"I take orders from the Octoboss."

The Shape of Evil: confronting darkness through the ‘Halloween’ series

A new publication called Drugstore Culture recruited me to write some stuff for them, so over the past month or so I rewatched the entire HALLOWEEN series (including the two Rob Zombie ones) and wrote about it as a whole.

This is pretty different from my usual approach. I tried to dig non-judgmentally into the symbols of each chapter (even RESURRECTION!) to find deeper meaning we can apply to our current world or to things I’ve been going through in my life. I was surprised how much I found in III and 6, actually. It’s kind of a weird piece I think but perhaps obsessive in an unusual way, and hopefully some of you will like it.

By the way, I filed this before seeing the new one, so the bad news is I should’ve added a few lines about it, the good news is there are no spoilers for that particular one. Just ten other movies.



They ran out of money before paying me and the websight isn’t even there but here it is on archive.org:



This entry was posted on Friday, October 26th, 2018 at 2:15 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). 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.

16 Responses to “The Shape of Evil: confronting darkness through the ‘Halloween’ series”

  1. A handy guide to choosing your journey through the Halloween mulitverse:

    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

  2. Super enjoyed reading it Vern

  3. Excellent overview/defense of the series, Vern. Your takeaway on it sounds a lot like Carpenter’s, which he expressed at then very end of his first commentary track for HALLOWEEN: “If there’s any point to be made in the film, it’s that you can survive the night. […] Being aware of evil is an important thing in life. All children need to be told that the world can be bad, and dark, and dangerous. But with a little luck and awareness, you can survive.”

    I think of this quote, delivered so matter-of-factly in that indelible calm and confident Carpenter way, when I need a little pep talk. I think this concept, of facing the boogeyman and realizing you’re stronger than it, even if just by a little, is what got me into horror as a scaredy-cat young kid in the first place. Really, isn’t that what most horror is about? To look the night in the eye, to know it for what it is, to fight it with whatever defenses you have, no matter how weak or few, and maybe, just maybe, live to see the dawn. It applies to any and all challenges, obstacles, or trauma we may face.

    So just remember what old John Carpenter does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, John Carpenter just looks that big old storm right square in the eye and he says:


  4. Great piece, Vern. I read bits of it to my wife and she talked a little about how that same feeling- not the fear of death, but the idea that you might get away in the end- is what really drew her to true crime shows after the death by suicide of a close family member. As she put it, “if these folks can get through the worst day of their lives and come out the other side, than so can I.”

  5. Awesome Mr. M. That was a great read too.

  6. Excellent analysis and glad you’re getting some freelance work.

    I realized something similar on my last rewatch of Nightmare on Elm Street Series. It’s not about who Freddy kills. It’s about who’s strong enough to face him. It’s not the martial artist or the wizard. It’s usually the girl everyone underestimated.

    It’s why I love H2O so much. And maybe why I love Busta Rhymes kickboxing Michael Myers. But seriously, it’s the survivors that give us hope, whatever the evil is.

  7. Crushinator Jones

    October 29th, 2018 at 11:09 am

    This was a very good article, thanks Vern.

  8. Great write-up, Vern. You just made my crappy Monday worthwhile.

  9. Awesome work Vern. This was a great read!

  10. Oh dang I just watched the newest HALLOWEEN and wanted to revisit this article, but it looks like the site’s shut down. Too bad, I’d love to read it again.

  11. Oh, fuck. I better create a backup. Also I spent a month on that essay while grieving and didn’t get paid for it.

    Here it is on Internet Archive though:


  12. Another nonpaying site. Fuck, man.

  13. The person who recruited me was not at fault. Suddenly there was an email saying that there were financial problems, the entire editorial board had resigned and to address financial questions to so and so. I assume they didn’t get paid either.

  14. This is a great essay, Vern, and brought a new layer of meaning to a film I love (and even the flawed-to-bad by comparison Michael Myers oriented sequels) . When I first read this last fall I was feeling intense existential dread – having to suddenly prepare for and flee potentially home-destroying storms on the heels of the U.N. climate report – and the essay brought me a sense of gritty solace. It’s one of my favorite things you’ve written. Thanks!

  15. Dang that sucks they didn’t pay, but I’m glad to reread it. Really is a great article that nails what puts Michael Meyers on a higher level than any other horror villain.

  16. Wow just realized I missed a big opportunity to refer to The Shape as “a cut above the competition”, so that’s on me. You live and you try to learn I guess.

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