an important theme of the film — people trying clumsily and speculatively to put words or explanations on events that just don’t make any damn sense, viz., this shouldn’t be happening, and Michael should be dead by now. That said, rather than try to cling to “he’s just a really strong guy,” there’s no denying that he’s something more and other than that. What that is, I’m not sure we can or should know.

  197. It’s not Laurie I was taking at face value so much as the cinematic language. When someone gives a speech saying some guy ain’t normal, and it’s cut to footage of said guy not being normal, my conclusion’s are only going one way.

  198. Yes, I wonder if it’s misdirection. Maybe this is what Vern was talking about on Twitter about the TFA/TLJ parallels. Like, is the idea that this film is trying to take us into Haddonfield group psychology and how this mythology is building around Michael in real-time, when he’s really just a man? They’re seeing him as more than human because they — including Laurie — are in the grip of mass hysteria? I mean, that’s an interesting gambit. Problem is, I see no way of retconning Michael’s feats as something a normal human could do. They’re not physically impossible, they’re just so collectively improbable as to be completely implausible for a mortal man.

  199. I legit have no idea what Halloween Ends is going to look like. Maybe they end up going a Last Skywalker route and we find out she actually IS his sister.

  200. Michael is actually Palpatine.

  201. I’m late to the Skani vs Majestyk debate, but I personally want to say that I’ve seen some damn good movies this year so far.

    NOBODY was great. I loved PIG. TITANE was amazing. There was a great documentary called SUMMER OF SOUL made of long-lost video footage combined with new interviews – that one moved me a lot and I’m not even a connoisseur of the music genre in question.

    Even some of the IP stuff was worthwhile, at least the ones where they found something new to do with the source material. I loved CRUELLA. GODZILLA VS KONG was a hell of a lot of fun, especially all the Earth’s core craziness. You could argue whether THE GREEN KNIGHT counts (though it’s based on an old story that’s been filmed before) but I enjoyed its weirdness a lot. I’m not a musical person but IN THE HEIGHTS had a lot of heart to it. And we haven’t even had the new DUNE on US screens yet – most of what I’ve been hearing has been very positive.

    I’ve never been the type of completist who tries to see every major release, and maybe I’ve been too selective this year to have a fair sample size. But I actually think this year had the highest percentage in my adult lifetime of movies I saw in the theater that made me think “Damn, that was amazing.”

    So I don’t think we’re circling the drain as a culture just because another HALLOWEEN movie got made.

  202. Curt, I am with you on GODZILLA VS KONG — I like all of the “MonsterVerse” films, whereas shitting on that series seems to be a minor recreational sport around this site. I haven’t seen any of the others you have, but will eventually see PIG and GREEN KNIGHT.

    I won’t speak for Majestyk — whom I like and appreciate, he can’t stop me! — but I think when I get fussy about movies, it’s at least somewhat of a general projection of angst about my own life, and it’s very hard for me to be honest and insightful about my own life. When I am fussy about movies, I think a lot of it is that I’m in my feels about various and sundry aspects of aging, including (1) my own challenges and frustrations and unfulfilled dreams and (2) what I feel the internet has done to culture, film, and society.

    In the meantime, as far as the horror aspect, I’m thankful for the current HALLOWEEN series, which I think is a big net plus for horror and horror fans. Same with the upcoming SCREAM, though we’ll see how it does (I was pleasantly surprised by READY OR NOT). I would like to see a couple new slasher series get started and have legs, even if just via Shudder or something. I looked up, and it looks like even HELL-FEST was quite profitable, and decent horror movies can be relatively cheap to make if you have talented people. At the end of the day, a substantial element of HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN KILLS is Michael Myers slicing and dicing mangling the shit out of people, and it’s huge bonkers box office, so, I think the problem is just a lack of effective slash-imagination in the filmatism and marketing angle.

    In general, I think there is a lot of good horror happening, but not even good slashing happening, and I think that is a genuine market failure. Blumhouse or Shudder or someone needs to invest in an actual cool new slasher film. Spend $20M on four new low budget slasher concepts to see which one works, make it an event / kickstarter thing (hell, do a fucking reality show about making it), one of them will be good, the whole thing will be profiable, world saved.

  203. Explain me away all you want. I think you’d have to be a lunatic to think our collective imagination is in a healthy place right now. Nearly everything we make is self-conscious and secondhand. We’re sick and indulgent and dishonest about what we want and what we are. Our culture is a fortune cookie: a flavorless knockoff with a trite, pandering message wedged into its hollow, nutrient-less interior. We pretend merchandising is art and think that will be enough to sustain us. It won’t. We spent that capital long ago. Our culture is dying the death of a thousand Xerox’s and despair is the only rational reaction.

    Is some of this decadence entertaining? Sure. I bet Nero played some sick tunes while Rome burned.

  204. Talk about explaining away … CRAWL, MANDY, MIDSOMMAR, SHUDDER, THE GUEST, READY OR NOT, BABYSITTER, IT FOLLOWS, COLOUR OUT OF SPACE, ANNIHILIATION, Flanagan NETFLIX stuff. And in all of this, we look back fondly on the era when Paramount and New Line would churn out a new, cash-grabby sequel every year as if these were the halcyon days of cinematic integrity and creativity. Sorry, not buying it.

  205. Wow. Ten whole things, none of them more than a middling success. We’re living in a golden age!

  206. Those are literally top-of-the-dome things, selected precisely to avoid franchises / IP. I could go on. DON’T BREATHE, THE MEG, MALIGNANT, all that CONJURING shit (which is a newer franchise, not an old one), HAUNT, GHOST STORIES, NIGHTMARE CINEMA, THE RANGER, on and on. With respect to horror cinema in particular, what was more “golden” about, say, 1988-2003? The SCREAM franchise and BLAIR WITCH? Neither of those gets a ton or re-watch from me. What two eras are you comparing? 2010-2020 vs. the entire prior history of horror, selectively compressed into a single bucket that allows you to cherry-pick the best shit, romanticize other shit (like we do with F13 and NIGHTMARE sequels), and ignore all the dreck?

  207. You are arguing from a false premise. You keep insisting that I am arguing that there was a golden era we should return to. I am not. Full stop. Every era of popular culture has had the same problem, but the severity increases exponentially with each generation. I have no desire—none—to return to any previous era. I want us to get better. To do better. But that’s not happening. We have acquiesced entirely. We have accepted the logic that art is just a cereal box and as long as everybody gets a turn on the cover, it doesn’t matter what mass-produced kibble is on the inside. Frankly, I’m not sure we ever had a chance. This is the inevitable endgame of capitalism-controlled culture. We’re in the tailspin now and we aren’t going to pull up.

    I’m not taking anything away from the counterexamples you mentioned, even the ones I’d rather get a urinary tract infection than sit through. Even in our death throes, there will be glimpses of hope along the way. Every battle has heroes. Especially the losing ones.

  208. My premise is that you are arguing in a circle, pushing a narrative that everything was always shitty but is somehow getting shittier up until some shittiness singularity is reached. Like any apocalyptic or utopian religion, your religious meta-narrative is completely unfalsifiable and impervious to empirically observed events (which can always be rationalized or dismissed), the imagined utopian alternative is ill-defined and conceptually elusive, and it largely amounts to a general state of recalcitrant, glass-perpetually-mostly-empty malaise. Boo!

  209. And I think you’re just the same old head-in-the-sand wishful thinker who accepts table scraps and pretends that’s a meal. Maybe let’s just call it a day because on a fundamental level there is no possibility of overlap in our worldview.

  210. I disagree. I think you exaggerate my view as pollyanna optimism out of a need to see me as your yang opposite, but this is a false equivalence. I think we need Medicare for All, much more robust social safety nets, major democracy reform, major regulation of big pharma. Economically / politically, I’m more in the Bernie / Elizabeath Warren / Dean Baker / Matt Bruenig camp. I think some of the climate despair is exaggerated. It’s not a question of wishful thinking, it’s a question of being a constructive human being in a harsh, always imperfect world.

  211. I don’t need to make you anything, man. You’re the one who’s making up shit about me and my internal life like you know me. I say how I see the world and you tell me it’s all in my head. You’re the husband in a haunted house movie. Sure, the walls are bleeding and there’s a portal to a hell dimension in the guest bedroom, but don’t you think you’re exaggerating, honey? I mean, look at the deal we got on the place! And didn’t you say you really liked the kitchen cabinets? How can a house be a nexus for demonic activity AND have finely crafted woodwork in one room? It’s impossible for something to be untenable overall and yet have a few positive aspects! Stop being such a sillyhead! You’re probably just on the rag or something!

  212. Ugh. Sorry for letting the full demon out. You’re fine. Enjoy whatever movies you want. Please don’t speculate about my mental state again if you would like us to remain friends.

  213. Oh, darling, are you out of laudaum already? I think there’s a difference between being a sillyhead and reflexively insisting that no kind of movie porridge tastes just right, no matter how much there is and how varied and plentiful it is (A24 style, Flanagan-style, exploitationy VFW / DON’T BREATHE style, reboot / sequel style, SHUDDER style) and then extending beyond horror movies to a grander narrative that life, economics, cultural, and personal meaning are for saps and posers are hopelessly and definitionally doomed and that any attempt to push back on tha dead-end bummer narrative is some kind of pollyana-and-tony-robbins-had-a-love-child gaslighting, when really all it is is just giving some pushback to your relentless contrarian-nihlism-as-religion.

  214. Finally – Sorry, if this comes at a bad time or if you are hurting. I will back off, but not without inviting you to consider backing off of the gratuitous negativity. Wishing you only the best and sorry for being too aggressive. Take care.

  215. This reminds me of Marked For Death.

    Skani thought he was invincile.
    Mr. Mr thought he could fly.

    They were both wrong.

  216. It’s fine. I don’t have “good times” so there’s no right or wrong day to go hard. Overall I’m doing pretty okay right now (got a new job I don’t hate, writing steadily, staying the fuck away from people) but the underlying dirge that is my personal soundtrack never fully fades. We’re never not doomed but some days I find the humor in it. That’s about as much hope as I can muster.

    I could probably stand to shut the fuck up about it, though. You’re right about that.

  217. Glad that’s sorted. I will certainly agree with you and Keynes that “in the long run, we’re all dead.”

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