"I'll just get my gear."

Halloween Kills

HALLOWEEN KILLS is the controversial new film from director David Gordon Green (YOUR HIGHNESS). It is a sequel to his 2018 film HALLOWEEN, which was a sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 film HALLOWEEN, but not any of the other nine HALLOWEEN movies. It’s in the unusual (unprecedented?) situation of being a slasher movie that’s the middle chapter in an already planned and greenlit trilogy – I see it as part 2 of Green’s HALLOWEEN II series.

When I went to the first show on Friday I had already seen enough comments online to sense that many or most people disliked, strongly disliked, or flat out despised HALLOWEEN KILLS, in many cases sounding like they were prepared to live for decades as recluses building traps and practicing firearms on mannequins to prepare for when it comes for them again. I clearly don’t have my finger on the pulse of what other horror fans are looking for these days, because I’m positive had I seen it before hearing anything about it I would’ve figured it would go over well. As a guy who enjoys all but one of the HALLOWEEN movies on some level and will keep watching them over and over forever, I feel like it’s plain as day that KILLS has more on its mind than most of them, looks way better than most of them, and finds an approach that’s very different from what we expect or are used to, feeling fresh and new despite being more reverent of the first film than any previous sequel. It’s the kind of thing where if I didn’t like it so much I would have to at least respect it. But many people obviously don’t see it that way.

I think there’s a comparison to be made to another 21st century legacy sequel trilogy to a beloved late ‘70s classic. HALLOWEEN (2018) was a little like THE FORCE AWAKENS in that it won people over by crafting a more nostalgic stylistic approximation of the original than previous followups, plus bringing back the original star and having her serve as the veteran among a new cast. Now HALLOWEEN KILLS follows THE LAST JEDI in the sense that it says okay, we’re back in that world you love, now let’s try something different from what you may expect. And also in that it deconstructs some of the usual movie ideas of heroism.

Of course, THE LAST JEDI is hopeful and compassionate. HALLOWEEN KILLS has a much more bleak attitude. It’s more of an EMPIRE STRIKES BACK – it brings us to a low point that we can hopefully rise up from in the next one. We’ll see.

(This will be a HEAVY SPOILER review)

Green and his co-writers Scott Teems (Rectify) and Danny McBride (THE FOOT FIST WAY) have made a direct sequel to both the ’78 and ’18 films, but taking a more epic approach than we’ve seen in a slasher sequel before. I came out of the theater thinking of it as ONCE UPON A TIME IN HADDONFIELD. Like the 1981 HALLOWEEN II and the opening dream sequence of the ’09 HALLOWEEN II (another widely-loathed installment that I rank highly) it continues into the Halloween night of the previous film, with a mysteriously surviving Michael Myers/The Shape (James Jude Courtney, THE HIT LIST) still loose while Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, ROAD GAMES) is stuck in the hospital. But rather than being about a few people stalked by Myers near and at the hospital while most of the town sleeps, most of the town is either at the hospital or out stalking Michael. Many, including Laurie, assume he’ll show up there to kill her, though (as Will Patton’s Officer Hawkins tries to explain), he doesn’t necessarily know who the fuck she is. In the ’18 film his doctor dropped him off at her house to see what would happen.

In its cold open, KILLS brings back some HALLOWEEN ’18 characters. Remember, Laurie Strode’s teenage granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) had a boyfriend named Cameron (Dylan Arnold, FAT KID RULES THE WORLD) who she ditched at the dance because she saw him with another girl. I really liked that the last movie left him randomly alive rather than going for the cheap “he deserves it for cheating” kill.

But maybe that makes him a loose end. We open with Cameron still in his Bonnie Parker costume, out in the dark, frantically trying to get ahold of Allyson to apologize to her. But he sees a body – Officer Hawkins, in fact – left on the train tracks, and climbs a fence to check on him. Oh shit, sorry ex-boyfriend, it was fun while it lasted, but you’re Alice in the opening of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II. You’re Marion in the opening of HALLOWEEN H20. You’re Laurie in the opening of HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION. You’re fucked.

Or so you would think! Instead he discovers that Hawkins is still alive and successfully calls to get him help. And then we flash back to Halloween 1978, shortly after the events of Carpenter’s film. In the ’18 film Hawkins said that he was there in ’78 as a rookie. Now we see how it went down, and learn why the events were specifically traumatic to him (played by Thomas Mann [BLOOD FATHER] in these scenes). We learn that he, like his maybe-sometime-special-friend Laurie, blames himself for Myers still being alive and killing people, and believes it’s on him to end this. So not only is he still alive, but he’s all primed to be our co-lead and help Laurie save the day.

Maybe next time! He got stabbed in the fucking neck. In this movie you actually have to take time to heal from shit like that, so he’s out of the game.

I didn’t expect ’78 flashbacks, and they’re really well done – Green and d.p. Michael Simmonds (MAN PUSH CART, BIG FAN) switch to more controlled Carpenter style compositions and camera moves, and of course Carpenter himself is doing the score (along with his bandmates Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies). These scenes also feature Dr. Loomis in what I assumed was some ROGUE ONE c.g. type business but is reportedly a guy (Tom Jones Jr. [no relation], also construction coordinator) in very good makeup. And do you remember how Tommy Doyle, the kid Laurie was babysitting in ’78, was all worked up about “the boogeyman” because that little shit Lonnie Elam harassed him about it at school? The KILLS flashbacks even fill in an incident where we learn that Lonnie himself (now played by Tristian Eggerling) was bullied, and then had a terrifying encounter with the actual boogeyman.

Why would it get that into the weeds with such a minor ’78 character? Well, remember we knew in ’18 that Cameron was Lonnie’s kid. Seemed like an Easter egg at the time, but now we move to a nearby bar where grown up Lonnie (Robert Longstreet, less grouchy than in Midnight Mass, but similarly lovable) is putting on a goofy Halloween talent show with friends. Not just any friends: Lonnie and other survivors of what I wish they would refer to as “the Babysitter Murders” are commemorating the 40th anniversary of that horrible night by being drunk and silly together. Anthony Michael Hall (WEIRD SCIENCE) plays Tommy, while Kyle Richards (EATEN ALIVE, THE CAR) actually returns as Lindsey Wallace, the kid Annie Brackett was supposed to be babysitting who ended up with Laurie and Tommy. Nancy Stephens also returns in her ’78 role as Loomis’s nurse Marion Chambers.

(notes: Lindsey was a minor character in HALLOWEEN 4, played by a different actress. Tommy was the lead character in HALLOWEEN 6, played by Paul Rudd. Stephens first returned as Marion in the opening of HALLOWEEN H20. But Lonnie had not been seen since the first movie, and this is the first time we’ve seen any of them together in the same sequel)

Across town, Michael escapes Laurie’s burning house, and, though the fire department are ready to defend themselves with axes, he slaughters them in spectacular fashion; it’s the second slasher movie of the year with a massacre that seems more like THE NIGHT COMES FOR US than FRIDAY THE 13TH. This puts the new murders on the TV and phones of everyone at the bar. People try to head home, but Vanessa and Marcus (Carmela McNeal and Michael Smallwood, who I didn’t realize were in ’18, I’ll have to rewatch it), think they see Michael breaking into their car. Sensing an opportunity to fulfill his life long revenge fantasies, Tommy takes a baseball bat from behind the bar and leads the other patrons to the parking lot. The bat is named “Old Huckleberry” and has hung on the wall of Mick’s Bar for three generations, so Tommy’s representing decades of Haddonfield history, as well as the sense that one is entitled to just take someone else (Brian Mays Sr., JOE, MANGLEHORN)’s meaningful relic without permission. He’s obviously justified in his lust for vengeance, but looks unsettlingly excited about it, approaching the car posing like The Punisher.

Do you remember, though, that in the ’18 film Michael escaped when a transfer bus crashed, and there were other patients wandering around in the night, confused? That didn’t need to be anything more than a callback to his escape from the hospital in the ’78 film, but now it’s become an important plot point. The guy they’re chasing is not Michael, it’s one of those other patients, credited as Tivoli (Ross Bacon), terrified and running for his life. I can’t off the top of my head think of another horror movie that acknowledges when we should feel sympathy for an “escaped mental patient.”

That’s another thing I think is interesting about KILLS: it pays unusual attention to following up on the consequences of everything that happened in the previous film. I’ve always liked that in the ’81 HALLOWEEN II (as well as FRIDAY THE 13TH III and IV) you see police responding to the murders from the previous film. Zombie, in his ’09 HALLOWEEN II, showed some extra gruesome crime scene and hospital aftermath, treating the repercussions of the violence more seriously than is standard in the genre, and I think Green pushes that idea to another level. I can’t think of another slasher sequel that takes such pains to show the ramifications of everything that happened before, and not just move on to the new stuff. The death of Laurie’s son-in-law Ray keeps coming up – his wife and daughter will remember him even in the midst of this, and become sad again. The remains of part I victims (like the guy whose head was turned into a jack o’ lantern) are still being discovered. Well into the movie, as the hospital is in chaos, a woman (Holli Saperstein, Vice Principals) comes in trying to find her son Oscar, who we know from ’18 is already dead. And it’s a while later when she makes the devastating discovery, spotting his gruesome corpse through a window, the workings of Haddonfield too damaged by The Shape for someone to be there to break the news to her.


I know some of my friends complained about perceived faults in technical aspects, such as the editing. I had no such issues, and certainly didn’t have any problems following what was going on. But I don’t agree with the notion that horror is the same as action, even if a few scenes here treat it as such. Most of my favorite fight scenes are about the beauty of movement, and that’s definitely not what I want from The Shape killing people. I would rather wince at what he’s about to do to somebody, and feel it in my gut when it happens. Sometimes that means a sustained shot (crushing someone’s skull with his hands) but often the images come in a quick stab. To me the violence here is very effective. I would honestly be more receptive to arguments that it’s too effective – too many undeserving people facing too much pain in too short an amount of time.

In my recent reviews of the FRIDAY THE 13TH series I complained about some chapters centering on a bunch of teens who are dicks to each other. I like that in this only the little kids are assholes (and loving it). There’s a trio of trick-or-treaters in HALLOWEEN III masks who are like a real world Lock, Shock and Barrel from THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. The scene where Lindsey finds them at the park and they’re giggling about “there’s a creepy man in a white mask, and he keeps, like, trying to play hide-and-seek with us” is so funny and scary at the same time. “I mean, we’re not three years old.”

It’s not a surprise that Green is so good with kids – the mostly young ensemble cast of his first feature GEORGE WASHINGTON (2000) were nominated together for “Best Debut Performance” at the Independent Spirit Awards, and one of the funniest characters in the ’18 HALLOWEEN was Julian, who in this one Marcus knows as “that asshole kid across the street.” In fact, regardless of age, Green has always shown an eye for recognizing funny and unique people and letting them shine as oddball characters in his films. He convinced McBride, a film student friend from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts who later told the L.A. Times, “I never envisioned a career in acting. I never really thought about it,” to play the obnoxious character Bust-Ass in the 2003 film ALL THE REAL GIRLS. A lesser known example is the character actor Eddie Rouse, who started in Green’s short films before appearing in GEORGE WASHINGTON, ALL THE REAL GIRLS, UNDERTOW, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and THE SITTER, as well as AMERICAN GANGSTER, PANDORUM, DRAGON EYES and PUNCTURE WOUNDS.

The strange way this talent of Green’s applies to slasher movies could be seen in ’18 and continues here: he quickly invests us in lives that are about to be ended. I mentioned in my review of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III how much I like watching those hippies who own the store at the beginning (even though they’re bickering). Green excels at creating pre-terror slices of life in that tradition, never resorting to the kill-fodder approach (the banana-eating hitchhiker in FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER) or the guy you’re supposed to hate (the abusive husband or the shock jock in HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MYERS). Green makes the characters so funny and likable that their deaths hurt to watch more than I’m used to in this type of movie. I mean, that poor kid who told his dad he wanted to be a dancer! I didn’t want to see him go through that!

For me the most upsetting scene in KILLS comes early on, when we briefly meet a grumpy older couple, Sondra (Diva Tyler, THE LAST EXORCISM PART II) and Phil (Lenny Clarke, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY). Sondra is flying a drone around the house and Phil is complaining that he loaned his sleep apnea mask to someone and now it smells like cigarettes. As Sondra tells him, that’s actually the smell of Laurie Strode’s house burning.

Before you know it Michael is there and performs what in any Jason movie would be an A+ “kill,” but seeing it happen to these two is fucking grim. A gut punch like that may be at odds with wanting to have fun watching a horror movie, but I think it’s appropriate for HALLOWEEN. Which one of the ’78 deaths would you say was “fun”? When do you think Michael was not being “mean-spirited”? Green reminds us not to be glib about death, even as it entertains us in movies. Zombie took a similar approach with his Shape’s animalistic violence, but I think Green’s comes across less rubbing-your-face-in-the-shit just because there’s more joy in the movie before the violence, and fewer people screaming at each other about skull-fucking or whatever. Maybe it’s still not a feeling you want out of horror. It’s not what I came looking for. But I accept the challenge.

I must also tip my hat to Big John (Scott MacArthur, THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN) and Little John (Michael McDonald, not the singer but the writer/director of the 1995 BUCKET OF BLOOD remake starring Anthony Michael Hall), the couple who live in the old Myers house and get into a tiff with the kids in the Silver Shamrock masks. I’m glad there are some new characters who get to stay alive for a while.


Michael Myers stalking citizens of Haddonfield is an expected/required element of a non-Season-of-the-Witch HALLOWEEN, but this story is just as much about citizens of Haddonfield stalking Michael Myers. There was also a vigilante posse in HALLOWEEN 4, but here it’s done on a much larger scale and intended as more of an exploration of Carpenter’s “boogeyman” metaphor. Tommy, Laurie and others have picked up the tradition of Loomis’s grandiose speechmaking, referring to Myers as “the evil” and somehow interpreting that he has “transcended” beyond being human. (I agree with criticisms that some of this is heavy-handed and forced, but I don’t see it as a dealbreaker.)

The hospitals of the HALLOWEEN IIs were quiet and empty. This time most of the town goes there looking for loved ones, like in a disaster movie. I had some rough nights bringing my mom to the emergency room, so I recognize this overwhelming stress of waiting in the chaos with no one to help. Tommy, Lindsey and company show up and Tommy makes a rabble-rousing speech about ending the evil of Michael Myers. Returning ’18 character Sheriff Barker (Omar Dorsey, DRUMLINE) tries to calm everybody, but holy shit, that’s returning ’78 character former Sheriff Brackett (Charles Cyphers, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, in his first movie in 14 years), now working as a hospital security guard, getting emotional because Michael killed his daughter Annie all those years ago.

Tommy’s posse has grown into a mob, and then it becomes a riot. Though the movie was filmed and originally scheduled for release well before the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack, you can’t help but make comparisons. In the real life riot, extremists were ignorantly raging against an imaginary threat; in the reality of the movie, regular people are upset about an actual guy leaving bodies piled up across town. But it’s hard to discount the truth of the scenario when we’ve had small towns across America patrolled by husky bearded dudes armed with assault rifles and paranoid fantasies about “Antifa” bussing to their town to burn down businesses in the name of racial justice. That the boogeyman is not real never stopped anyone from acting a fool.

I think it would be fair to say that, timely or not, this theme that The Shape is our fears and these are the ways our fears get the better of us is not profound enough to earn so much underlining. That the boogeyman idea was perfect for the exact length of Carpenter’s film and becomes flimsy when extended two movies further. I kinda feel that way, but I admire the audacity of it. And I think the idea of the whole town being morally tainted by their reactions to The Shape extends into a deconstruction of cinematic heroism.

When Laurie finds out Michael is alive, she – against protests from her more sensible daughter Karen (Judy Greer, CURSED) – gets out of bed, shoots herself up with painkillers, and goes out there to—

—ah, fuck. She immediately unseals her stab wound and has to go back to her room. I told you – you have to heal in this movie! So Laurie and Hawkins, who blame themselves for not killing Michael, are stuck at the hospital from their injuries during the previous film. But Laurie riles up Tommy: “We fight. We always fight. Go! Find him, Tommy!” Everybody else who survived either the ’78 or ’18 rampage decide they have to go after Michael and kill him – convinced that if they’re angry enough, and brave enough, they can do the thing Laurie and Hawkins failed to do. They say all the cool stuff they’re supposed to about the badass stuff they’re gonna to do him. In most movies one or more of them would succeed. This is not most movies. It’s only after most of the significant characters have lost fights to the death with The Shape that Laurie decides, “He’ll always be here, won’t he? Even when we can’t see him. You can’t defeat it with brute force.” A little late.

Karen is the heart of the movie. After the events of the previous film she better understands her mom’s paranoid lifestyle, but she’s not on board with this vigilante revenge idea. (Maybe she’s seen A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET or HALLOWEEN 4.) She tries to convince her daughter and then her mom that it doesn’t make sense for them to go after him, that the police can handle it better, that “there’s a system.” But everybody else agrees with Laurie that “The system failed.”

Representing innocence in the movie, Karen is responsible for the most heroic act: physically standing between the violent mob and Tivoli, who they have mistaken for Michael Myers. Choosing to trust rather than the opposite, to stand up to the mob rather than join it. I’m amazed that a HALLOWEEN sequel got my heart beating fast in a sequence where the heroine is trying to protect an escaped mental patient, not evade one.

But the horrible outcome of that incident crushes Karen’s world view. Later, when she (in a more normal horror movie version of heroism) steals Michael’s mask and lures him away from her daughter to the posse of vigilantes, Tommy recognizes and respects her original position that people should be staying with their loved ones and healing. He tells her to go back to the hospital and be with her mom. Instead she plunges a knife into Michael’s back. Revenge for killing her husband, or for traumatizing her mom, or for causing her to grow up the way she did. Both literally and figuratively, she sees what it’s like to look out from Michael’s dead sister’s bedroom window. Giving in to violent urges is what dooms you in this one, not having sex. Isn’t that worth doing one time?

I’ve noticed some of the people who hated HALLOWEEN KILLS saying that “nothing happened” or that it’s all “wheel spinning,” and I haven’t been able to make sense of that. It bothers me that so many people consider pushing along to the next big thing in the narrative to be the only point of storytelling, and don’t have as much respect for things like mood, anticipation and just spending time hanging out with interesting characters. But I don’t think that’s the disagreement here, because I don’t see any way to calculate that less, you know, stuff happens than in any other HALLOWEEN. Maybe it feels different to them because, as a planned middle chapter, it’s able to stray from the central characters more often, and to end without the expected moment where it seems like the good guys won. I wouldn’t want all slasher movies to do this, but I love that this one recognizes why it can, and takes advantage of the opportunity.

(If I’m gonna lavish praise on this ending though I gotta acknowledge that HALLOWEEN 5’s is way more audacious, giving us a what-the-fuck twist without any clue what it even meant, and that’s not enough to make it one of my favorites.)

I’m not arguing that HALLOWEEN KILLS is a perfect movie, but luckily perfection is not something I seek in most movies, much less slasher sequels. For me, anything that’s heavy-handed or forced about KILLS is far outweighed by what’s new about it, what’s ambitious about it, what’s unexpected about it. I love that, like Zombie’s second HALLOWEEN film, they seemed to have considered how you would make a HALLOWEEN sequel if none of the other HALLOWEEN sequels existed. I love that it’s so worshipful of John Carpenter but not at the expense of being pure David Gordon Green.

It’s possible that a more normal but well-crafted sequel to HALLOWEEN ’18 would’ve satisfied both me and the people who hated this one. But man, there are so many normal sequels in the world already, and there will be so many more. Let us have this one. You’ll get plenty more for you. And maybe some day some of you will start to appreciate this one.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 at 6:48 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.

195 Responses to “Halloween Kills”

  1. Awesome review Vern. Really echoes so many of my own thoughts as I was watching this thing, stunned by the pans rolling out on my Twitter feed.

    Have you ranked these movies by chance? Honestly debating whether I need 4 and 5 in my life now that they’re in 4K and I’ve never seen them.

  2. Another terrific review. This is great writing. Truly. It drives me crazy to read self-centered print critics like Owen Gleiberman only superficially engage with the movie and instead try to prove their own literacy with cute bullshit. In contrast, this right here, is a serious, observant and beautifully composed deep dive on a genre movie and it’s fucking great. Keep em coming.

  3. Agreed, great review, and I’m so glad you liked it. As you note, it’s clear that David Gordon Green either studied and appreciates Zombie’s Shape, or else it’s just convergent evolution. Whatever the case, these films really sand the rough, stupid edges off of Zombie’s films, grafting the best aspects of his take on the Shape with the Carpenter shape. I would not have guessed that you could or should try to integrate those two takes on the Shape, but it’s a thing of beauty. As you say, those kills really hurt, because they’re devastating, ugly, and, this time, they hit robust, likable, real folks. The dialogue is generally bad, but the Shape and his journey are so well-realize in every way that I think this and 2018 stand with the original as my three favorites in the non-Zombie series. I think we need to see HALLOWEEN ENDS to decide for sure, though, b/c this is very much a middle act.

  4. This review reminds me that the idea behind the town is great but these three can’t write for shit.

    But on a more positive note, Michael McDonald is the only person to die from Mike Myers and Michael Myers so I’m glad this movie exists for that.

  5. I did not catch all of those threads from H40 ‘18 and those do add a lot of depth to some of the rough patches. But I Gotta call bullshit on the three kids who’ve never heard of Michael Myers in Fucking Haddonfield where he’s all anyone’s talked about for decades. And Big John and Little John literally checking random noises at the door when they know Michael Myers is out there and the entire town is looking for him. And I get the intention of the mistaken identity mental patient but I cannot fathom how anyone in even the most agitated state thought that guy was Michael Myers.

    I could go with the depressing, unsettling tone but I think it’s a bummer a sequel sticks Laurie in the hospital for the THIRD time in the franchise (‘81 H2 and Resurrection). I also think it’s unconscionable how sidelined Allyson is until the end. I like revisiting the babysitter survivors but if you can’t balance that with the new final girl you established in the last movie then it’s not worth it.

    I’ll still see Ends obviously, and the inevitable one after that. The discourse is obviously absurd when so what if you didn’t like this movie as much as the last one. I’m certainly glad Vern liked it, but that’s why I don’t think they pulled off what they were trying to do.

  6. Sorry, but I can’t help but think of this as more along the lines of a DVD extra or a comic book tie-in that runs for two hours than a Real Movie. It seems like everything of note in this story could’ve been easily compressed into the opening of whatever Halloween 3nds is going to do and everything else is this obnoxious ‘lynch mobs are bad because they can’t kill supernatural monsters, though those are evil and should be stopped’ moral message. Or non-entities showing up, shucking and jiving a while, then getting killed. I won’t begrudge anyone liking Drone Couple or the Johns S-L, but did *anyone* think they were going to make it to the closing credits? Anybody? I know everyone liked that sequence in Halloween H40 when Michael walked around the neighborhood, knifing strangers at random, but I don’t need a whole movie of it.

    Also, the whole Tommy Doyle, “you can’t beat up Michael Myers with a baseball bat!” thing just seemed like someone carrying on a pointless vendetta against Halloween 6. Which, okay, won’t begrudge some Halloween fanboy their rankings, but you really had to make that the A-plot? Is the next movie going to spend two hours on Busta Rhymes hunting down Michael, only to get brutally killed while Jamie Lee Curtis sagely intones that you can’t kill evil by jamming an electrical wire into its dick?

  7. Franchise Fred would approve the return of Busta Rhymes.

  8. I’m in the camp that prefers creepy Myers from the original and felt that making him a killing machine like the sequels and remake opted for robbed him of a lot. I still enjoy a lot of those movies but I always found it far more ridiculous than Jason because it’s not a zombie here.

    This movie had some great gore but the killing was so nonchalant and gratuitous it packed little to no emotional punch to me. Outside of the old couple that was just straight up cruel. I could get down with the idea of mob rule like HALLOWEEN II and 4 both flirted with but I don’t think this pulled it off anymore effectively than those did. It was a real missed opportunity and since it was basically the meat and potatoes of the whole thing the movie felt really empty to me.

    It was basically “let’s act really irrationally stupid with no real rhyme or reason for logic while still pretending we’re making a logical point”. I didn’t buy into any of it and the hamfistes smaltz with the poor mental patient felt like just that in the end though I appreciated the attention to detail in the realism of the outcome. Splat! indeed.

    I’m honestly glad I saw this through somebody’s Peacock account. I think I would’ve walked out more disappointed had I paid and spent my time at the cinema with it. At least this way I got to smoke some pot and eat some lo mein in my PJs and not think too much on it. It really did feel like a very superfluous film because it’s main conceit was very I’ll developed.

    I honestly would’ve appreciated a more cliche Michael at the hospital and Laurie face to face approach to what we got because they didn’t really do much that justified that direction. Poorly cooked but nice looking meal is what it felt like. The ending with Michael rising up after going through a brief obstacle course of suburban Justice hell I just let out a giant “for fuck’s sake”. Again this isn’t Jason and I thought we were getting away from the ridiculousness that had to tried to be justified by the thorn curse oflr whatever. Instead they don’t even double down on it they tripled their bets. Doesn’t really get me hyped for the next.

    The pattern of a well received Halloween by the mainstream or fans being followed by something mediocre but interesting like both HALLOWEEN II’s and 4 or something that is just straight up mediocre all together like RESSURECTION and 5 continues. I’d put this more in the former category than the latter but still a big step down from the last one if you ask me.
    At least part 6 had Tommy Doyle who got a few licks in. This one made him an idiotic rabble-rouser for no reason who in the end can’t even get in a good swing before being pathetically dismissed in less than a minute. Yet this is someone who eats up more screen time than necessary.

    Movie did not have it’s priorities in place with the use of real estate. Will Patton and JLC’s soliloquies of guilt also came across hollow because of this. We didn’t get anything else from them so why should we have really cared about their plights in this movie?

    I’d recommend for the gore, the score which is arguably a series best and James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers with his tremendous presence and mannerisms. He was the MVP. Michael is pretty awesome in this even though again it was just way too murder machine for my tastes with this character. Felt like a Jason proxy at times like in part 6 and the Zombie movies and to a lesser extent the last one but even more so because of the ridiculous miraculous survivals that started with part 2. Which are far more absurd even for a slasher than surviving the gunshot wounds at the end of the original if we’re really set to believe the supernatural is not involved in any way.

    I’ll watch the next one cause it’s HALLOWEEN but I’m definitely tempering my expectations. They pretty much wrote themselves into the same hole part 5 did. I thought they were supposed to be better than that. The CHUCKY tv series is proving to be a better new chapter in a slasher classic this month for me.

  9. Now that the two movie writers I respect the most has said positive things about this, I’m really looking forward to it.

  10. One last thing before I start to feel like I’m haranguing: The movie has some nerve to play Michael’s invulnerability as some shocking twist when he’s already survived taking six shots to the chest and, like, two hours ago was blasted in the face, then trapped in a burning building–none of which slows him down. This doesn’t even feel like a particularly hardcore beatdown–more something Stone Cold Steve Austin would do to Triple H to get him really cheesed off before Survivor Series.

    One last-last thing: The movie tries to have it both ways in saying that only the original Halloween is in continuity, but also acting like DJ Shape’s been tormenting Haddonfield for decades and now people are at their boiling point. I really think that after forty years, most people would forget about Myers… or at least not be ready to form a lynch mob the minute they hear his name (quick, can you name any notable murders that happened in your general area four decades back?). Like, last movie, everyone thought Laurie was crazy for going Linda Hamilton about Michael. Guess they were just kidding, because they’re also obsessed with him.

  11. I can name two from my area, but they killed way more people than Michael did. (I think the lynch mob is because he came back.)

  12. Fred- I’m sure you’re well aware of this but Zombie’s H2 also has Laurie in hospital, although she gets out fairly early on, which is to his credit, and I say that as someone who is resolutely *not* part of the small but seemingly growing “Rob Zombie’s second HALLOWEEN is a masterpiece” group, an opinion corroborated by my first viewing of the Director’s Cut this week.

    I don’t think HALLOWEEN KILLS, which weirdly plays a little like a theoretical third Zombie film at times, is a masterpiece either, but it did win me over by the end. A lot of contemporary horror films go to places that are “difficult” certainly, but this to me seems to raise, if not necessarily endorse, ideas that the creative team themselves likely don’t believe or want to to believe and that the average viewer or critic might be hesitant to, in the modern parlance, co-sign, and to me that’s kind of exciting. In addition to Vern’s piece, I’d recommend looking at Walter Chaw’s article comparing it to TEMPLE OF DOOM, he doesn’t like the movie but seems to admire it.

    Also Vern, I’m not angling to be your personal nitpicker but you seem to have typed ’77 several times here where I think you meant to say ’78? (Unless the first Talking Heads album is more Haddonfield-centric than I realised)

  13. Broddie summed up a lot of my feelings with it. Michael becoming Jason Vorhees, the dumb behaviour of characters, throwing out ambiguity and basically making Michael supernatural. I also didn’t like that they’ve given him some semblance of a personality now where he acts a bit more sadistic and does stuff with bodies to fuck with people. I thought he’s supposed to be a single minded force of pure evil that just kills you, then moves on to the next person? Nothing in the film was as effective to me as the part in the last one where we track him calming moving through the neighbourhood, walking through the back door into that house to kill that lady, stopping briefly over the baby before carrying on. Or when he abruptly kills that kid in the car by breaking his neck. That was shocking in its directness more than stabbing a guy through the eye would ever be. They also apparently didn’t think that the fog that we had in the last movie was worth keeping around for this one. So every time Michael shows up outside it’s super clear and you can see him from a mile away.
    I also don’t like how clearly more money it has and it just looks far more digital HD and slick. Takes me out of the flashbacks to the 70s, especially later when they use actual clips from the original film that don’t match up visually and remind you of the difference. One other thing about that sequence: I was sad they didn’t have Hawkins blame his partner’s death of Michael, because being able to truthfully say “Michael was framed!” would at least be funny. Loomis makeup was good though.
    Some ideas they had could have been nice, but are executed in such a ham fisted way. For example, any poignancy to be had from the mental patient’s death is undermined by showing his smashed corpse. The film’s just too gratuitous for me.

  14. The Undefeated Gaul

    October 21st, 2021 at 4:31 am

    I didn’t enjoy this one much either, but I’ve never been a HALLOWEEN guy and by Vern’s review it seems the more you bring into this (knowledge of previous films, understanding of the significance of certain things that seem like nonsense or a waste of time to people like me) the more you get out of it.

    To me the most pleasing thing about this was discovering a new Ghost song on the credits that’s not half bad.

  15. Stuart, re: Michael fucking with the bodies. I mentioned this in the HALLOWEEN (2018) comments, but the Shape definitely has a bit of a cryptic, but very real inner life beyond robotic killing. There are times when he feels the need to express himself symbolically or be playful, but the nature of this and his reasons are always opaque (to me at least).

    For example, in HALLOWEEN 2018, remember when Michael drops the handful of teeth into the bathroom stall before attacking the woman. It’s completely extraneous and just to scare her. It’s almost like a troll, but we don’t know if he finds it amusing, or if he just wants to be extra terrifying, or if it has some weird symbolic significance to him, or why the hell he’s doing it. Odds are, he’s just fucking with her, but who the hell knows for sure what’s motivating it. For some reason he does it.

    Then, remember in HALLOWEEN 1978, remember that he goes to all the extra effort to dress up in Bob’s ghost-sheet costume before killing PJ Soles. There’s no need for him to do this whatsoever, except maybe to give him his preferred element of surprise in the context of a frontal attack (remember, in 1978, he’s pretty much a sneak attack killer). Still, he’s clearly got her outmatched, and if we wanted to snake attack, he could’ve just waited outside her door, as she’d have come looking for Bob sooner or later. The whole scene has a strange, dryl humorous feel, because what the fuck is he doing putting on the sheet and everything?

    He also exhibits a strange curiosity. Every now and then some whim comes ahold of him, and he sets aside his usual clinical efficiency and seeming roboticism and says, “What the hell, this could be interesting.” Like when he keeps stabbing sleep apnea guy. The robotic motion with which he keeps grabbing knives out of the knife block and then putting them into his (surely dead by some point) body, like it’s a pin cushion or he’s writing something out with the knife placement or who the fuck knows. But he’s clearly carried away in a little flight of fancy.

    Finally, in terms of staging the bodies with the Halloween masks in KILLS, this reminds me a little of the way he stages Lynda in 1979. He goes to all the trouble to dig up his sister’s headstone and stage Lynda’s body underneath it. More generally, there is this theme of him coming home, which is in both 1978 and 2018 (twice!). Him getting the tombstone in 1978 and coming home in both 1978 and 2018 is definitely significant. He’s not just a robotic killer with no inner life.

    Here is what I learn about Michael from these three films.
    (a) He’s strongly inclined to kill most people who cross his path
    (b) In some situations he gets fixated on a particular persono and the pursuit of that person. Once he locks in, he can be a little rigid.
    (c) There is an OCD aspect of needing to finish the job. We see this with **SPOILERS** Cameron in KILLS. It’s not clear whether that final neck twist is just to fuck with Allyson, or it’s a kind of mild OCD, but he needs to finish Cameron. Similar to with apnea guy, where he seems to get kind of hung up for just a second, either as a sheer exercise of will or as the opposite (a momentary compulsive lapse). I love that motivational ambiguity.
    (d) The younger you are, the more likely you are to get a pass, but there’s no guarantees, particularly if you are actively serving as an obstacle between him and some other objective or destination of interest
    (e) He generally provides himself on efficiency of movement as a style, but, as noted above, he will at points slow down because he has the desire or compulsion to do something weird that has a personal significance to him — not clear if it’s curiosity, odd compulsion, or what. This is very much on display in all three films, but most so in this one and 1978.
    (f) He has grown physically stronger, angrier, and more confident and ambitious since 1978. He still shows the same roboticism and desire for efficient motion, and he still enjoys stalking and ambush behavior. But 1978 was kind of a dry-run / throat-clearing, and now he is much more confident and aggressive. Totally comfortable with frontal attack, long open space pursuit, going for more kills, and trying to get more strokes in or damage done per kill — not always, but often.

    One of the things I love about this new Shape is that he shows a strange versatility or flexibility about him that to me does not seem like chaos or inconsistency. It’s quite the opposite. It IS versatility and flexibility. He makes choices like he’s writing a symphony or experimenting. He has a natural, preferred style and way of doing things, but he’s eager to add new styles to his repertoire, explore his curiosity, and take what seem like bigger risks. And, to Laurie’s point (sort of), the more he does this, the more he seems to grow in power and capability. He was already good and tough, but he’s gotten really good and really tough.

    In addition to embracing Rob Zombie’s notion of a meaner, angrier Shape (not just wholesale embracing it, but integrating it as a new development in “old man Michael”), Green has also embraced a bit of Zombie’s notion of Michael as having a bit of a strange inner life. We see elements of that inner life in 1978 (or, so I tried to argue above). But see even more of that in this one, particularly as a he fixes on getting back to his childhood house. However, whereas Zombie tried to visually depict that inner life, Green is taking a more Carpenter-esque approach of just leaving us to infer what that inner life might be via the breadcrumbs of Michael’s observable patterns of behavior.

  16. Nice review, Vern. I’m happy you enjoyed it, but I just couldn’t get into it. It was nicely lit with some well-composed shots and the soundtrack kicked ass, but other than that…

    Having recently rewatched Halloween 2018 I found the side characters and their dialogue to be the weakest part of that movie by far, and Halloween Kills just ramps that up to eleven by having ONLY side characters. They read like the supposedly funny ones in a Michael Bay movie, just quieter and less racist, I guess. I consider it a problem when the character I relate to the most is Michael Myers, because I too felt like shoving a broken off fluorescent light into the throats of these characters about a minute after they’d been introduced.

    I wonder if it would just break the genre if you’d try to have smart characters in a slasher movie? Like what would happen for example, if not every single character ran up to Michael and got within arms length of him, even when there are people in the group with guns? He just walks, for Christ sake. Running away would be a viable option for everyone in every single encounter with him.

    To be fair, I think the concept of a lynch mob trying to hunt Michael down is a cool idea, but I found the execution to be sorely lacking. Less pretentious pontificating and more forward momentum in regards to the plot would have gone a long way for me to like this protagonist-less movie.

  17. Two more things.

    1. I’m warming more and more to the idea that HALLOWEEN KILLS is about mass hysteria and real-time myth-making / oral tradition-building. We are seeing all the town getting caught up in trying to create narratives about who Michael is and what he means and what must be done and who must do it. They’re conjecturing, sense-making, and then acting to build a kind of narrative. A lot of this does seem to be about how the need to explain and make sense and feel empowered takes on a life of its own. Not to be too ponderous and grandiose, but think of the collective reaction to 9/11 or even with something as abstract as covid, where there is this irrepresible need to make sense of what’s happening, to feel empowered to take action, and to identify and explain a bad guy or bogeyman. The point is not that Michael is whatever these people say he is but that they are full of shit, haplessly trying to explain the unexplainable, just like we always do.

    2. My theory that Michael was literally growing stronger and bigger between 78 and 2018 is corroborated by the fact that KILLS shows Michael successfully apprehended by like 5-7 cops in 1978, which is almost immediately followed by Michael just completely fucking owning a similar sized cadre of firefighters in a somewhat similarly framed scene. It’s like the film is very self-conscious about the fact that Michael is capable and motivated to do much more now.

  18. Let me stick to my personal vow of only chiming in when I have something positive or interesting to say by saying this movie is awful and morally repugnant.

    It took a while but I do finally agree with Skani. This movie proves that GreenxMcBride are fans of the series. They are fans in the sense of ‘this garbage is so bad it’s good’ way but still. Also, they must love HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION and decided to make an entry even worse than that one so we can stop being mean to that one.

  19. I understand if this film is not one’s cup of tea, but I don’t understand the “morally repugnance” angle. Setting aside all the political stuff about self-censorship, virtue signalling, “political correctness,” “cancel culture,” etc. … I don’t see how anyone can deny that we are in an aggressive period of moral revisionism where things that were actively celebrated 10 years ago are now something we pretend to grudgingly tolerate or we even go the extra step of being actively offended.

    There is a lot of diversity among films labeled slasher — lots of species and sub-species in that genus. However, no one can deny that core elements include psychological trauma, psychosis/insanity, psychopathy/sociopathy, ritualistic and often sexualized murder, extreme violence, elaborate kills and kill tableaux, and a prurient fascination and ambivalence toward female sexuality, often including gratuitous nudity and violent-sexualized ambivalence toward the female body. Not all slasher films indulge in the most extreme forms of this to the same degree or with the same associated nuance. But these are absolutely features, not bugs of the slasher film.

    HALLOWEEN 2018 and HALLOWEEN KILLS are not merely direct narrative sequels to HALLOWEEN 1978. They are love letters, responses to, and evolutions of the slasher film as a cinematic and cultural phenomenon. These films are these filmmakers’ engagement with the slasher films as fans, filmmakers, and white men living in the 2015-2025s. And these films are slasher films. They are films for people who enjoyed watching the shitty HALLOWEEN sequels, maybe enjoyed or at least appreciated the Rob Zombie iteration, maybe enjoyed some of Argento’s work, and definitely enjoyed lots of morally ambiguous, very 80s ANOES and F13 films that were all about gore, oddballs, sensitive kids, creeps, sexual confusion and general horniness in all its forms (but especially cis-hetero-male-centric).

    Freddy Krueger as a character was beloved and celebrated and is a complete and utter fucking gross, mean-spirited creeper of the highest order. Same with Jason — he was less of a creeper, just a completely inhuman sadistic killing machine, especially if you were “sex positive.” And kids bought masks, posters, and all manner of tie-in novelties. 40 years ago. I understand if tastes have evolved culture-wide, but I don’t understand how individual people who previously actively loved this stuff suddenly find it stomach-churning or moral sensibility offending. How can you feel more repulsed by or too sensitive to material that you were not too sensitive to love and enjoy as a 12 year-old kid, 30 years ago? I can understand maturing, but I don’t understand becoming successively more emotionally / aesthetically delicate and less open to aesthetically transgressive and morally ambiguous/challening material over time.

    That is prompted by your comment, Geoffrey, but I don’t claim that it accurately captures your own views or journey, it’s more jsut the use of the term “morally repugnant” triggers a reaction to the more general revisionism we’re seeing, where it is somehow a bad or shameful or morally repugnant that a slasher movie, you know, shows some of the gnarlies kills in the history of slasher movies. Slasher movies and beloved slashers are by definition morally repugnant. That’s the fucking point.

  20. And to be sure I’m not mistaken, I’m not suggesting that the slasher film needs to stay stuck in the 1970s or 1980s. Sometimes you have to know the rules to effectively break or transcend them. You want to do a slasher movie that objectifies men as a thematic element? Go wild. You want to do a period serial killer film at a gay conversion camp where the killer is a repressed gay man and the gay kids triumphantly embrace their sexuality and stomp the closeted/twisted killer guy to death? You have an idea for a trans angle that is not deeply insulting to trans folks — I’m all ears. Sounds interesting. But don’t pretend that you have transcended the psychosocial, psychosexual hangups and appetites that made these films incredibly successful and timeless classics, back at least to PSYCHO, PEEPING TOM, VERTIGO, REAR WINDOW, and, hell, even BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

  21. Boy, this one was lost on me. Aside from the handful of really brutal, well done kills, I thought this felt more like a Wayan’s Scary Movie spoof than an actual Halloween movie. At times it reminded me of Malignant (which I liked) in that it felt like it was going for camp laughs more than drama and tension. Some of the scenery chewing acting by AMH, JLC, Will Patton, Big/Little John, on down the line felt like it was being played, purposefully, for laughs. I’m not a huge fan of the Zombie Halloween movies, but I much prefer the tone of them over these new Halloweens.
    Actually, I feel like this is more of a Friday the 13th movie than a Halloween movie.

  22. Nailed it.

  23. Just when I thought our creatively impoverished culture couldn’t sink any lower, we get this morally bankrupt and artistically negligent parade of…

    Nah, I’m fucking with you. This movie shouldn’t exist but it’s kinda great. It even retroactively improves the last one by confirming that, yeah, Laurie’s kind of an idiot who wasted her life and got practically her whole family killed because she thought it was all about her. I loved that the entire town is Loomis now, narrating their own Ahab stories of destiny and retribution. And here’s my man Michael, out here living his best life, not giving a fuck about you haters, just stabbing whoever the fuck is available, experimenting with new styles and techniques, not a care in the world. Everybody’s like “Only I can end the evil!” and Mike’s all “I don’t know her.” Love it. Evil don’t give a fuck about you, buddy. Evil gonna evil. It ain’t gonna waste a single second thinking about you or your trauma. That’s on you. You cultivated that relationship. You carried on both sides of that conversation. Evil moved on. Evil got shit to do. Evil ain’t even gonna come visit you in the hospital. Evil ain’t even got a plan. Evil is small and petty and opportunistic. It hurt you because you were there. Not because you’re the hero. Fighting evil don’t make you good. Doing good makes you good. As Karen learned. Until she forgot. And paid for her forgetfulness. Because what happens when you try to look through evil’s eyes is you’re not watching when it sneaks up behind you.

    I loved how full of shit everyone was! So many grand proclamations! So much tough guy posturing! So many people who throw themselves into the fire because they can’t live with the idea that the fire doesn’t care about them. The fire burns all it touches. It was nothing personal. You are not the star of the fire’s story. IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.

    Personally, I don’t think there’s a more important message for our times than that.

    Still an abomination, art is dead, we are all doomed, etc.

  24. Had to roll my eyes at the Sheriff reciting his “one good scare” line to Michael as though it’s his goddamn catchphrase. He said it to Laurie in a different context FORTY YEARS AGO!

  25. I’ll admit that part was unfortunate.

  26. Pac-Man, you’re right. I was only counting the JLC Lauries. At least with Zombie’s remake sequel he was doing his own twisted spin on Halloween ii.

    I’ve gotta harp on the mistaken identity bit. That guy could barely walk and he was about a foot shorter than Michael. They thought he was the one murdering people and lifting them over his head? Because Michael always wears a mask? And he just decided to ditch the mask and stumble around incoherently after his murder spree? I’m sorry, if you want to take angry mobs to task, try harder.

  27. I will say that I did like the whole “Laurie this never was about you” bit. Nice subversion there. It got the biggest laugh from me. Well aside from me picturing Michael in mask feverishly searching for the perfect vynil record. Then dusting it off and putting the needle on the record for that couple he kills in his old house.

    This one does focus on Myers as a force. I just didn’t like the townspeople enough to even really care. I don’t think slasher fodder needs to be fully 3 dimensional but there needs to be personality. Reason. Like at least be Rachel from part 4 or something. Otherwise their delusions just seem like filler and not setup for a great payoff or dark punchline.

    SPOILERS

    The only one that I felt earned the death because of her own hubris was the daughter. Even then with these creators I wouldn’t be surprised if they cop out like they did with Will Patton and make her another scarred survivor. After all with the editing it did seem she got more cut up than stabbed up. You couldn’t really tell and it’s another possible easy way out for that reason. I hope they stick to their convictions and at least let that death stand. Like why the fuck would you even go back into Michael Myers house for? Especially after a freaky vision? play stupid games win stupid prizes.

  28. Ronnie: Also, what was Brackett doing working security at that hospital? He looked about 125 years old, he should be in a retirement home! That was a rhetorical question, I know the answer.

    Vern makes reference to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but Halloween Kills reminds me more of Rise of Skywalker, with its misaimed attempts at fanservice and awkward welding of story points together. The clumsy grouping of exactly the same goddamn supporting characters from 1978, who previously had nothing to do with each other. I had to roll my eyes at the remake of the nurse-in-the-car scene with Michael slamming his palm on the window exactly as before! Member that one?

  29. I’m in the camp of people who really dislike this movie. Can we be done with deconstructions and subversions of expectations? It’s never as interesting or clever as the filmmakers seem to think it is. Whatever subversion they come up with has to be equally or more compelling than the standard genre convention, but it rarely is. What does the realistic depiction of Jamie’s injuries actually achieve? DGG has sidelined the main character for the entire movie and has demonstrated that he knows that stab wounds are more debilitating than we usually see in movies. Congratulations.

    The opening of Rob Zombies H2 conveys the same point in about 2 minutes and with a lot more emotional impact as well. More importantly, Zombie remembers that he’s making a fucking movie here and then moves on, instead of sidelining Laurie for the sake of pedestrian realism. And HALLOWEEN KILLS can’t even come up with anything for Laurie to do inside the hospital. Isn’t David Gordon Green an accomplished indie darling? The dialogue in this movie was remarkably clunky. All this endless pontificating and lecturing about ideas that Carpenter managed to convey purely trough images. It’s just so tiresome.

    Same goes for the attempts at humour. I’m so over the quasi-improv “relateable” banter that is seemingly everywhere these days. I find it hard to articulate why this style of dialogue bothers me so much, but I found it especially grating here. The bit with the two Johns seemed to trigger some kind of Pavlovian response in me, with every repetition of “Big John” or “Little John” driving me to new heights of annoyance. I honestly can’t recall being this annoyed at a movie’s attempt at humour since the rapping kid in THE VISIT.

    Speaking of side characters, while the movie does indeed have some great kills, it is sorely lacking in the suspense and stalking department. Every scene of Michael stalking people follows the exact same rythm and sequence of events, by the time it gets to the deaths of the Johns it has become painfully predictable. The victims all have this weird lack of urgency that sucks the suspense out of the scene. Take the two cops in the flashback for example. These are two rookie cops from a sleepy small town where nothing ever happens, who suddenly are confronted with pure fucking evil. Shouldn’t they be losing their shit? Instead, they have a whistful conversation about growing up in Haddonfield and casually search the house, like it’s a normal day on the job. I hate to be the tactical realism guy, but HALLOWEEN KILLS’s insistence on being more realistic than a usual slasher makes the unconvincing behaviour of it’s victims stand out like a sore thumb.

    And while the kills are good, the final scene with Michael and the mob was completely mishandled. It doesn’t work as an action or a horror scene and just fell flat for me. Them following up that scene with a recreation of the OG HALLOWEEN opening kill ensured that I left the theater with a bad taste in my mouth. The climax is a repetition of a scene from a movie I’ve seen like 10 times at this point and I’m supposed to be excited for this shit? Sure, it’s a thematic point about the cyclical nature of trauma or whatever, but I’m sure there are ways to make that point without turning the climax of your movie into a lame re-thread.

    Speaking of re-threads, the flashbacks were utter wastes of screentime that only existed to fill in blanks that I never wanted to be filled in. Even the mob justice plot is a repetition, I don’t see how it says anything more substantial or compelling than the mob justice plot in HALLOWEEN 4. It’s really some After School Special type shit. Why is everything so didactical nowadays? Our pop culture landscape feels like those insufferable TikTok video where some random schmuck deliver a condescending lecture straight into the camera, talking like he’s teaching a kindergarten class. I’m not asking for mindblowing insights from a HALLOWEEN sequel, but Jesus Christ. For comparison, take I SAW THE DEVIL. That movie’s theme amounts to “Revenge doesn’t solve anything and will just drag you down to your opponent’s level”. Not exactly groundbreaking shit. But ISTD uses every tool in the cinematic toolbox to make you FEEL that message on a visceral level. Most importantly, there are no scenes where characters pontificate on the nature of vengeance. By comparison, HALLOWEEN KILLS labouriously explains it’s point to you and then proceeds to repeat it a bunch of times, the way you would explain it to a small child.

    I know that current society is full of people who are unaware of the many pitfalls of tribalism and mob menatlity, but I would still prefer that movies treat their audience like reasonable adults, who don’t need basic lessons in empathy and morality explained to them.

    Oh well, at least we got another Carpenter score and the great firefighter scene out of it. In conclusion, go watch Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN 2 again.

  30. I can’t disagree with any of these nuts-and-bolts criticisms of the film. A lot of its big plot movements are very clumsy and its thematic exploration is pretty ham-fisted. But I also kind of think that’s it’s an IN-CHARACTER clumsiness and ham-fistedness. These aren’t scholars and warriors. They’re terrified small-town honkies just this minute discovering that they are not the center of the universe. They’re gonna make extremely stupid, self-egrandizing decisions that we on the outside easily discern as such but make total sense in their emotional state.

    I think (scratch that–I know) that stuff like the badly laid out logistics of the mob scene and the ambush at the end (Where are the fucking guns? Is DGG Canadian or something?) would have pulled me out of the movie. I’m very glad I saw it at home. The theater just makes me critical of shit that would glide right over me when I’m on the couch.

    I will say that I don’t have particularly high hopes for the concluding chapter. This filmmaking team seems to be good at letting shit play out but not great at wrapping them up. They tend to be sloppy about the staging of the big confrontations. There’s always some off detail that the audience can get hung up on. But then again this movie retroactively redeemed a lot of the stuff I hated about the first one so maybe they’ve got something up their sleeve. Personally I don’t think they’ll be able to come up with anything satisfying and should stop here: Evil happens. It can’t be stopped. Try not to dwell on it or it’ll ruin your life. Green and McBride seem like pretty down to earth guys, and coming up with anything deeper than that feels pretty outside of their wheelhouse, and I don’t mean that as criticism. I liked that this one more or less sweeps aside all of the philosophizing and just deals with the practicalities of Michael: He may or may not symbolize all this other shit, but here in the physical world, what he is is something you are not qualified to fuck with. I think that’s a good place to leave Michael. But what do I know? I’ve been wrong before.

    Also, FEAR STREET beat HALLOWEEN to the “second part of a planned slasher trilogy” punch by several months. And if you believe Adam Green, HATCHET was always supposed to be a trilogy. But who believes Adam Green?

  31. Also, what I find interesting about many of the complaints I hear is that it proves how full of shit most fans are. For literal decades, motherfuckers complain that making Laurie Michael’s sister ruins the first HALLOWEEN. “It’s not scary if it’s not random!” they wailed. “Centering Michael’s rampage around a single person defeats the entire purpose!” So Green and McBride say okay, well, let’s do that, then. Let’s make Laurie and everybody else grafting this arch-enemies narrative onto the Laurie/Michael relationship wrong and really let Michael be a random force of chaos, his goals outside of your understanding, his motivations none of your business. And of course everybody fucking HATES it. “I can’t believe they sidelined Laurie for the whole movie!” Because at the end of the day, it’s not that everybody misses the character. Laurie is the audience surrogate, because that’s how we all see ourselves: as the gravitational center of the universe around which all else revolves. This movie takes the Twitter shit-talkers at their word and proves how disingenuous they are. At the end of the day, nobody’s really mad that the character of Laurie Strode isn’t the focus of the story; they’re mad that the movie’s saying NOBODY is. And people do not like to hear that. They talk a good game but they still think they’re the hero. Just like every dead, shattered, extremely wrong motherfucker in this movie who found out just how expendable their character is.

    I kinda loved that. This is truly democratic slasher storytelling. And the audience fucking hates it for telling the truth: You are a player in this story, not its author. You are not the Final Girl. THERE IS NO FINAL GIRL.

  32. I didn’t like “Everyone’s entitled to a good scare” either, but I guess that’s the corny thing he likes to say to people on Halloween and he thought it would be badass to say it in a threatening context now. (He was wrong.)

    Good point, I had not thought about FEAR STREET, but I could get around it on the technicality that this was probly made well before since it was ready to go before the pandemic. Regardless, it’s not an approach we’ve seen many times in this genre, which has always been characterized by painting themselves into corners and then figuring out how the fuck to bring the monster back to life and start again. I prefer it that way, to be clear, but I think it’s cool to see a different approach occasionally.

    I would like to (I think) hear more about the moral repugnance. As I think I made clear in the review, I see all kinds of morality in the movie.

  33. Mr. Majestyk: I can’t speak for anyone else, but I really like the idea of Laurie not being in any way relevant from Michael’s point of view. I do however think the movie needed a better defined protagonist just to be a stronger movie. Be it Laurie, Karen or Tommy. It all felt so episodic in a bad way. In fact, that ending would probably have landed a lot stronger if they had designated Karen to be the major viewpoint character.

  34. Just to clarify, I don’t fault anybody here for thinking that anything good about the movie was negated by clumsy ways a lot of it plays out. As I said, I probably would have focused on that stuff in the theater as well. Ironically, it seems like the big screen often forces us to zero in on the details, while the small screen sometimes lets us see the big picture. Not saying anybody “just didn’t get the movie” or whatever, but just that the two viewing experiences can sometimes deliver an entirely different movie.

  35. Two things. 1. Why did everybody with a gun think you can only use it point blank range?

    2. This notion that it’s not about you to Laurie and others is really minimilizing them as a victim and basicaly saying “get over it” which really fucked up .

  36. I’m fine with the good scare line. I think Karen saying “We’re all the monsters” is glaringly something no human being ever says except for screenwriters who force other people to say it:

    Maj, I agree nobody know what they want so they complain when they get it. My issue with sidelining Laurie isn’t that she should be related to Michael but she should still be the fucking protagonist. And if not her at LEAST Allyson should be to pass the final girl torch.

    I would’ve liked more of a scene where Laurie realizes she didn’t finish the job and has to cope with losing that brief moment of relief that her lifelong mission was accomplished. That’s some meat JLC can play but they breeze right by it.

  37. How? It’s not saying “Fuck your pain,” it’s saying don’t let your pain take over your life, because that gives the source of your pain too much power. Don’t try to make sense out of it, because sometimes shit just happens and it doesn’t make you part of a grand scheme. You victimize yourself again and again when you insist on letting your pain control your narrative. Laurie spent her whole life with Michael sharing her head space, and what did it get her? Her delusions of control just made all her worst fears come true.

    On that note, fuck this movie for briefly making me agree with a Judy Greer character.

  38. Sorry, Fred, I disagree. Making ANYONE the protagonist of this story would negate its themes.

  39. Other than Marion I’m not sure Tommy, Lindsey, and Lonnie didn’t have anything to with each other as Tobias states. I did think it was funny that the bartender suggests they do this every year at the bar, but obviously they didn’t start doing it until like 15 years later as Tommy, Lindsey and Lonnie probably weren’t hitting a lot of bars in the 70’s or 80’s. Not sure how they met up with Marion. Probably an AOL chat room.

    I can’t agree more with Skani that Michael has always had a playful side from dressing up as a ghost complete with Bob’s glasses in 1978 to hanging out in Julian’s closet for the entire time Vicky is trying to put him back to bed just to surprise her in 2018. Then he covers her body with a ghost sheet again. If he hadn’t found a random mask he liked so much at the hardware store in 1978 he would definitely be wearing a ghost sheet based on the interest he shows in them and making them a part of his rampages.

    Overall, I agree with Vern. I liked it. I liked it more than 2018, personally, and like Majestyk it actually makes me like 2018 more. 1978 is still on a pedestal by itself, however.

  40. Jugo mentions deconstructions and reconstructions, but what fascinates me in this conversation is something that comes from the convenient Halloween-time juxtaposition of HALLOWEEN KILLS dropping and Vern doing this FRIDAY THE 13TH revisit series.

    We are some many levels deep meta-thinking this film with so many points of comparison. You can compare this film to any number of sets or subsets of things. My point of comparison is the typical slasher film or the typical HALLOWEEN sequel (any timeline, including Zombie). As the F13TH review series and my rewatches of select films has reminded me: Many of my more beloved slasher films are not in any conventional sense good films. Many of them are quite terrible by the standards we would apply to most any other film, and I say this as someone who is very fond of them and continues to enjoy them or at least aspects of them. Aside from the originals, which are legit classic films, and a handful of sequels, which are legit solid films — mostly the Michael/Freddy/Jason sequeles are entertaining creature-feature / exploitation B movies. Some are simply terrible. Some are campy fun. Most are a good mix of both. All are deeply, deeply flawed films.

    So, in that matrix that is “the history of slasher film” or “the long, tortured history of the HALLOWEEN franchises,” I don’t really understand some of the expectations and/or nitpicks for this film. Most all complaints are valid in a micro sense (yes, Sheriff Bracket is complete cringe), but as a holistic film experience, what are our benchmarks? If our benchmarks are HALLOWEEN 4-8, ZOMBIE HALLOWEEN 1, mid-to-late ANOES and F13, to say nothing of HELL-FEST, VALENTINE, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, Platinum Dunes, SAW, endless DTV stuff going back to the 80s.

    I know that sounds like the old “it’s a summer popcorn film, c’mon you guys, TRANSFORMERS 7 is good!” But I’m not comparing HALLOWEEN KILLS to JAWS, PSYCHO, or even HALLOWEEN 1. I’m comparing it to the corpus of HALLOWEEN films and to some extent the corpus of slasher films. When it comes to engagement, tension, respect and contributions to the form, slasher concept/design (look, behavior, kills), and overall entertainment/production values — this is a very good slasher film. Get outta here!

  41. The more I thought about this movie, and the more I heard people complain about it, the more actually kind of like it actually. I do think it’s trying to do something unexpected, even if it’s not always successful. Besides the ham-fisted messaging, I think the biggest problem is that the film isn’t always successful at drawing out a moment and creating a sense of dread and suspense, which the first film obviously did expertly. The first couple just sort of gets killed, and even if it’s brutal and even if they’re a cute older couple, it doesn’t have much of an impact because it’s so matter of fact.

    But I’ll forgive the film because I like the way it eschews a central protagonist and becomes a story about the town dealing with Michael’s violence. And, man, those flashbacks to ’78 were wonderfully done. When I saw the dude playing Loomis, I said to Mrs. Batty, they must have cloned Donald Pleasance. (It didn’t look like CGI to me). The pictures I’ve seen of the makeup they used is just incredible. Compare what they did in this film to what they did to poor Peter Cushing in Rogue One. The CGI for Cushing alone probably equaled the cost of Halloween Kills.

    I predict that when the third film comes out, people are going to revaluate Kills as either better or worse depending on whether they stick the landing.

  42. Emteem: You’re right, Tommy and Lindsey would have been childhood friends anyway. So it’s a bit of an IT-situation with them. So glad that concept had such a powerful payoff in this movie. Maybe the flashbacks to 1978 should have focused solely on them instead of Hawkins since that led to fuck all.

    Sorry for being glib. I just had such a hard time getting into the headspace of the bar-characters in that lengthy lengthy scene that was in my opinion a pretty clumsy and contrived way of getting those people together – just let Tommy take the stage and explain to everyone what he’s doing there, instead of them having some kind of actual meaningful interaction between themselves.

  43. As for points of comparison, I compare this mostly to the original Halloween which in my opinion is the standard that anyone making a Halloween sequel should be striving towards. It’s lean and effective just like its chief antagonist, not like this unwieldy mess.

    Sorry for being down on the movie. I love the original and I was really rooting for this one (I like the 2018 one though).

  44. I mean, I thought THE FORCE AWAKENS should’ve been about Luke Skywalker, but it wasn’t. So how does it stand on its own merits? HALLOWEEN KILLS is about Haddonfield as much as it’s about Laurie Strode. I have enjoyed Laurie Strode’s work in HALLOWEEN, HALLOWEEN II, HALLOWEEN H20 and HALLOWEEN (not as much HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION). I think making her part of an ensemble gives us something different.

  45. I really don’t mind anyone disliking it. The main things I would push back on are
    1) pearl-clutching (toward a slasher movie, of all things — How Siskel & Ebert in the early 80s)
    2) nit-picking to death
    3) general dismissiveness

    Which is not to say you can’t do such things, but don’t expect to get away without a some pusbhack.

    My contention is that lean and minimalistic is something you really only get away with once, if at all. If you’re trying to replicate what worked in 1978 HALLOWEEN, you’re just re-treading that film, and it would add nothing, just re-treads. On his blog, Dan Prestwich made this point about o.g., HALLOWEEN 2: It tries to replicate a lot of the feel and beats of HALLOWEEN 1, and for it, it just ends up feeling derivative and like a re-tread. Parts of it do work well (as Dan notes), but you really can’t gome home again (won’t stop Michael from trying, lol). My contention is that if you’re going to do a sequel, and especially if you’re going to self-consciously do a sequel to one of the inaugural slasher films that is takng place 40 years, 8 jillion slasher / torture porn franchises in general, and umpteen timeline variants of this franchise in particular — we’re way past lean, stalk and slash Michael. We need a Michael that bears contintuity to that Micahel but that also reflects the passage of 40 years of Michael’s life, slasher film history, and American history. Otherwise, we’re doing the Gus Van Sant PSYCHO remake.

  46. Ultimately, for me, they spent more time trying to come up with something important to say than making a coherent movie. Was there something paticulary important about the first Halloween? Fuck no. It was just a horror picture that was going to be called The Babysitter Murders.

  47. I too really liked this one. There’s much I can’t and will not even try to defend. I cosign with much of what Vern and Majestyk have already said and would add that, overall I just enjoy the aesthetics of it. Though I’d nit-pick that it was lacking in creative suspense set-ups (things a cut above ‘hearing something upstairs). In his previous installment Green made his effort with things like the babysitter closet and the motion censor light, and here that is pretty low-bar. He is no Carpenter, De Palma or Hitchcock, and I can’t blame him for that. But he does have some of the fundamentals down; lots of shots of people standing in doorways or infront of things from behind which someone may spring. And he does make a playful effort to echo the masters: Hitch’s shower scene stabbing with Greer, De Palma’s Dressed to Kill nurse shoes around the corner with the short-fat-not-Michael, and Carpenter’s, well, Halloween. So I appreciate it.

    Also, I will always maintain that 1978 Shape is much creepier/scarier than giant superman Shape and this visualized the point in the same flick.

    ZOOMS LIVE TODAY!!!

  48. Vern: I don’t know if that was directed at me or not, but I have no problem with anyone else being the protagonist instead of Luke Skywalker and Laurie Strode, but I like having _a_ protagonist. I respect what they were going for, but I don’t think they got there.

    Skani: You make a fair point, but I thought Halloween 2018 came respectably close to the standard set by the original (except for the weird attempts at humor). Is that one properly updated to where we are now in the slasher state of the world, or did you think it was a boring retread?

  49. I agree with Skani that the first film is so lean and elemental that it doesn’t actually lend itself well to sequels. I’d argue that of all the famous slasher/horror movies out there, it’s probably the most difficult to sequelize Halloween, which doesn’t mean there aren’t some good ones. Still, if they’re going to do it, I think Kills is unique enough take, and I appreciate that.

  50. Hi, Tobias. I didn’t think 2018 was lean or elemental at all. It was packed to the brim with characters, houses, Michael rampaging all over Haddonfield, in and out of houses. Motion light / wrought Iron fence impalings, head-stompings, head jack-o-lanternings, sassy kids, british podcasters, heel-turn mad scientist Sartain, Laurie as Linda Hamilton, three generations of Strodes, Laurie barging in on a dinner at the local bistro, big-ass room and yard full of mannequins and panic room, old guy Michael in red-white checkered yard thing, dancing hunting kid and his dad bush crash set piece, halloween school dance… need I go on. The look of 2018 is beautiful, and it really captures something about fall in the midwest. Beyond that, it’s chock full of crap, covers three generations of Strodes, wide-ranging in its locations, several more (and more random and more vicious) kills than 1978. I think 2018 is very much a good bridge to 1978 and kills.

  51. Sternshein, to your point, though, I think but am not sure that you’re missing something. The point of the film is about how Laurie and Haddonfield is trying to come up with something important to say about Michael and trying to do something about Michael — and just completely bungling it. Each character is trying to make sense of Michael and trying to do something about Micahel and continually getting it exactly wrong. Majestyk’s first post-watch post up there captures very well what I think is going on. It’s a film that juxtaposes Michael, who makes no sense to anyone but himself and is completely driven by his own agenda and logic or homing beacon vs. Haddonfield writ large (reflected to us via all the ridiculous here’s-what-i-think / here’s-what-we-need-to-do / let-me-handle-this) — Haddonfield writ large is traumatized, too in it to understand what it’s in (no distance), and to busy trying to spring into action under some bullshit pre-text to take the time and actually marinate over what is happening and be thoughtful about what to do. Panic, mass hysteria, telephone game / campfire rumor mill.

  52. What 2018 did have in common with 1978 but not with Kills though, was a streamlined dramaturgy where almost everything that got set up got a payoff as well. It had one main character with a bunch of supporting characters and one main antagonist that flowed into a nice climax. Also, no pointless flashback sub-plots!

    I guess I’m not as interested in seeing them reinvent the wheel when it comes to slashers (although I’m certainly open to it if done well) than I am seeing them making the wheel perfectly round (since that rarely happens). Preferably with the production values and stylistic competence seen in 2018 and Kills.

    Sorry for hogging this thread like an asshole, btw. I’ve been an avid reader since the Geocities days, but I rarely feel like I have anything to contribute. I guess this movie got me riled up.

  53. Well, as the king zone-flooding, thread-hogging asshole … fine by me. There’s plenty of thread to go around.

    I share your general dislike of the flashbacks — that and the whole Hawkins subplot is one of my least favorite parts of the film. It does serve to illustrate by contrast how much bigger and meaner c. 2018 Michael is, but beyond that it’s just a weird flex, and the look of the cops does not feel sufficiently grainy and 1978 (like Michael, I can be a little OCD!).

    There are lots of individual things I don’t care for. I have fond memories of 1980s skinny WEIRD SCIENCE Anthony Michael Hall, but I think he’s an uninspired and generally inert Tommy. I think Brackett’s whole presence is distracting, as is Marion. They both feel like fan service stunt casting that take me out of the movie, and that close-up pan-in on Brackett’s nametag … gee Whiz, why don’t you just have a flashing subtitle that says “1978 stunt casting callback!!” If you see my original comment on this in the HALLOWEEN 2018, you’ll find that there are many nits I could pick. I just think they ultimately are overwhelmed by the strengths of the film.

    And I do think, to Majestyk’s point and contra Franchise Fred and Sternshein and others, the lack of a protagonist is the point. The sidelining of Laurie is quite explicit, and we see Green et al. owning it when Laurie immediately rips out her staples. This film is practically screaming, look at what a bunch of dumb fucks these people are being. Haddonfield itself is the protagonist. It’s very much a deconstruction of the vigilante troop and of the hero’s journey concept. Everybody wants to be the big swinging hero — all of Haddonfield, or at least of those we follow — and they all get owned. This film is the descent, the belly of the beast, the Rocky getting his ass thoroughly kicked by Clubber as we look on like so many Mickeys or Apollos. Haddonfield does not want to paint the fence or wax off, it wants to get straight to crane kicking Micahel’s ass. Wrong. Do not pass go.

  54. Maj, interesting and fair. I guess if the themes landed for me I’d be ok with using the characters more as an ensemble. And again, Allyson feels like she should be more significant in the second movie. Maybe I can’t explain it well enough but if I feel like I need more of certain characters then something is missing.

  55. People like (rightly) make fun of modern horror directors who say, “It’s really about trauma,” as if that hasn’t been true of horror for the last forty or more years. But I can’t think of a horror film that’s so explicitly about the trauma of a community. Everyone here is more familiar with the horror and slasher movies than I am, but it seems somewhat novel to move beyond the trauma felt by a single character.

    But I actually really liked Tommy as a character. When he tells Laurie that he’s going to protect her, it was kind of sweet. And I think he’s the key to why this stuff worked for me. He’s a good person trying to do right by the town who gets blindsided by how ill equipped he is to face Michael Meyers.

  56. Skani, you make good points, but the lack of a relatable character in a horror movie is an insurmountable hurdle for me (outside of the so-bad-it’s-good category). It’s such a visceral genre that I need someone’s lizard brain to align with mine. Everytime someone does something stupid it takes me right out of the movie. I wish I could appreciate it on that sociological level that you seem to be able to.

    It did have its strengths though, in particular the framing of the shots. The best in any Halloween movie outside of the original. I hope I come around on this movie someday!

  57. It might be interesting to see a Director’s Re-Cut of this one, wherein all the stuff that is meant to catch a viewer up from the previous movie (Halloween ’18, not 1978) is excised. I suppose a necessary evil of releasing a film a year or more apart is the ‘refresher course’ aspect, or the need to fill in the blanks or explain the references for the newbies, but a cut where all that stuff is gone, I’d bet, would make for a leaner, meaner, shorter viewing experience.

  58. Tobias: This is kind of like me and LAST JEDI, where I think it sucks so everyone tries to tell me what it was going for and I’m like “That’s great that they had a plan but I don’t think they achieved it.” You can “get” a movie and still hate it.

    Batty: I also got a little choked up at Tommy’s promise to take care of Laurie. He’s trying SO HARD to be the hero this situation needs and it’s kind of heartbreaking to see him fall so short.

  59. I know I can’t argue with it, because if you feel this way you feel this way. But Tobias and others are talking about not liking the characters, and I don’t get it. Karen, Big and Little John, the trick-or-treaters, Lonnie, Lindsey – you think they’re lesser characters than Annie and Bob and everybody in the first one? Or maybe that’s not fair. Would you say this movie just requires more of its characters than the first film did, and they don’t provide it?

    I like them. They’re funny, they seem to have a good time, they also seem a little fucked up and most of them make a bad decision in this movie, but for completely understandable reasons. I like the bonding between the survivors, even if it’s a little far-fetched that Marion comes out to the bar (and the lynch mob) with them. I like them befriending Marcus and the bartender. I think there’s much more life to them than the characters in plenty of slasher movies that I also enjoy.

    Admittedly these chapters don’t have a character as good as Loomis, but I assume he’s not who you’re talking about when you ask for relatable characters.

  60. Show of hands: did anyone actually find this scary?
    I wasn’t a fan of the 2018 movie, but it did have some genuinely well at up scares (the bathroom stall, the motion lights sequence). But I found myself laughing at this (and admittedly with it at times), but not being the last bit stressed or scared.

  61. No, but that’s not a demerit for me. I find maybe one out of a hundred horror movies scary, and none out of 12 HALLOWEEN movies. I like horror too much for my brain to register that it’s supposed to be an unpleasant experience.

  62. Like I said for me it doesn’t even have to be someone as involved as Loomis. It could be someone like Rachel from part 4 that’s enough to get me to at least care. Instead we got a whole bunch of Tina’s from part 5. I wanted to like this so much more than I actually did but the residents of Haddonfield were a real let down. Just too superficial and not quirky or stand out enough for me. Even the POLICE ACADEMY rejects from part 4 displayed more personality and competence.

  63. Even though the film does not commit to a central single protagonist, I think Karen/Judy Greer is the one who grounds things. She’s the most grounded and relatable, and she’s the through line in most of the most plot-critical, emotionally involving segments. She’s the closest we get to a Moe — everyone else is a Larry or Curly. And she’s a sweet, warm, winning Moe, who’s really going through something here. Her worldview has been shattered, her life has been shattered, and she can’t quite get to where her mom is, but now she can’t retreat to her exasperated condescension toward her mom either. She’s alone in many respects, and trying to do her best to do right. Everything about the film suggests that she is its heart and soul.

    But in some ways the real protagonist is Michael, the silent anti-hero. He gets the most screentime of any single character, I think. There are scenes without him, but I think he’s in more scenes than any single other character, and he’s very much in the subtext of the few scenes he’s not in.

    I won’t press all that too far, because I think in the end, it is pretty experimental. To Vern’s point, it’s a film that recognizes itself as a middle chapter, and it doubles down on middle chapter, exploring the space (like Michael himself!). I’m cautiously optimistic that Green knows where he’s going and how to bring it home. I sure hope so, because I think Batty’s right that a lot is riding on the last film — it’s the rare case where I think this film’s ultimate merit somewhat hangs on how the next film reflects back on it. By Green’s design.

    Also, now I feel like I’ve missed some stuff with AMH’s Tommy performance. Gotta revisit that.

  64. Also, although I wasn’t scared-scared, I frequently was white-knuckling it, waiting for the other shoe to drop, knowing Michael’s somewhere waiting to pounce and fuck shit up and probably do some bad things to some people I kinda like now. So, I was uncomfortable. A key feature of a horror film qua a horror film is that you are signing on to feel dread, unease, discomfit, sometimes even grief or despair. This film has fun moments and gnarly kills, but it’s also painful and confounding and kind of a bummer. There are stakes, and, to Vern’s point, even when people are acting like dummies, I still like. Hell, I like Cameron a lot in this movie, and he was firmly in douche status at the end of HALLOWEEN 2018. I just watched FREDDY VS JASON again yesterday, and it has a lot of fun moments, but I didn’t really connect to any of its characters at all, except Linderman. They were all slash chum. This movie creates lovable or at least relatable misfit and treats them like slash chum.

  65. Mr. Majestyk, I’m starting to feel like a real asshole here. I don’t feel like I want to die on this hill trying to convince others not to like a movie. That’s great that people enjoyed it. I hope to join them some day, because like I mentioned earlier I was rooting for the movie to be good.

    Vern, it’s not necessarily about not liking the characters (Karen was obviously a good person for wanting to help the mental patient), but more that I found myself not being able to relate to most of their decision making. Particularly with the people who formed the mob. I suppose you might have a point about the movie requiring more from its characters, because with the forming of the mob the whole dynamic changes. This time everyone knows about Michael, he’s no longer striking at people who are unaware of the danger.

  66. I appreciated AMH striving for some mega acting moments but he didn’t stick the landing at all despite trying his best. Now that I think about it this franchise could really benefit from some Nic Cage in a future entry. Then again all IPs would benefit from that.

  67. Tobias: I don’t think you’re being an asshole. And I’m like the Saint of Assholes.

  68. My main criteria for disliking the new characters is that I strongly disagree about them being funny. That’s also why I prefer the OG HALLOWEEN characters, I didn’t have to listen to Annie and Bob doing improv bits about their sleep apnea masks or whatever. Of course, this is entirely subjective and I do realize that my distaste for this style of quasi-improv dialogue is more of a weird personal hang-up, rather than a legitimate complaint. That being said, I think that most people would agree, that nothing kills a movie quite as quickly as humour you find disagreeable.

    I also have to disagree about their mistakes being relateable. I usually have no issue with characters fucking up in horror movies, people fuck up all the time, even in low pressure situations. For example, I have zero issue with Laurie dropping the knife in the OG HALLOWEEN. However, even the dumbest motherfucker you can imagine still has a survival instinct. The characters in HALLOWEEN KILLS are so eager to throw themselves at Michael, even in situations where there’s an easy way out right in front of them. Maybe I’m just being naive, but I don’t buy it. Sure, people gamble with their lives when it comes to more abstract problems, the leave their seatbelt off, they disregard covid safety measures. But even those dumb motherfuckers would have more reservations when there’s an armed maniac on their left and an opportunity to escape on their right. Maybe it’s just another personal nit-pick, but it was too much for me.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that these characters aren’t that much worse than other slasher characters on paper. It’s just that my distaste for the movie surrounding them makes them seem so much worse than usual. That’s really what it boils down to in the end. You guys have raised some good points and I admit that there are a lot of interesting ideas in HALLOWEEN KILLS that I dismissed because of my disappointment with the film overall. I particularly like Majestyk’s take, your description of HALLOWEEN KILLS’s themes reminds me of THE COUNSELOR, a widely hated movie that I often find myself defending. And I probably am holding HALLOWEEN KILLS to a higher standard than most slashers, but HALLOWEEN KILLS also has a much higher bugdet and much loftier aspirations than most slashers, so I think that’s fair.

    Despite my nit-picks about details, at the end of the day my main problems all come down to the overall execution. It’s remarkable how little this worked for me from a filmatistical perspective. Every suspense piece fell completely flat, every dialogue scene felt like it lasted 10 years and the final confrontation is the most disappointing action scene since the abruptly cut off battle in JOHN CARPENTER’S VAMPIRES. Maybe I’ll come around whenever I revisit this in the future, the movie you guys are describing sounds like good shit, but I just couldn’t see it.

    In conclusion, go watch ROB ZOMBIE’S HALLOWEEN 2 again.

  69. This may be too pessimistic, but I wonder if any of the people who (in Vern’s opinion at least) hated this movie disproportionately … might have been reacting to the way that it depicts an elderly interracial couple and a middle-aged gay couple as normal and unremarkable. Plus there’s a young dude wearing a skirt for the whole movie (as a Halloween costume).

    I say this because I can’t be the only one to notice that in online discourse, movies which prominently feature minorities, women etc. are more likely to be called “trash” and “garbage” without specifying the basis for their disapproval. I believe that rebel website Vern briefly wrote for had an editorial where someone dismissed GET OUT in that way. The phrase “forced diversity” gets thrown around, as if it’s somehow abnormal for anyone other than straight white males to be seen in public.

    Maybe there are more defensible reasons for people disliking the movie. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this was yet another instance of people complaining that a movie was too “woke”.

  70. “maybe there are more defensible reasons for people disliking the movie”? People brought up many non-shithead reasons to dislike HALLOWEEN KILLS right here in this comment section, even the people who were defending the movie. I get that dealing with right-wing shitheads online is frustrating, but jumping to the conclusion that disliking one particularly movie is somehow indicative of racism and/or homophobia is taking it a bit too far.

  71. I really try to avoid politics. I’m a black Dominican from New York City I don’t have time for twitter olympics. With that said wouldn’t this movie be considered anti-woke because it made all of those people (same sex couple, interracial couple, kid in drag) victims in the end? Or would it be considered woke because it rightly treated them like regular people? Who even knows anymore. I guess it depends on who wants to tirelessly argue about it in a given week.

    It’s a slasher some people will like, others will hate it some would think it was just aight. I’m in that third group but I would never complain about a movie reflecting what the actual world looks like in the 21st century. Good on them for realizing this.

  72. Curt – I know there are people like that out there, but my impression mostly comes from horror people I’m familiar with, and personal friends, who normally don’t have that sort of reaction. And I think Broddie is right, there may also be people on the other end, not liking it because they don’t want to see characters like that get killed in a horror movie.

  73. I don’t find these new characters funny, but I do find them mostly likable or at least relatable in terms of their pre-panic behavior or non-Michael-centric actions. Lonnie reminds me of my dad and his friends, for instance.

    So, let’s talk about how stupid these people are to go after Michael (or to go after him with bats and knives instead of bazookas or some shit).

    First, I will grant that Lonnie’s actions in particular are maybe a little far-fetched, but maybe he’s a dumbass who’s been gassed up. I mean, look at Ashli Babbitt, the fucking Qanon shaman et al., or the Herman Cain Awards and such. People get gassed up or illusions of invincibility / machismo and do dumb shit. It happens. Read the news.

    Second, the Lonnies and Tommys and Camerons of this film understand Michael to be (a) a guy who’s killed a bunch of people tonight but also (b) a 60 year-old guy who was previously successfully apprehended and then successfully incarcerated for 40 years after stalk ambush killing three teenagers and failing to kill a third and. They don’t know him to be an unstoppable killing force once portrayed by a former professional wrestler. They werent’ real-time observers of his other killings that evening. So, why is it ridiculous to think many of them would fall for it being the other escaped mental patient, especially if it’s a telephone game situation (“I just saw him”)? And if you remember seeing Michael with your own eyes and you personally know the babysitter who survived and got in some good licks and helped assist indirectly in his capture, maybe you think, “Well, fuck, surely me and my baseball bat and my male upper body strength can do at least as much damage as Laurie.”

    I’m not saying all of this stuff is 1000% plausible or well-earned, but I also think it’s a little much to imagine that these characters have access to the same God’s eye information or dispassionate posture that we enjoy, and it can be instructive to try to look through the world through their characters’ eyes vs. through the eyes of seen-it-all movie geeks who can tell you off memory which FRIDAY films did and didn’t star Kane Hodde.

  74. Also, sorry for the typos, I’m typing at the speed of thought, but I trust you to muddle through and spellcheck me.

  75. Skani – I don’t think that any of the situations you list here are analogous to facing down a hulking spree killer with just your buddies to back you up. A macho guy getting gassed up by his friends will be ready to fight some drunk in a parking lot, going after a serial/spree killer is an entirely different situation. I think you’re underselling just how terrifying someone like Michael Meyers would be, even when you only look at the events of OG HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN 2018. He’s more than just “a guy who killed some people”. The type of spree killing depicted in HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN 2018, where a guy kills multiple people in a single night, without the use of guns, is extremely rare in true crime history. You don’t need god’s eye knowledge to be scared shitless of this guy. Even the dumbest of macho dumbasses would be scared in the face of such unusally fucked up circumstances.

    Again, I think this might just be an issue with the direction. If these characters where just a bit more scared, or a bit more hesistant, I probably wouldn’t get so hung up on this. If there wasn’t this strange lack of urgency troughout all of the stalking/suspense scenes, I would never notice any of this shit. I’m sure that many similiar complaints could be made against the OG HALLOWEEN, but Carpenter’s direction is so elegant and tight that none of those complaints would ever occur to me while watching.

    To be honest, I don’t really see much point in arguing this further. Like you said, this stuff is not 1000% plausible or well-earned and that just bothers me a lot more than you guys. I probaly would accept most of these things if they were execute and directed better. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on how eager an average guy would be to confront a serial killer. (Maybe this is an American vs European cultural issue, Germans like me are supposed to be a very boring and unadventurous people after all).

    In conclusion, go watch ROB ZOMBIE’S HALLOWEEN 2 agian. (I will keep beating this dead horse into the ground in case it gets even one person to give ROB ZOMBIE’S HALLOWEEN 2 another shot.)

  76. “There are two different stories in horror: internal and external. In external horror films, the evil comes from the outside, the other tribe, this thing in the darkness that we don’t understand. Internal is the human heart.”
    -John Carpenter

    Hey Vern, long time reader, first time poster. Been following since AICN, bought books, etc. I had been spending most of this week furiously refreshing this site in hopes of seeing your review, so felt the need to comment. I’m so happy you liked it. I loved it and have been really thrown for a loop by how divisive it’s been. (Online anyway. Everyone I know IRL who has seen it has also really liked it.) I actually made The Last Jedi comparison to some friends as well. Well written positive takes can be a real lifeline sometimes.

    This is easily the best mainline sequel (I would only put the original, Season of the Witch, and the Zombie duology above it) and it even retroactively makes 2018 better. I personally feel like the Green films are “The True Sequels” (whatever that’s worth in franchise land) as they very naturally extend and evolve not only the story but the themes, characters, and tone of the original. The flashbacks in this were so good, if I didn’t know better, I could be told this story had been planned out from the beginning and I would believe it. Haddenfield to me is a magical place, like Gotham City or something, I just like visiting there when I watch these movies, and it felt more alive than ever here. This community feels real. I loved the characters, the kills, the music, everything.

    My only real quibble is the other mental patient’s suicide. I thought everything leading up to it and the event itself were handled really well, but I felt like it should have had a bigger impact as a plot point. It really should have been a key change to everything but instead it just happened and then they sorta moved to something else. It didn’t feel like it mattered too much to anyone else involved. Maybe that would have made the film drag, but I don’t know. I needed just a little bit more reflection time.

    What’s your take on the ending, Vern? Is it full on confirmation that Michael is supernatural? On a rewatch, I noticed in the opening flashback, when Lonnie runs away from the bullies, their taunts echo in his head, then he trips, and then looks up and sees Michael coming. He closes his eyes and then the police show up and Michael isn’t around. I theorize that Lonnie’s fear quite literally conjured Michael forth, that he is literally the boogeyman. This town has psychically channeled all their fear into that 6 year old kid who killed his sister and that has grown into a literal monster. He’s inside everyone so he can’t be killed. When Karen looks into the window at the end, she’s looking IN, like Hawkins said, and that’s what causes Michael to appear, from nowhere, from inside herself. Nobody is working on fixing their own hearts, they’ve externalized their demons and they collectively make Michael. He can’t be killed with brute force, like Laurie said, so how are they going to do it? Is it going to be like a fairy tale where if you stop believing in the monster it’ll cease to exist? Not saying I want that (or expect it), but I am hoping for something LIKE that, something more than beating him or setting him on fire (it would be pretty anticlimatic if the solution was we just had to kill him harder), something clever that I don’t see coming. I don’t expect my theory to be confirmed in the next movie, but I’m very happy that this film has at least opened the door to these types of speculations.

  77. It’s a trap, don’t fall for it!

  78. (That was a jokey response to the recommendation to watch RZ’s H2 to be clear, which was the last post I could see at the time)

  79. Yes, I took Laurie’s speech at the end to be the truth, that Michael has “transcended” (whatever that means) and become unkillable. Though interviews with Green seem to confusingly call that into question. I agree, I will be disappointed if they just have to do better violence to kill him. They’ve set up a much more interesting scenario, but I don’t know what the interesting solution to it is. Not believing in him is out, because they tried that with Freddy and he still pulled Nancy’s mom through that tiny window.

    Also, I think I’ve written this somewhere before but I’m reminded that when I was a teenager I could never figure out why Fangoria always called Michael Myers “The Shape.” I didn’t notice he was called that in the credits and they don’t call him that in the movies so I had no idea what the fuck it referred to. It puzzled me for years.

  80. A chainsaw and a shotgun,,combined with really bad jokes, seems to do the trick in some movies.

  81. I’m of at least two minds here. First off, if Laurie’s ending dialogue w/ Hawkins does accurately reflect the truth about Michael, then that’s unfortunate if for know other reason that the dialogue itself and her delivery are dumber than shit, as is Hawkins’s reaction (he literally says, “If we only knew then what we know now,” and there’s a weird side profile framing that kind of reminds me of a parody of Colonel Kurtz or something). More generally, I like to believe that Laurie is no more enlightened now than she was at the start of the film or in the last film, since she and everyone else have been bullshitting themselves into stupid and dangerous things the whole movie. The idea that sitting there doped up, riffing with Hawkins and largely cut off from the action is somehow giving her profound new insights about the essence of Michael and his metaphysical transcendence just seems like a fakeout at best — Laurie, God bless her, there she goes again.

    On the other hand, I also need David Gordon Green to be wrong — faking us out or being misquoted — because, as you guys say, just killing Michael harder doesn’t really cut it at this point. Even if you did tie him up and watch him burn to ashes or cut his head off, I would accept that as physically convincing (there’s no getting up from that!), but at this point I could not accept it as narratively satisfying. Damn it, now I’m and Haddonfieldian, too!

    Seriously, though, in the one Green interview, he’s kind of double-speaky, saying that Michael’s not “supernatural” and that he’s not capable of “impossible things,” but that he is capable of “spectacular things.” Okay, I get “impossible” and “not supernatural,” and I take that to imply that he can’t do things that “cartoonishly and aggressively defy known laws of physics” — like being a literal ghost, or doing CROUCHING TIGER airwalking, shooting lightning balls from his mouth, or re-growing limbs and shit. But there is a fair amount that is ambiguous and confusing in “spectaular,” and it’s not really clear what “not supernatural” means at this point. He has extreme and possibly super-human strength and ability to weather all manner of battle damage, both somatically and behaviorally. So, for this reason alone, even if he could be killed by physically destroying his brain or severing its connection its body, it would not be satisfying.

    So, Green is in the unenviable position of having spent two whole movies showing us that Michael is preternaturally strong and hard to kill, after a Carpenter original that told us the same thing, just less graphically and repeatedly. Where to now?

    I could imagine an ending where he is trapped in some inescapable trap that could work for me (but probably not for the average viewer). I could imagine an ending where he kills Laurie and gets away and is clearly leaving Haddonfield that would work for me (but probably not for the average viewer). The overkilling him solution is almost certainly not going to work with me, and at this point, I’m not interested in a film where Laurie outthinks and out-maneuvers Michael like part 2018, unless the outthinkin and outmaneuvering entails some kind of journey of descent where she actually learns something new and meaningful and becomes something other than a wild-eyed prepper doing better prep or learning about Michael’s connection to the Thorne cult or some shit.

    Having said all that, despite this series’s seeming emphasis on demythologizing Michael and Laurie, there is some new mythology to build that to my mind may be worth building. And that is this whole idea of Michael’s need to be home and that room. That is an interesting thread through the whole series and especially KILLS — that he just wants to be home, needs to be home. He has other business to take care of along the way, but ultimately this new trilogy is about his frequently disrupted journey home. It may be that there actually is some kind of why there. If nothing else, it’s an important theme in the three films that are canonical to this iteration. I would not be surprised if that home figures prominently in the final film, and not just as a location but as a pivotal plot device.

    I also kind of feel like we need some explanation for where he’s drawing his strength. I am falling into the trap of the Haddonfieldians here, needing meaning and closure. I think the utterly nihilistic (sorry, Majestyk, it’s one of my go-to words) ending is that HALLOWEEN ends by Michael finishing off Laurie and then just staring out that window, or possibly burning down his chidhood home, or just leaving Haddonfield (“my work is finally done here”) — or all three in sequence! And then there is the less nihilistic ending, but then I feel like that does have to veer into dodgy metaphysical territory, because the film HAS given us a supernatural monster, even if Green denies it, and even if that supernatural monster is a specific historical 60 year-old guy who was effectively incarcerated for the last 40 years up til now and who has never been pronounced dead.

  82. Obviously the movie ends after he’s killed every single person in Haddonfield. He takes off the mask and looks out the window. Everyone is arranged pleasantly. They’re not fighting anymore, or picking on each other, or hurting. There’s no pain. No noise. Just quiet.

    Finally, he can rest.

  83. Man, Vern, I like how you can usually find the positive in a movie but this one was ROUGH. I’m a fan of all the stupid twists and turns the original series took (trying to improve on the perfection that was the original film was an impossible task so they went nuts with it). I didn’t like Rob Zombie’s nihilistic take on the series but at least it was different. I really enjoyed 2018’s Halloween and hoped they’d lean more into Laurie Strode’s PTSD and the dangers of letting fear and grief consume your life but, I guess she was right because now Michael Myers is a superpowered geriatric murder machine in this film? Bullets can’t stop him? So..uh…get the Thorn cult back to help?

    My main gripe was how all over the place this movie was. When a scene tried to build momentum, WHAM!, we cut to some other subplot and start all over again. I didn’t give one single shit about any of the other characters because I didn’t get to spend enough time with them before their faces were smashed open. I didn’t care for over the top gore replacing clever kills in this one, either. Ostensibly Tommy Doyle was a main character, only to be unceremoniously killed in the end like Judy Greer’s character was? And speaking of the ending, what in the hell? Is the house cursed? Is the window cursed? That was “theatrical end of Curse of Michael Myers” level WTF-ery!?

    My guess is that the writers had a good opening and a decent closing for this trilogy but still had to crap out a middle movie? Why does everything have to be a trilogy? This movie moved nothing along in the plot except to reduce the amount of characters who have to appear in the next one. My guess is that they’re gonna Babadook us; have Laurie trap Michael in a cage and keep watch over him until she / he dies ala Jeepers Creepers. Hell, anything would be better than this film that makes Resurrection look better by comparison?!

  84. Now, wait a minute, Buzz. The answer to why a trilogy is obviously more money, not that a trilogy guarantees more money, but it nearly guarantees more money, other things equal.

    And, narratively, this film serves the normal purpose that a middle act serves. Escalation, upping the stakes, exacerbating the predicament. This film does all of that. To me, PART 2018 is designed to show us this guy is really not fucking around here, and he’s enough of what you thought he was to recognize him as the same guy in 1978, but he’s also way badasser. KILLS is designed to show you guy that he is still more badasser and seemingly growing more so as he goes — he’s just super-escalating, the scope of the conflict is widening, and it’s just total chaos and desolation and how the fuck is he doing this? Whether that is just too much padding or a rip-off is a matter of taste and will depend on the next one. But it’s kind of like LORD OF THE RINGS or STAR WARS — either you enjoy that there’s more of it to let things breathe and develop and to enjoy the multi-year, multi-film ride; or you feel conned by it. A lot hangs on whether they do something awesome and unexpected with the last film vs. it being like almost every series finale you’ve ever watched where it’s a whomp, whomp, these fuckers painted themselves into a corner with no exit strategy.

  85. What if in the next one, they defeat Michael with love?

  86. Is nobody hung up on the escaped mental patient’s plot and the absurdity of casting a Danny DeVito-looking wrong man? This town is supposedly traumatized by Michael Myers. But nobody knows what he looks like, despite the movie clearly showing us a newscast that shows both people, and Michael was institutionalized for 40 years. It’s dramatically lazy to the point of parody. The same thing goes for Hawkins “saving” Michael in 1978. Somebody who stays a cop definitely wouldn’t let a killer get executed right after that guy got him to accidentally kill his partner because the empathy would be flowing through him right at that moment and be profound for the masked killer? Ok……

    Also, on paper, the movie might be right there with Zombie for sadism, but, in practice, all the characters get quips, jokes, or improv-type lines before or immediately after most of the kills. That steps on their impact. Richards getting chased is refreshing because it’s one of the few suspenseful parts and is given time to breathe. Additionally, while I guess we have to wait on the third movie, the critique of mob violence feels hollow. How exactly is Sarah Connor Laurie’s solution much different? Maybe we will see, but it sure seemed similar in the 2018 movie and was not explained here, even in her ex machina voiceover dump.

  87. Skani – “this film serves the normal purpose that a middle act serves. Escalation, upping the stakes, exacerbating the predicament. ”

    Did it? Did it really? Laurie is injured, Michael is alive, and lots of Haddonfield citizens are dead. That’s exactly where we were at the end of 2018. Only now Michael is inhuman and more of Haddonfield is dead. This retcons the theme of the last movie where the point was Michael was just some dude Laurie had an unhealthy obsession with. This also is what also makes me think they had a good opening and maybe a good ending but the middle was a bunch of “uhhh….ummm…Ben Tramer?”

    Empire Strikes Back this film was decidedly not!

  88. I think it serves to escalate, because now Haddonfield is substantially more at 6s and 7s — more of Haddonfield is involved, the chaos is more widespread, and Michael is (or at least is exposed as) substantially more formidable than he already appeared in PART 2018, which we all agree was pretty formidable. The carnage is much higher, hits still-further home, our fearless leader is hobbled and decidedly less badass or confidence-inspiring, etc. etc.

    I need to go back and watch, but how many people actually got a good look at Danny DeVito. And how many of them knew Michael Myers or spent much time studying his height. Other than the brief period of his escape, pretty much no one (presumably including Laurie even) has seen him face-to-face since he killed Judith as a kid. I’m not saying you couldn’t know his height, but how many of the people who actually initially eye-witnessed Danny DeVito are also people who would be familiar with the details of his adult physique?

    Also, there is the ambiguity of James Jude Courtney being like 4-5 inches taller than Nick Castle, and I still don’t understand what if anything that is supposed to mean in the universe of the film (it’s a big jump).

  89. I meant to say that Laurie has not seen him in 40 years, and the average citizen has not seen him in person since he was a kid, since we as only ever out for that brief period in 1978 and was otherwise institutionalized from age 6 to 60-something.

  90. It is definitely staged sloppily, but every character who has any idea what Michael actually looks like realizes the truth the second they get a look at him (even Tommy, despite his shameful ass-covering later). Everybody else is just some moron who heard someone else yell “It’s him!” and followed the crowd.

    I honestly don’t know how anyone can look at the events of the past year and still think people en masse are any smarter than the pack of mutant idiots on display in this film. If anything, these Haddonfielders aren’t delusional and self-destructive ENOUGH. If this was real life, Tommy would be making speeches claiming that the fake news is lying to you and actually they did in fact kill Michael Myers, it was a beautiful killing, the best attended killing of Michael Myers of all time in fact, everybody is saying so. And the crowd would believe him, even after Danny De Vito gets fingerprinted and Michael kills like 50 more people right in front of them. Crisis actors. I can tell because I’m a Wal-mart greet with a GED and thus an expert on how dead bodies are supposed to look and that corpse right there with MICHAEL MYERS DID IT carved into its face is fake oh my god a guy in a Michael Myers mask just stabbed me it must be antifa. Then we’d be dealing with a realistic depiction of crowd behavior in 2021. These terrifed, ignorant fuckwits are whitewashed compared to what we got here in reality.

  91. I know the message was “mainstream news reports stories without having all the facts so blood is on their hands by showing that one guy’s picture even though they said two escaped patients” but it was completely mishandled in this film leading to the confusion as to why the mob is after a 4’11” guy (and, regardless, why people would even chase after a serial killer is beyond me but, as this movie shows, there’s clearly lead in the Haddonfield reservoir.)

    I really wish it was Laurie who caused the bus to crash so she could show her doubting family that Michael was indeed after her, only to then be taken by surprise when he could care less and starts stabbing randos. That would have lead to some really high stakes as Laurie races to kill Michael to contain her mistake. Alas.

  92. Right. For my part, I’m not apologizing for the weaker aspects of the film, of which there are plenty. However, it seems to me like people are helping themslves to the God’s-eye-view to further the narrative that these people are all behaving like no one would ever behave or believing things that no one would ever believe. By God’s eye-view, I mean the whole kit-and-caboodle: a literal aerial visual Goodyear blimp view with drill-down zoom capabilities to real-time happenings, as well as exhaustive dossier / case file on Michael Myers in all his various iterations. Put differently, people are projecting a lot of HALLOWEEN film buff knowledge that I’m not at all convinced should be top of mind or even accessible to the average Haddonfielidan 40 years hence, and they seem to also be assuming that whatever we’re seeing on screen was also within each and every character’s personal line of sight.

  93. Majestyk – The final movie supposed to take place in modern times and will address the pandemic, so I can easily see a plot point being the proud boys adopting Michael as their mascot and having some Jan. 6th types try and find / free him, only to be slaughtered.

    I’d actually kind of hope they do that!

  94. I do think it would’ve been funnier if Danny DeVito violently assaulted the Judy Greer character when she was trying to save him. But that’s just the kind of gal I am, I guess.

  95. Drew: I was kind of hoping that would happen.

    There’s a reason we are friends.

  96. Considering the movie killed every POC right off the bat, I don’t see why the wouldn’t also try and stigmatize the mentally ill too? Lost opportunities.

  97. BrianB – *Many* people seem to be hung up on that (I believe Fred and others have said they had a problem with it). It didn’t bother me, partly because 99% of the people involved never saw either Michael or Tivoli *at all*, let alone clearly or up close. *We* didn’t even see Tivoli when Marcus supposedly looked him in the eye and thought he was Michael Myers, the incident that everyone’s information is based on. It illustrates how people get carried away and make poor choices based on misunderstandings and faulty information.

    But yes, it’s true that Tommy would likely have a better idea what Michael looked like. I think the only way to interpret it is that he can’t get beyond his childhood impression of him in the mask.

    update: actually, I think Majestyk’s take is probly right, that when Tommy asks if they really know what he looks like he’s kind of covering his ass because he realizes his guilt in this man’s death

    Laurie’s solution is not different. She tries to be part of the mob, but is benched due to injury. However, these events (somehow) make her realize at the end that their approach isn’t working.

  98. Guys, the movie literally has a news broadcast that shows images of both inmates, except Michael’s is blurred because the shot’s focus changes while the voiceover still plays. Both inmate news pictures are framed like typical mugshots. And the escaped mental patient is clearly quite short. Let me get this right: Michael traumatized this town so bad (even though Laurie’s daughter was telling her to get over things in 2018 and seemed like Myers wasn’t taken too serious) nobody has seen an image of him since the 1978 night? I know the mob is rabid and in a rush for judgment but cmon. It’s staged sloppy. We know the podcasters got to him and didn’t doubt they were being misled, and they probably weren’t 40+ years old. The movie is set in the present. People have google images and computers in their pockets. It’s stupidly sloppy to make cast them that different (aside from being bald up top and white.) I feel the same way about how they stage Hawkins’ guilt reveals. The idea and emotion could work but not as done except as comedy.

    I hope black hat sheriff gets something to do in the third movie. He’s a strong presence that Guys, the movie literally has a news broadcast that shows images of both inmates, except Michael’s is blurred because the shot’s focus changes while the voiceover still plays. And the escape mental patient is clearly quite short. Also, you’re going to tell me that Michael traumatized this town so bad (even though Laurie’s daughter was telling her to get over things in 2018) that nobody has seen an image of him since the 1978 night? I know the mob is rabid and in a rush for judgment but cmon. We know the podcasters got to him and didn’t doubt they were being misled, and they probably weren’t 40 years old. It’s stupidly sloppy.

    I hope black hat sheriff gets something to do in the third movie. He’s a strong presence that the first two movies have barely deployed

  99. They didn’t kill of the Sheriff. I thought they did a nice job of working diverse characters into the film without it feeling overly forced or turning the characters too much into stereotypes too much. Haddonfield is presented as pretty (exclusively?) white town and not a major metropolis in 1978. Short of retconning or distracting pandering, I think they did a nice job with it. I kind of feel like people like to bitch about anything, and a lot of it is so arbitrary. Like, shame on Jordan Peele for not casting any Latino/a or Asian-Americans in GET OUT. I mean, c’mon.

  100. Indeed Majestyk. And then they could’ve shoehorned in some Laurie voiceover about The Scorpion and The Frog.

  101. And yeah, the DeVito thing is pretty ridiculous but it didn’t bother me. I just took it as no one got a clear look at him. But, yeah, if we were to look at this in a strictly realistic context, which is also ridiculous, around the same time as the Babysitter Murders the media made big ass recognizable stars out of Bundy and Gacy and the like. Surely Michael’s mugshot, courtroom sketch or whatever would’ve been all over the front page of the Haddonfield Harold. So… Yeah. Halloween Kills, man. I liked it.

  102. I’m pretty sure other than four years later, anything out there about Ends has gotta be bullshit. What the fuck does covid have to do with anything ? The letterboxed description is DB as hell. Lol

  103. Perhaps if they’d made Tivoli appear like any kind of reasonable threat I could buy it. But the man can barely walk. It’s so extreme that I simply cannot buy even the most deluded mob believing that guy went on a murder spree THAT NIGHT.

    Perhaps it is realistic and real people would make such a mistake. I guess I need movies to be a little bit better than real life. I do believe that angry mobs go after the wrong person to satisfy their bloodlust, so the fact that this movie could not convince me of a point on which I agree with them is egregious.

    Doesn’t help that the message of that is as heavy handed as Karen literally saying “we’re all monsters now.”

    I agree the intention was noble but the staging was poor and botched it.

    Also if the notion is that Haddonfield at large got over the 1978 killings, I did NOT get that from the 2018 film. We focused on the Strode family but the fact that teenagers still hear rumors about Myers and Laurie indicated this is still the central event of Haddonfield passed down from generation to generation. Plus it’s big enough that some podcasters were doing a show about Michael. So I’m sorry, I don’t buy the “no one’s seen Michael or considered what he looks like for the 40 years he’s been incarcerated” premise.

  104. I didn’t know what John Hinckley Jr. looked like when he got out until I looked it up just now.

  105. Vern: I thought you were going to say “Until I say him at the diner today.”

    When someone asked earlier if anyone could name a guy from their hometown who killed multiple people 40 years ago, you said you could name a couple. And I was dying thinking, Ha! Vern’s from Seattle, he could probably name half a dozen.

  106. When people reboot these movies, I hope they think “what about the original worked?” “What about the original Halloween scared me and is awesome?” Other than the visual of The Shape, is there anything about this movie that replicates the original? That goes for the thing that creeps you out when you rewatch the original for the 50th time?
    Majestic I think you and I are similar, I watch so many horror movies, I can’t honestly say the last time a movie actually scared me. But I can tell when a movie is making the effort.Trying to make a genuinely uncomfortable experience. I feel like this movie wasn’t even trying to be a scary movie, it was trying to be a “romp” through the Halloween “universe”.

  107. These are decent points to ponder, though I was not bothered by them in watching, and I’m still not convinced there such egregious plot holes, or even that they are unintentional omissions. At the end of the day, I enjoyed myself a lot, and I don’t begrudge anyone’s right the opposite. For me, I liked the look, I like the way Haddonfield is brought to life visually and with characters, I like a lot of characters, James Judge Courtney is incredible and magnificently directed as Michael, and I find him completely captivating in every scene. I loved that final brawl and the weird arty way it was staged. Basically, the design and execution of Michael and his behavior make the movie for me, the look and production values are a really nice extra, I’m bonding with the characters. Secondly, I like the audacity and escalation — the film is gnarly as hell, and I enjoy the kills as awesome slasher kills and also not awesome in how distubring they are — they stick to the ribs and create some ambivalence for me, like I’m loving Michael as the perfect slasher, but this stuff is a hard watch, as these are not throwaway bimbos and bros.

    I don’t like all the characters equally well — ironically, it was Laurie again, and now Tommy that I liked the least; Brackett was mildly endearing at points, but mostly a groaner for me. I like the guy who plays Hawkins, but his dialogue was mostly terrible, and dialogue + callback fan service against better judgment are the weakest elements of the film. Speakig of which, even though it ends up integrating into the plot, I found the 1978 flashback to be self-indulgent and extraneous and uneven in impact — they got some of it right, some of it not quite right, but it was narratively and suspense-wise a definite net minus.

    On balance, it’s one of the best realization and escapades of a slasher villain I’ve ever seen, the most thoroughly capitvating and engaging Michael design and performance I’ve ever seen I’m pretty sure, and it goes full gonzo. The dialogue is bad and maybe some of the motiviation is stupid, but I was just swept up in it, eager to see what Michael was going to do next or how the fuck he was going to get out of this situation. I mean, I’m as disappointed as the next person that there’s no Josh Hartnett, no HALLOWEEN 5 mask, no Busta Rhymes web-streaming reality show plot, no Thorn Cult, no Adam Arkin love interest role, and no skull-fucking or Clint Howard cameo, but you can’t always get what I want, amirite?

    I hope more people will warm to this over time, but it’s cool if not. I appreciate hearing the diversity of reactions, and I salute the spirited commentariat.

  108. Count me as one who loves the flashback and especially the ’78 shape. I’ll take it one further… I wish the first in their trilogy did in fact pick up right after the ’78 original and we’d then have a period 1978 suspense movie through the shadowy Haddonfield burbs, at the end of which he’s trapped, beaten captured etc. Then, for the next film we boldly cut to 40 years Later. (Also if you need driving you can find me in the back seat).

  109. Saw an ad for this that went “Can Laurie Strode stop Michael Myers for good?”

    Usually you’re supposed to see the movie and find out, but I guess here they really didn’t know, they’re genuinely asking people who visit Reddit a sincere question.

  110. Drew – Yeah, when I was growing up everybody had an aunt or a family friend or somebody who car pooled with Ted Bundy or worked a suicide hotline with him or were asked by a guy with a broken arm named Ted to help with his boat at the lake and said no. I used to sometimes go to a bar where it was known that he picked up some of his victims and had a favorite booth (it burned down a couple years ago. The bar, as well as the booth). I would probly recognize him if he were still alive, though I picture him as Mark Harmon when I hear about him.

  111. gregory scott garner

    October 22nd, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    RBatty024(and anyone else to whom this sentiment pertains):

    I disagree with the notion that the original doesn’t lend itself well to sequels. Those sequels that adhered to the original premise-2, 4, and 5-were very effective. Of course, these movies did introduce peripheral elements that some find objectionable, but they were always kept at bay, so to speak…In none of those aforementioned films did these plot details ever really distract from the thing that most fans were there to see….Michael stalking people, and Loomis stalking him. You could argue that these films might have been better had Michael simply ‘happened’ upon a group of miscellaneous people to stalk and kill…and I might be inclined to agree, in theory…but once things were in motion, the basic premise remained the same. It was only with 6 that they began this neverending thing of constant tinkering. Since that time, they’ve been trying to fix something that was not broken.

  112. gregory scott garner

    October 22nd, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Once I hear that a slasher movie features hordes of people running about….I rule it out as a slasher movie, immediately. It’s possible that I might like it as something else, but slasher movies require isolated characters. Within this series, compare moments like the stalking of Annie(the original) or the security guard(Halloween 2) or the barn sequence(Halloween 5)….with the parts of Resurrection where Michael is chasing several people simultaneously…the entire aura is different. If they EVER convince Jamie Lee to GO AWAY…I’d love for them to simply start over. Michael Myers still works as a concept….if they’ll LET him.And it’s been many, many years since they HAVE.

  113. Also Vern, I heard he was, like, SUPER dreamy.

  114. *reads entire page of complaints about perfectly acceptable movie*

    Oh God, this is what I sound like, isn’t it?

  115. I think it’s correct that a canonical/archetypal slasher film entails isolated characters, but I think the genre has mutated, so, to me tihs statement is like saying that a zombie film requires slow, shambling zombies. FREDDY VS JASON involves very little of that classic stalking. So, maybe it’s not a slasher film, but it’s a film that is centered on a slasher person as the main character. What you’re describing is the tension betwen sticking very close to the tried and true formula that works (until it feels stale or uninspired) vs. branching out and doing something that starts breaking the form itself a bit (which maybe feels like it’s not faithful to its roots or core conceit). I would be here for another classic-formula original Coke HALLOWEEN film, but that’s been done a lot in the the HALLOWEEN films and in slasher films generally (as per your point that this is the essence of the slasher film). To me, you could make the same sort of critique about Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT films — they’re too self-serious and not colorful enough to be true Batman films. I certainly understand if that’s not the tone or type of structure you’re looking for in a HALLOWEEN film, but at this point in the series, I like the idea of breaking convention in various ways.

  116. gregory scott garner

    October 23rd, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Skani: I will certainly concede this much…I don’t know if modern audiences have the attention span-or, frankly, the imagination-to appreciate the traditional approach. When I think of my favorite slasher movies, Halloween and otherwise, I can usually recall key scenes in the movie that were very effective, even though nothing really happened in those scenes. (Like when Laurie Strode crosses the street to check on her friends in the original, or when they devote two solid minutes to having Adrienne King make tea in Friday the 13th). I think you lose something when you forego that sense of intimacy and isolation that the old films tended to emphasize. And I’m not just picking on this particular film. I remember when they tried to market Hatchet to people like myself…it was all aimed at people who loved the 80’s, and the Friday the 13th series…the cover art was very inviting, as well…I expected to love it…but the actual movie was an entirely different creature. I’d take ANY of the original Friday series over Hatchet, even though it was clearly marketed as a Friday homage. I don’t know if this change has occurred because the filmmakers prefer to do it this way, or if they merely think that they are responding to changing tastes and preferences in the audience.

  117. Believe it or not, I never watched any of the HATCHETS. I’ve heard mixed things and just never got around to it. I don’t want to be too reductive about any of this, because I think there are a lot of interesting approaches one can take. Some things may change in response to perceived changes in taste — you’re not as likely to see boobs in a lot of slasher movies these days, and to some extent that trend started as recently as SCREAM. That’s probably a response to cultural change, although then you’ll see someone probably revisit it to be “edgy” (the 80s were pretty damn edgy, in retrospect — okay, also pretty rapey, too). Other things might be a perceived loss of attention span. But then at the sametime, it’s in the age of supposedly no attention span that we’ve seen the rise of A24-core. Some of it is also marketing. HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U is a deliberate hybrid slasher/rom-com, so no suprise it’s PG-13 (though they could’ve gone for the R!). FREDDY VS JASON was just a function of what a goofy premise it was, I think, and also that the “VS” set it up as more of a horror-action-comedy.

    In the present case with DAVID GORDON GREEN, I think he’s going for slasher-suspense drama. I think that is something to keep in mind, like when people talk about something being “ahead of its time.” Something that comes along before there’s a well-recognized term for it or slot to put it in. This film is possibly “ahead of its time” in that sense, which is not to say whether it’s good or not. Just that some people might not know quite what to do with it. I appreciate that this film is going for something a little different.

    All that said, you’ve actually got me kind of excited for what someone could do if they revisted the idea of a more understated take on Michael Myers. This film is definitely Michael letting his freak fly, and I love that, but it’s a departure for him, and I can see how it might be off-putting. It’s kind of heavy metal Michael, which I get could be polarizing.

    And like I’ve said before, I agree with a lot of the complaints about this film, they’re just not deal-breakers for me.

  118. I don’t mean to belabor this point but I’m not saying they should know what Michael Myers looks like. I’m saying they should be able to figure that a stumbling babbling incoherent mental patient is not capable of the murders they’re suspecting him of.

    Sure, mob rule, trauma and anger cloud judgment. Yes, it’s easy to send folks after the wrong guy and easier to armchair quarterback what they did wrong. I think the point above where it Tivoli we’re still dangerous would have made the point better.

    But for me this is just one of many areas where the movie bites off more than it could chew. I gave it another chance on the Cock and it’s still not working for me. Maybe Ends can make it retroactively better like Creed and Fast & Furious did their predecessors.

  119. gregory scott garner

    October 23rd, 2021 at 10:49 am

    In the interest of full disclosure, I swore off the current trilogy when I heard that they were effectively cancelling all the other sequels. I might check this out when it’s available to watch for free on television, as I did with the first, but don’t feel right in actually paying money for a ticket or a blu ray or whatever. I felt the same way with Zombie’s films….once I understood that he was remaking the first two movies-and recasting Loomis-I knew that it wasn’t for me. Had he merely made additional sequels, I would have given him a chance. But any decision that leads to them eradicating 3 of my favorite movies(2, 4, and 5) is not a decision I can tolerate. However, I think the bottom line is, the people who run the franchise, and make all these decisions, want something very different for the series than I do. I vent and complain in places like this, but am aware that there is nothing I can do about it.

    As for the Hatchet films….they make Freddy vs. Jason look like The Godfather. But I don’t think that’s for lack of talent. I honestly get the feeling that filmmakers are so embarrassed to be making slasher movies these days that they SET OUT to craft wretched fare. I’ve seen this too often for it to be mere coincidence. The remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night is a good example. There is a scene where a naked girl runs through a neighborhood in broad daylight…being pursued by a killer Santa…and is finally rammed into a wood chipper. Now, you cannot tell me that this is the work of a serious person. The WORST of the 80’s era slashers were crafted with more nuance and taste. I truly believe that many contemporary filmmakers would rather make deliberate trash than to bear the stigma of having actually worked hard and seriously on something like a slasher film. A high profile film, like this current Halloween, may fall outside of that tendency. But over the last 20 years, I have seen quite a few examples of slasher movies that were positively DRENCHED in self loathing(as well as a contempt for the fans that they make no effort to camouflage.)

  120. I mean, why not watch one and find out if you like it or not? You’ve obviously put much thought into how you feel about it, might as well know what it is you’re thinking and feeling about. KILLS does in fact have plenty of normal slasher movie stalking, and also does stuff that is not normal for slashers, which in my view as someone who watches many slasher movies is a good and exciting thing that I enjoy.

  121. That’s interesting, Gregory. I don’t get it. I was suuuuch a Freddy head growing up, and it wouldn’t both me if they gave that the HALLOWEEN KILLS treatment — not that I think it particularly needs that treatment … or maybe NEW NIGHTMARE was that treatment? And then the Zombie series is a straight remake, so, I don’t understand what’s being eradicated there. I never thought of Van Sant’s PSYCHO as eradicating Hitchcock’s, or the Norton HULK as eradicating the Ang Lee one. I can’t think of any series I’m particularly protective of at this point, because nothing can take away those films, it can only add, and if I don’t like what’s being added, I can just ignore it.

  122. Never mind. I missed that you did watch the first one.

  123. gregory scott garner

    October 23rd, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    VERN: My problem is that I simply don’t approve of this business of eradicating previous entries in the series. In fairness, I’d only apply that kind of standard with regard to things that I legitimately LOVE. If not for that, I’d happily go to see every Halloween movie ever made, and judge each individually. In fact, I’d have never gone to see H20 had I understood that they considered themselves to be cancelling 4, 5, and 6. Frankly, back then, the thought never occurred to me that anyone would even CONSIDER doing such a thing. I simply assumed that Laurie Strode had faked her death, something along those lines, and that her abandonment of her daughter would be explained away somehow in the narrative of H20(like perhaps she planned on going back to get her later, but Jamie had by then disappeared, something like that). I’m aware that all this might sound a bit obsessive, but as I said, I’m fanatically fond of 2, 4, and 5. For me, they are nonnegotiable.

  124. gregory scott garner

    October 23rd, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Skani:

    I don’t mind the idea of trying new things, although I think the traditional framework does allow for a fair amount of variety and experimentation. I don’t mind supporting any number of ADDITIONAL Halloween movies. I just don’t like the idea of erasing previous entries. I cannot conceive how anybody could do that without knowing that many fans will take that as a direct slap in the face. When I visit places like this, I encounter so many people who are ardent fans of those old 80’s and 90’s films….and Carpenter has profited so handsomely off of our enthusiasm and loyalty…why not simply add new sequels, and leave the established series intact? And I don’t have anything against remakes, in theory…a time or two, I preferred them to the originals(When a Stranger Calls, House on Sorority Row, etc.) Naturally, I have no desire to see my favorites remade, but I wouldn’t expect others to share such reservations.

  125. Interesting! I think a combination of factors has led me to relax my attachment to any notion of an official or authoritative timeline for any franchise I enjoy, so, it’s really more about whether I enjoy what the film does with the character than about some need to make its narrative cohere with other iterations or entries. Rosenthal HALLOWEEN 2, Zombie HALLOWEEN 2, and these two Green-McBride joints are all pretty good in my book, so, it’s just more attempts to explore the mythology and the possibilities for Michael. I’m keeping Lynchian hillbilly ghost-mom Michael AND blood-tears Michael. They’re a part of this gnarly blended family of films in my book.

  126. gregory scott garner

    October 23rd, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    I’m probably more open to that kind of malleability than I sound. For instance, I can easily overlook or forgive all kinds of continuity problems with Halloween 2 and 5-Loomis wearing a different trench coat between 1 and 2(apparently changing on his way back down the stairs!) or the Myers’ house suddenly being so much larger in 5-because I find that the good so far outweighs the bad with those films. Likewise, the Myers’ house in Resurrection is much closer to the original, and yet it is not enough to overcome the fact that Busta Rhymes is simply not an actor(made infinitely worse by the fact that he seems to think he’s Laurence Olivier). As I said, it is not the addition of new chapters-no matter how unrelated-that I find offensive. Merely the deliberate act of REMOVING established chapters. I can see no logical reason for this decision. It smacks of outright hostility towards the earlier films and their fans. In fact, the creative team behind this new series apparently sought to alter even the very end of the ORIGINAL. It appears that they wanted to reconstruct that history so that Laurie Strode would somehow be the hero rather than Loomis. Carpenter drew the line at rewriting his own work, but the fact that they dared to even ASK speaks volumes.

  127. The logical reasons are 1) to streamline it in order to do a story directly following up the original movie without having to deal with the convoluted continuity of the other sequels 2) to do a story about Laurie, who had been dead in every possible timeline already. Regardless, the existence of HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION permanently voided our rights to call any new HALLOWEEN sequel a slap in the face, even if it hadn’t been a very good high end one like HALLOWEEN ’18.

  128. I used to volunteer at the Ted Bundy suicide hotline. But I was there decades after him. One of the supervisors was around when he was, though. She HATED that he had the rep of being charming. She said he was weird and inappropriate with callers.

  129. gregory scott garner

    October 24th, 2021 at 12:05 am

    I’m familiar with the standard explanations, in theory. But they already DID a direct sequel to the ’78 original. In fact, I think it still burns Carpenter up that so many people love Halloween 2. He’s had it both ways for decades…whine about the sequels, but not about the revenues. He’s turned into kind of a sad case over the years…but if you’re going to be a sad case, best to be a rich one, I guess…As for wanting to do another story with Laurie Strode…Christ, if anything, I get that even LESS. It may sound heretical for a Halloween fan to say this, but I’ve never gotten the appeal of that woman. In fact, I think you could make a case that Laurie has only appeared ONCE in the series…there is no way you can compare the awkward, good-natured, bookish girl in the original…with what we’ve seen ever since, which is basically just Jamie Lee showing up and playing Jamie Lee…I mean, if you buy this new premise, then her entire history with Michael consisted of, what, TEN MINUTES??? They were a rough ten minutes, sure…but enough to turn that girl into the crass, vile old woman we see today? Hardly. The coarse manners…the vulgar language…the butch, abrasive persona….that’s not Laurie Strode. That’s Jamie Lee. Give me Ellie Cornell ANY DAY.

  130. John Carpenter is a sad case? He makes and performs music with his son that is celebrated all over the world. He plays video games. He does interviews in the same dirty sweatshirt he’s had for decades and smokes cigarettes on camera like it’s 1972. Everybody bites his shit and tells him he’s the man. He opens his hand every few years and a giant HALLOWEEN check falls into it. He never, ever has to wake up at 4:30 for a 6:00 am call. His work will live for fucking ever. That’s the happiest man in the world right there.

  131. gregory scott garner

    October 24th, 2021 at 8:17 am

    I’ve spent years listening to this guy, and-at least when it comes to Halloween-it’s always the same thing. Always whining about the sequels, always attacking their quality, always slamming their very EXISTENCE…when it was HIM who allowed them to exist, in the first place. Had the artistic purity of his ’78 classic really mattered THAT much to him, he didn’t have to allow any sequels. One interviewer pinned him down on this,and he admitted as much. ‘Ho’d out’, I believe, was the charming expression he used. Had the chance to direct Halloween 2…refused…and immediately set about criticizing the movie that he never had to allow to BE, in the first place. He wrote the screenplay…Rosenthal admitted to mimicking his style and pace as closely as possible….so one way or the other, the movie has ‘Carpenter’ all over it…And yet his petty jealousy poisons every word he has ever publicly uttered about the movie. And so it has gone…for decades, sitting back, passing judgment, and cashing the checks. These new guys could see this, and preyed upon it. So they come to the old man with an idea to stroke his vanity….’Oh, those OTHER sequels didn’t do justice to your masterpiece, Mr. Carpenter…But WE’LL get it right, don’t worry!’. And so they proceed to cancel all the earlier sequels…and basically just start churning out MORE sequels…These new guys knew that kissing his ass…and Jamie Lee’s…was their meal ticket, so they did so. But the amazing thing to me is that, even if you like the new movies, their claim to ‘legitimacy’ was supposed to be their reverence and adherence to the original’s approach….Hasn’t turned out that way. The earlier sequels….2, 4, 5, H20…were ALL much closer in style and substance than the 2018 movie. And all those years, Carpenter was sitting back fuming and throwing out comments like when he said that Myers should be shot into outer space…If there’s room in the shuttle, I’d recommend taking Carpenter and Jamie Lee WITH HIM…

  132. I suppose that’s one way to look at a guy so comfortable with his legacy that he doesn’t have to blow smoke up your ass about it. He could have made (and still can) a new HALLOWEEN movie at any point. He could call up Jason Blum and have a greenlight in two seconds. Less, probably. If he’s so fucking jealous, why hasn’t he done that? Because he’s telling the truth: HALLOWEEN was a one and done for him, and he doesn’t and never has seen the point in continuing the story, but if you insist, he will take your goddamn money. He’s got a more practical view of this series he started than either of us and all we did was watch the fucking thing. It’s his goddamn baby and he can feel however the fuck he wants about it.

  133. gregory scott garner

    October 24th, 2021 at 8:47 am

    The hard truth is that Halloween is so much better than anything else he’s ever done that one could almost wind up asking oneself…exactly WHY that is…But as to his ‘right’ to do what he’s done, sure, he has that right…I have the right to sell you a car, and then sit back and criticize where you choose to drive it…but it wouldn’t point to a hell of a lot of maturity on my part, would it? Truth is, it infuriates Carpenter that other men have come along and taken those original Halloween elements and crafted movies that were well received by the public. Even though none of those men are known to the public, and he gets the lion’s share of the money. That’s petty, and it’s weak.

  134. Carpenter’s done a lot of good shit. Pretty solid lifetime batting average. I think a lot comes down to letting go of the need to control reality, including the need to curate a head canon. To me, it’s more petty to hold grudges to people for not conforming to our subjective entitlements. He doesn’t owe us more HALLOWEEN movies, and he doesn’t owe us assurances that he’s hermetically sealed off the franchise from future corruption, timeline schisms, or interpretational heresies. We’ve got to let those little birdies fly away and trust … not that they’ll necessaril fly back, but that we’ll get other little birdies or cool that there will be other little non-avian classes of cool things. I do believe that if we open ourselves up a bit as far as new possibilities, there’s usually good stuff out there. That’s not abstract metaphysical speculation, just my practical experience. Sure, there are ruts, but I generally find that new stuff comes along or I discover old stuff I’d been sleeping on. That applies to horror movies, movies, or just life.

  135. I had no idea we had an expert on the mindstate of John Carpenter here. How did you gain this incredible power to see into the mind and heart of a man you’ve never and will never meet? It’s quite phenomenal and you really ought to be using it for a better purpose than ascertaining that the most lauded and imitated horror director of his era is jealous of Rick Fucking Rosenthal.

    Seriously, though, you’re making up fantasies about real people to suit some weird agenda about HALLOWEEN continuity. Of all the weird HALLOWEEN takes I’ve heard lately, this is the weirdest. Congratulations.

    And also THE THING is Carpenter’s major acheivement, not HALLOWEEN. They rebooted that, too. Was he jealous?

  136. gregory scott garner

    October 24th, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Skani: Not quite sure where the pettiness comes in on my part. Which part of my basic premise is untrue? Carpenter signed away the rights…he claimed the revenues….and he griped every step along the way about the results…which part of that am I mistaken about? After all, it’s not like I’m saying Carpenter is evil…I’m just saying that, when it comes to this, he hasn’t shown much class. Of course he doesn’t owe the audience anything….technically. Sylvester Stallone didn’t owe the audience anything back around ’89 or ’90 when he quit making Rambos and Cobras to devote himself to…a string of the most anemic comedies ever made…that was his right…but I have a right to weigh in on the results. When you’re in the public eye, that’s part of life. Like Gordon Gekko said, it’s all just conversation. When it comes to the bottom line, I’m sure we all agree Carpenter has come out quite well.

  137. Hi Gregory – In hindsight, I should’ve avoided the word petty, as it’s judgey and seldom helpful. I was just picking up the term from your usage of it, and putting the shoe on the other fit. But it confuses things here. First off, I’m not suggesting you’re a uniquely petty person. I can be very petty. It’s a behavior.

    I have not read Carpenter’s interviews as closely as you have. And it’s fine that you have. I’ve read a stupid amount in the weeds pop culture stuff. I take you at your word that you’ve accurately (if selectively) cataloged things he’s said, and I don’t judge you for it. Maybe he’s been petty (sidebar: I’m not sure whether, on net, he’s a victim, villain, or what in your eyes).

    All I mean to say is, he’s a person. He says stuff. Some of it he means, some of it he’s probably bullshitting. Some of it I’m sure depends on the mood or moderates with time. Some of it maybe is him being passive aggressive or maybe even intentionally signalling to the studio that he wants their attention — that he’d like some money or consideration, whatever. I’ve already said in the HALLOWEEN (2018) thread or somewhere that I’m convinced a big part of his enthusiasm for this new series is just that they gave him a pile of money to score it, geek out on his music, etc. They’ve treated him well, and so he’s “fed” an happy. Does that make him petty? Sure? Maybe?

    I guess the main thing I want to convey is that we don’t need to shackle people, movies, genres, or, for that matter, our fellow commenters in rigid conceptualizations of who they are, what they want, or who/what they should be and want, or what they should’ve done. If you need to get some stuff off your chest, then fine — I do! I just encourage you to let things be what they are and not get caught in a negative attachment, where a lot of perfectly good energy is expended being grumpy. Like, I think people are going too hard on this new movie, kind of majoring in the minors in their critiques. But, by the same token, it’s fine if they don’t like it. And it’s fine if you do or don’t watch it, whatever. Somewhere, we cross the line from letting things off our chest or expressing a frustration or critique and veer into just being stuck, tilting at windmills about things that are far in the past or far outside our control. I wish they’d done 5 more Englund NIGHTMARE films, and I wish he’d come back for one more, possibly with some helpful from CGI and creative stuntwork/framing. But they probably won’t, and that sucks, and it’s also okay — both at the same time.

  138. gregory scott garner

    October 24th, 2021 at 10:28 am

    Mr. Majestyk: If you could have seen the look on his face when that interviewer nailed him on being a sellout….the way he shifted in his seat, looking like he’d prefer to simply leave, or maybe even cry…you wouldn’t question my interpretation. Yeah, I think he’s eaten up with bitterness and jealousy that ANYONE went to see those intervening sequels, not just 2. As for his ‘major achievement’….kind of hard to characterize a remake of someone else’s work as being that much about Carpenter…of, he put his own stamp on it, making it much more gruesome and nihilistic…Halloween, of course, was the evolution of another, more generic story about a babysitter being terrorized. But Halloween, and all the accompanying, specific elements….Myers, Loomis, Strode, Haddonfield…were-in theory, at least-his own.

  139. gregory scott garner

    October 24th, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Skani: I make the statements I want to make, and I make them effectively. Those who differ can simply say so.If things get antagonistic, we’re all armed with the same weapon-a keyboard-so the playing field is perfectly level. I love the original 1978 Halloween motif. I love various other chapters in the series, as well. I enjoy exchanging thoughts with others who share this interest. Naturally, we won’t all agree on everything. No reason we should. I make the occasional foray into hyperbole. But generally speaking, I stand behind every word I write. If saying that Carpenter comes across as a bit of an Indian giver is a controversial statement…so be it. I can’t prove I’m right…but nobody else can prove I’m wrong, either.

  140. I’ve seen a hundred Carpenter interviews, and if he looked uncomfortable, it’s because he was trying to think of a civil way to shut down this snotnose fanboy interviewer who doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. Everything I’ve ever heard Carpenter say about HALLOWEEN indicates humility and gratitude for what was achieved. He does not consider it a masterpiece. He considers it a good piece of work that set him up for life. I have no fucking idea where you’d get the idea that him thinking the mercenary sequels to the potboiler he made 40 years ago because he couldn’t get any other work are anything to feel jealous of, especially since every time one comes out, everyone comes out of the woodwork to tell him how superior his version was. But yeah, I’m sure Dwight Little’s career really keeps him up nights.

  141. Having seen it twice now (once on the big screen, once at home), I wish I had something substantive to offer to the discourse. I mean, there’s an awful lot to unpack there, given the whole forty year’s worth of films. But my mind keeps jumping back to this one particular phrase like a roadblock, keeping me from really digging into the meat of the film. And that phrase is, simply:

    “Well, ain’t that some shit.”

    Sorry guys, I know you expected more from me. I am sorry. I’m just at sixes and sevens here.

  142. No, I think you nailed it, Jerome. That WAS some shit.

  143. Well, now that I am emboldened by Mr. M’s endorsement (and a fair amount of Evan Williams), I will say that it was a pretty brassy move to sideline Laurie in order to interrogate the effects of Meyers’ rampage on Haddonfield as a whole. I don’t think it was entirely successful, but you’ve only got so much time to tell a story and I think their reach exceeded their grasp. But I can still appreciate a big swing. And holy hell, was HALLOWEEN KILLS nothing if not a big fucking swing. While STILL totally being a David Gordon Green film. AND a Halloween film. That’s pretty amazing. I wish, and I bet Green does too, that the movie were just maybe thirty minutes longer in order to more carefully underline its themes and flush out its characters.

    A couple of personal picadillos. Karen should’ve been more front and center, given what happens. Allyson, too, given what’s prolly gonna happen. Lonnie should’ve listened to Loomis and got his ass out’ve there. Especially when his backup is a couple of kids.

    I’m glad Cameron didn’t die offscreen. That would’ve been a waste. Eff that guy.

  144. Agree with a lot of the criticisms…it is overstuffed and all-over-the-place, due to being so (gasp!) ambitious. I liked this less than the 2018 movie, but I still liked it,.

    However, the death of Lenny Clarke and his wife might be the most disturbing kill of the entire series for me. The shot panning from the wife bleeding out from a light tube in her neck to Michael calmly testing out the cutlery on her dead husband’s back has been seared in my brain for the last week.

  145. Jerome: I watched it again last night (gotta get max value out of the Premium Cock subscription before I cancel it) and it struck me that the best thing for every character would be to leave town and come back tomorrow. Michael will be done by then and ready to go into hibernation. Just avoid the problem. But that doesn’t give anyone the chance to make big tough guy statements of intent, so obviously no Real Murican is gonna do that.

    I started thinking of Michael as less analogous to a human murderer and more to a natural disaster like a tornado. A tornado seemingly has no rhyme or reason. It destroys one house and completely misses the one next to it. (Except in the case of the Johns. Don’t move into the tornado’s old house, y’all.) There’s no fighting or or dissuading it. And there’s certainly no point in trying to get revenge on it. It’s just a tornado. When you hear a tornado is coming, you fuckin’ evacuate. You listen to the experts. You do not run out to face the tornado while declaring that only you have what it takes to defeat it.

    Speaking of those many declarations of badass intent, I noticed on rewatch that none of them are shot with the proper visual grammar to let you know that they are true statements that will
    come to pass. There’s not one slow push-in on anybody making these big speeches. In fact, the camera slowly pulls AWAY from Laurie when she’s making one of her grand speeches. It’s subliminally letting you know how much stock you should put in this material. Somebody says “Evil dies tonight!” and the camera is Ron Howard saying “It didn’t.”

    I wonder if some people who hated it didn’t catch the fact that this is a movie about good people who are wrong about everything. I’m not sure audiences are used to listening to dialogue spoken by heroic characters and considering whether or not they are full of shit. Usually, when Laurie Strode speaks, that is the voice of the movie. Not so here. I wonder if this disconnect between what the protagonists say and what ends up actually happening feels more like a bug than a feature to a lot of people.

    In short, don’t try to pull action movie shit in a horror movie. It won’t work out the way you want.

  146. gregory scott garner

    October 24th, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    Mr. Majestyk: Is Carpenter your father? You seem awfully invested in him. And, yes, he sounded jealous and bitter as hell…kind of like a dad who’s embarrassed after the divorce because stepdad can afford to take the kids to more expensive places. And, yeah, it IS pathetic…Sure, it’s possible that I misread his tone. I don’t know the man personally. But your reaction has almost made me even MORE certain I was right to begin with. In fact, it’s beginning to sound as if YOU think I’m right, too. Your reaction is quite vehement, considering it’s a topic that’s of no consequence, either way. Don’t worry…whether I like him or not, Carpenter still gets to keep all that money…

  147. Wow, you really cracked the code, man. Keep these insights coming.

  148. I regret making this so hostile. I honestly think you’re nuts, though. Defaming a respected filmmaker’s character over your reading of some body language in an interview? Why? Because he thinks the HALLOWEEN sequels suck? Who doesn’t? I simply have no idea how you’ve drawn any of the conclusions you’ve drawn.

    You want to make it personal, though, I’m gonna assume Part 4 was the first HALLOWEEN you ever saw and you’ve been mad at Carpenter for thinking it’s garbage ever since. See how stupid that sounds when someone speculates wildly about a stranger based on the flimsiest of evidence?

  149. gregory scott garner

    October 24th, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    It IS possible that I could be nuts. I do seem to care an awful lot about things that most people disregard. (I prefer terms like ‘eccentric’ or ‘bohemian’, though).But the business about Carpenter is neither here nor there. I already admitted that I could have misinterpreted what I heard. Whether I’m correct or not, I don’t really care about that…was just mentioning an impression.

    What I DO care about is that I’m getting along in years…52 at present…and I had always hoped that there would be more good slasher movies for me to see before I reach my personal expiration date. When you think about it, being a fan of traditional slasher films is kind of a strange phenomenon…there were really only a few banner years for this genre of film. Pretty much 1980-84…and then scattered at random through the late 80’s and 90’s…A brief resurgence around the time of Scream…and then, that’s been pretty much it. So 90% of the quality material was released within about a 3 year span. I had high hopes for this current Halloween trilogy, and then that turned out to be something that wasn’t for me, either.

    I’ve gotten to the point where I actually ration the old movies. I have a yearly rotation, and watch certain things at certain times, being careful to never watch anything too often, since there’s clearly not going to be anything new on the horizon.

    So if I seem a bit belligerent, it’s got nothing to do with you. But as little as I ask out of life, you’d think I could get this…one more, basic, by-the-numbers, traditional movie about a guy in a jumpsuit who hides in people’s closets deciding whether or not to kill them. Doesn’t seem like an extravagant request. The old formula was never broken. But they’ve spent the last 30 years trying to fix it. And I do not understand this.

  150. I understand. Seriously. I’ve picked more fights here about dumb shit than I can count, and it’s all because of a nebulous dissatisfaction with some aspect of the big picture.

    I would also like to see some more great classic slasher movies. The best I can suggest is TERRIFIER, which, yes, is a creepy clown movie (groan) but it’s the BEST creepy clown movie. It’s straightforward, very gory, and the clown actually gives a great wordless performance. It’s got some twists to the formula but basically it’s just scary hallways and a dude with a knife jumping out of shadows. It scratched my slasher itch.

  151. gregory scott garner

    October 24th, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    You said it, man. There’s nothing like knowing he’s there, somewhere…I like other genres of film. But slashers stimulate my imagination like nothing else.

  152. Okay, I just finished this and I gotta say it was not good. It wasn’t scary. It wasn’t suspenseful. It was pretty stupid. I know we’ve already discussed how after the last couple of years we really cannot say we have an accurate read on how people really behave, but I guess I still need my movies to pretend that we do and moment after moment in this I just kept thinking, no one would behave that way. Like the scene with the trick or treaters playing the prank on the gay couple and they then tell the kids that “scary” story. At the end of that scene I told my friend, I don’t believe any person, adult or child, would act like that. I mean, come on. Window with the blinds wide open into the morgue where anyone can see the naked dead people? Sure! Before knowing anything about anything, other than some mental hospital inmates escaped and there were some murders on a street and someone runs into the bar saying, “He’s in my car!” someone immediately yells, “Evil dies tonight!!!”? Okay! Some rando comes into the hospital and starts insighting a mob while the police just stand there? Of course! Let’s grab knives and split up to search the house for whoever left the bloody hand print on the back door instead of easily walking out the front door and calling the police!

    And the message was all over the place. I love how Laurie blames Michael for his evil infecting the town like she wasn’t in that mob yelling, “It’s Michael! Go get him Tommy!” Oh, oops, then suddenly they’re all “sheep” when she realizes it’s not Michael but they’re all too whipped up to be stopped. I still don’t know if she thinks everyone needs to unite to stop his evil or not. It seems to go back and forth on that message. Or maybe by then I was too checked out to pay close enough attention.

    But, my all time favorite moment was when Tommy gave his little speech about how he was going to rip off his mask, look him in the eye, and tell him night, night. He even repeated the “night, night” while lit up with a red light in a tight close up. That’s straight up Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost material.

    I don’t know, maybe they are right on with their message, if their message is, people are idiots, everthing’s shit, then you die.

  153. The Undefeated Gaul

    October 25th, 2021 at 12:51 am

    Speaking of TERRIFIER, the design of that clown for some reason is the scariest thing ever to me. I’m not even afraid of clowns, but that one makes me feel uncomfortable just by looking at pictures of him, let alone seeing him in motion (great non-verbal performance). One of the very few horror films you keep thinking about for a while after, especially when you happen to wake up in the middle of the night.

    Seems like the sequel is going in a sillier direction with angels and devils and what not, so I’m expecting that to be a lot less scary. But looking forward to it nonetheless.

  154. The Undefeated Gaul

    October 25th, 2021 at 12:51 am

    Btw, I’ve sometimes wondered, when I’m in my living room alone late at night, if you had to deal with a movie slasher in real life and he/she/it was about to burst through your window and come at you, which is the one that would be the absolute worst to have to face?

    Easy. It’s the TERRIFIER clown.

  155. It think people have been sleeping on Anthony Michael Hall’s quite-good-ness in the movie (although it did make me realise, wow Season 1 of THE DEAD ZONE (the one I watched) was a long time ago now). It occurred to me he could have been a solid choice in that DEATH WISH remake a couple of years ago, if they had been sticking with their original\Brian Garfield’s vision of “I never really expected this guy to be the kind to mow down people but now I can kind of see it” rather than “I know this guy will kill people from thirty years of previous films”.

  156. gregory scott garner, I take umbrage ONLY with this statement:

    “The hard truth is that Halloween is so much better than anything else he’s ever done”

    BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, THE THING, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK are “Lesser” Carpenters?????

    Even when the man went a little mushy, you got the lovely STARMAN

  157. I’m not sure the premise of the film is supposed to be about the realistic consequences of a slasher, as some here have suggested. I mean apart from Michael being an unkillable force of nature – let’s grant the filmmakers this miracle exception. Yes, the injured Laurie and Hawkins spend the entire movie in hospital beds, that’s all fine and good (maybe they should’ve had less screen time though, since they ended up doing nothing to affect the course of the plot?). Yes, people who get swept up into joining mobs act impulsively and stupidly and more often than not end up causing unintended collateral damage. These are things that could and probably would happen for real. But then it would seem the filmmakers want it both ways, since they populate the movie with lots of stupid slasher movie fodder whose actions don’t make any sense on a moment to moment basis (I’m specifically referring to them not having some kind of relatable fight-or-flight response). Through clumsy blocking they are posed into situations where they are easily killed by Michael.

    I mean I usually don’t mind this sort of thing in a slasher movie – most times it’s an expectation of the genre – but this movie is otherwise so well made and tonally serious that I found this disconnect to be quite jarring and it constantly took me out of the movie. In Halloween 2018 where the kid accidentally shot Dr. Sartain in the bus I thought that was a relatable human mistake. He’s a kid and he’s scared and probably doesn’t have a lot of firearms training. But then in Halloween Kills the adult Hawkins, a cop, ends up shooting his partner when the latter is being strangled by Michael. Hawkins wasn’t startled into discharging his gun by mistake – compared to that kid he had ample deliberation time. It was probably the only time in the movie where it would have been a good idea to get up close to Michael with a gun which people constantly do later on when keeping a distance absolutely was an option.

    As for another thing that confused me: Sleep apnea guy, drone lady and Big John/Little John – were these characters meant to be funny or just made eccentric to be memorable? Some of you guys seem to find them sympathetic and interesting, but to me they seemed “screenwritery” and hokey. And, I don’t mean to be crass, but a couple going around calling each other “Big John” and “Little John” seems a lot like them calling each other “top” and “bottom”, as if they need to remind each other who’s who. Is this a legitimate reading or am I just being homophobic? Anyway, I had a hard time seeing them as real people (instead of screenwriter’s flourish, not because they were gay, jeez) since they kept at it even after they knew they had an intruder in their house.

  158. gregory scott garner

    October 25th, 2021 at 6:53 am

    KayKay: If you like those things better than Halloween, so be it. I do not. In fact, I think Halloween is better than almost anything ever done by ANYONE.

  159. I personally agree that it’s better than any of those films. If we bring THEY LIVE into the picture, I might have to start rubbing my chin a little.

  160. This movie was…pretty good! Not great, doubt I’d rewatch it or anything, but felt like an appropriate sequel…what else are you going to do for the middle section of a trilogy that almost by definition has no plot? There won’t be a beginning, there won’t be an ending. So just kill a bunch of people!

    I would have liked more suspense though. Green tends to keep the pace up which is nice, but Halloween to me means suspense. You just want murders, that’s Friday the 13th. Tobias is right, not one of these characters come off like anything but a screenwriter giving some affectations to characters..but I’m okay with that, they exist to die so might as well make them weird and interesting. But they REALLY captured The Shape in these, way better than something like H20 did. The movements, the mask, everything. I liked that Laurie was sidelined…Michael is the star, time for a movie to straight up act like it. It’s not like in general she does a lot in 78 Halloween anyway. Hope they definitively kill Michael in the last one…since this is a trilogy and not just another random-ass sequel.

    gregory scott garner is wrong about reshooting the ending of Halloween for H18…they WERE going to do it, but not to change what actually happened. It was just to bring audiences up to speed and they were going to do it from a different angle to give it a different perspective. But not change what happened. I LOVE how Carpenter shits on the sequels. The man is a breath of fresh air in Hollywood, he tells it straight up. And he’s not bemoaning how others have ruined his movie…much like he knows a shitty remake of The Fog doesn’t affect his great movie one bit. And what’s great about him is he includes himself in his criticisms…talking about writing the sequel while drinking beer and never having a good idea for it…does anyone ever hear a Hollywood guy talk about a movie they did like that? Take M. Night Shamalyan’s worst piece of shit and he’ll defend it with all seriousness. Carpenter doesn’t just bring this stuff up, he’s asked about it and no he’s not shrinking in his chair and crying in shame, he’s having a good time doing interviews and shooting the shit, and bragging about selling out and getting rich off of shitty remakes and being lazy as fuck. Carpenter is the KING.

    And weird to say “this is what a slasher should be.” Like, a slasher film has to have a character who slashes. That’s all they have to be. If you disregard groups of people being chased, then Scream isn’t a slasher, or even a lesser like I Know What You Did Last Summer. Not to mention OG slashers like The Burning, My Bloody Valentine and Hell Night (I think the final two are a few of the better ones from that group). I mean who wants every slasher to be the same fucking thing over and over, they pretty much are anyway, why exactly redo some shit that was done 40 years ago? It’s like saying every action movie should be some middle-aged white guy who gets fucked over and gets revenge by killing everyone (hey I just described half of modern action movies being made).

  161. gregory scott garner

    October 25th, 2021 at 9:18 am

    Muh: What I read said that they wanted to rewrite the ending, for all practical purposes, having Loomis be killed by Michael and then having Laurie be the one responsible for Michael’s apprehension. If they were wrong, take that up with them. But it fits right in with the recent sensibility…I mean, who wants the hero to be a distinguished older white guy? And one who believes in the Devil, no less! When you can have it be a girl? I bet they’re sick they can’t go back and rewrite her as a lesbian…

    I don’t have any power over how they make horror movies, or anything else. But I do have a preference, and my own notions of what makes them work. Intimacy and isolation are pretty much essential. Change that, and you wind up with something along the lines of action-horror, more than a pure slasher movie. One of the movies you cite-Hell Night-is a terrific example of what I’m saying. The group is isolated in this huge mansion. Then, they are isolated within the house, itself. Sure, the characters aren’t alone EVERY SINGLE SECOND. It’s not supposed to be Robinson Crusoe. But they do tend to wind up alone, or at most in pairs. Remember the trio who doubled back and went out to play pranks on them? They each went their separate ways to engineer the various stunts. Later in the movie, one guy goes for help, and has to get back onto the grounds and into the house…alone. Another guy goes down to the garden area when he sees a flashlight on the ground. Or a guy leaves his ladyfriend in bed for a moment to go to the bathroom. Whatever the details of the specific scene, you wind up with a much better movie than you would if all 7 of those people were congregated together and the killer just descends upon them hacking away…

    The original Friday the 13th may be the finest example of this. The deaths of Brenda, and Marcie, are two of the very finest such sequences ever filmed….and largely possible BECAUSE of the isolation to which I refer. And they keep it up right til the very end. When there’s only two characters left, the movie very effectively builds anticipation as to who will die next. As I mentioned earlier, the scene where Adrienne King makes tea is two solid minutes long…out of a movie that is only about 90 minutes or so…that is an eternity, but it’s a great scene, too. Because by that time, you know SOMETHING is about to happen. Just a matter of what, when, and to whom…

    As I said, there is room for variation within the traditional framework. But I don’t generally like the results when they go OUTSIDE of that framework.

  162. I think you’re misremembering what you read, cause I never saw they were going to change the ending to the OG Halloween. The point with this new one was to make a sequel to it, can’t change what happened in that movie. But it’s always nice to see an older white guy complaining about wokeness, that’s a new and interesting take on things.

    https://collider.com/new-halloween-movie-almost-began-with-original-films-ending-reshot

  163. Most people in these new movies have been relatively isolated when they’ve been killed (two at most). In this one there were a few bigger scenes. But Myers whacked out a whole tuck full of (white) hillbillies in the 4th sequel you like so that’s just something that happens with sequels, they ramp up. It isn’t Myers killing a mass of people every time…much like how Hell Night and My Bloody Valentine mixed it up. It’s just luckily for us there’s no five minute scene of someone doing their nails or something, which is a concession to our modern way of life with the Tik Toks and the Zooms and millennials.

  164. gregory scott garner

    October 25th, 2021 at 9:36 am

    I cannot say for certain either way. But I find it odd that they’d need to reshoot something if they didn’t plan to alter it in some fashion. As for being the hero…if your life’s on the line, perhaps you’d prefer a teenaged girl to intervene…I think I might feel more comfortable with a strong man who understands the threat better than anyone on the planet….(oh, yeah…and who’s carrying a .357 magnum, too)…

  165. They said they were doing an exact recreation, just from different angles so after that you assuming something and you know what they say, when you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME.

  166. gregory scott garner

    October 25th, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Muh: As much as I love Halloween 4, that’s always been my primary criticism with it…all the rednecks and state police cluttering the landscape.

  167. I love that even at my beloved Nugget games Carpenter’s Halloween theme is pumped into the arena in high tension moments in the fourth quarter. Always got me pumped. Can any DJs around here verify that the original theme is now a standard at DJ booths around the world, even when it’s not October?

  168. I’ve spewed hate for this movie a few times already, but I have to say I am curious to see what they do with the finale.
    So they basically leaned all the way into the thought that Michael is some sort of supernatural, paranormal, inhuman entity. So how do they finally put an end to him and wrap him up for good? Will we get some sort of exorcism? Some kind of handholding seance?
    It seems they took such a hard turn with this, they will have to go even more bonkers.

  169. Okay, I have to share something funny my friend said when we were watching this that still makes me smile when I think about it. She said, if Michael ever did become rehabilitated and entered the world, he’d have a really skewed idea of what people wear, since he’d only ever out in the world on Halloween. He’d show up to work in a pirate’s outfit or something.

  170. That’s funny!

  171. Ha, that reminds me of a story that a band (Forgot which one.) once told on the radio. It was about them flying to Germany for the first time, but when they landed, nobody told them beforehand that it was Carnival Monday, so their first impression of Germany was that it was a country full of drunk clowns who throw their beer bottles at you and piss on the sidewalk.

  172. Boy, was I shocked and astounded to read a leaked early draft of the Halloween Ends At Least Until Someone Figures Out How To Drain More Blood Out Of The Shape’s Corpse screenplay. Who would believe that Michael Myers/The Shape would finally be brought down by the great-great-great-great grandchildren of the dog he killed and ate back in Halloween (their owner to be played by the lovely Danielle Harris and their voices portrayed by Tom Atkins, Lance Kinsey, and PJ Soles apparently but don’t take my word for it). What a twist! I could do without the twist on the twist when the great-great-great-GREAT granddog somehow puts the Shape’s abandoned mask on at the end in time for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time… On Halloween The Curs of Michael Myers. That seemed a little too unlikely.

  173. gregory scott garner

    October 28th, 2021 at 6:25 am

    Michael has always taken quite a toll on the Haddonfield dog population…

  174. Speaking of dogs, I’m hoping the next movie begins with Michael breaking into a veterinary clinic to perform some self-surgery Anton Chigurh-style (maybe with some dropping of bullets into a metal container?) to show us that Michael indeed IS only human. So they can hilariously walk that back AGAIN over the course of that movie.

  175. A great review!

    I did not enjoy this movie and was actually really disappointed. I didn’t like Laurie just hanging out in the hospital. I felt the whole ‘evil dies tonight’ was hamfisted and forced. But I did like what they were attempting with mob mentality and how fighting evil can create evil, but I felt the execution failed.

    BUT your review was so well-thought out and you make some really good points of what the movie was trying to do. You got me very open to trying to revisit it and give it a second chance.

  176. I was discussing the HALLOWEEN films and the reaction to KILLS and the DG Green timeline, and I had this thought. A big theme in KILLS is challenging the tendency to try to explain away Michael in various myopic or overtlyh self-centered ways. This discourse happens both within the films (esp. via Loomis and now via the cast of KILLS writ large) AND outside / about the films (viz. this comment thread, fandom writ large). There is this pan-textual conversation about who Michael is and how to make sense of him and whether this is necessary, fruitful, or even safe (As I mentioned previously, it’s the podcasters and Sartain in 2018 who get some of the worst deaths, possibly as punishment for trying to explain Michael).

    Here in the hallowed halls of Vern review comment threads, the discussion turns to the folly of trying to understand Michael, when the actual true/valid interpretation of Michael is that he is completely motiveless and mythology-less: He kills because he kills, and there is no explanation, and you’re a fool for trying to fashion one.

    However, and yes, as usual, I’ve buried the lede…

    Isn’t that also just another way to try to make sense of him? Isn’t it too easy, especially for the cynical, fatalistic, despairing mindset to say, in effect, “the lesson of HALLOWEEN is that life is cruel and shitty and devoid of meaning and hopeless in the end”? Isn’t that perhaps just another projected meaning, puppeteering these films to say what we want them to say, mean what we want them to mean — to serve as mouthpiece and proof text to our own views? In other words, reading our meanings into the Shape’s white mask and mysterious motives.

    One thing I’ve hammered on above is that Michael actually is not completely random. He has a sense of humor. He has intentionality — he’s got goals. He has developed since 1978 into a meaner, more effective killer — every bit as efficient but even more productive, resourceful, and creative.

    But he doesn’t just have abstract, ahistorical self-improvement goals, where more kills per Halloween is akin to increasing his max dead lift or developing that perfect six-pack. He has a specific arc, destiny, or instinct to go home. Home to Haddonfield. Home to his childhood house. Home to Judith’s room. He doesn’t just head to random place or travel on a random walk, randomly stabbing. He is not indifferent as to where he ends up. He keeps coming home, and he clearly wants to be home. By definition, because if he didn’t care or was truly random, he would end up in any number of the other places that exist between Smith’s Grove and the Myers house in Haddonfield.

    So, here is my buried lede. Michael’s behavior is not random. It’s not without reason. He is not pure evil in the sense of decontextualized, depersonalized, ahistorical, undirected violence. He may not even be pure evil, whatever the hell that means. We don’t know his story. We don’t know why he killed Judith. Loomis never cracked it. Sartain never cracked it. The entire cast of KILLS has no fucking clue, and like Loomis, they attempt to elevate Michael to some mythological force that is beyond the personal and yet somehow bound to a specific historical person.

    But just because no one has successfully understood Michael or what makes him tick that doesn’t mean there is no explanation or that nothing makes him tick. Prior failure or current ignorance is not evidence of necessary eternal failure or incomprehensibility. It’s jus evidence that we have failed — and possibly doubled down on our failure — up until and including now.

    What if the something that does make him tick is whatever primal trauma or developmental phase that culminated in him killing Judith? He killed Judith that night, not before, and he was sufficiently non-threatening that he was left with her and not viewed as a threat. And then he was sent away to fester for however many years that was. And Loomis and everyone failed him and after failing him, dismissed him as uncureable / pure evil and just locked him away. What a great doctor: I can’t cure you, so you must be uncurable and incorrigible.

    What if Micahel is both traumatized and traumatizer, and what if instead of being helped or getting help, he dug into his defenses and obsessions and went further into his own head, and what if those who meant to help him dug in and doubled down on blaiming him for their failures. Isn’t that what happens with addiction — it doubles down and compounds itself into a vicious cycle? Isn’t that what society does to the poor, homeless, and downtrodden? Writes them off as beyond help? And so Michael remains emotionally and psychologically fixated — a big strong little kid who killed his big sister for reasons maybe he does or doesn’t understand, who is stuck there and can’t break free. He keeps repeating what he did to Judith, and he keeps returning to that night and that place and to Judith (the headstone, the fixation on babysitters, the return to her literal room in that literal home).

    What if the need to make Michael pure evil says more about us being complicit in the tendency to mythologize him and write him off, when he is not pure mythological evil but an incredibly strong six-year old kid in a man’s body who has never recovered from what he did to his sister and whatever it was that he experienced (among others or in his own head) leading up to his decision to killer her?

  177. I should highlight that, part of what set me off in this direction was the recognition that it will not be satisfying if HALLOWEEN ENDS simply does a better job of killing Michael (doesn’t get much better than H20, so that won’t do). The other thing was the recognition that Michael’s behavior is not random — it’s closer to obsessive than random, and the less extrem view is that it is purposeful: He comes home because he has unfinished business at home, because he’s developmentally stuck in that place on that night in 1963, and he’s never left, he’s just been reliving and rehearsing and boiling and whatever else that is connected to that night and what led to it.

    But then the third catalyst was Dan Prestwich asking rhetorically — and, I assume jokingly — “What if in the next one, they defeat Michael with love?” And, I thought, all irony aside, yeah, okay, what if? I mean, not exactly that, but what if Tina Turner was wrong and love does got something to do with it? What if twisted love and twisted remorse and twisted shame and twisted self-hatred has to do with Michael killing Judith. And what if twisted or failed love — the need for and lack of love and the twisted response to its frustration — has something to do with him coming home. What if the story of Michael is not a story of pure unfathomable evil? What if that is just another bullshit narrative?

    What if Michael’s curse has nothing to do with Druids or being the anti-christ or being born without the capacity for empathy or love. What if Michael’s curse is lost, twisted, under-developed, and/or frustrated love? What in these films rules out the possibility that he could’ve ever loved, that he perhaps DID love his sister (maybe even a lot), that he did something terrible for reasons we don’t know — and maybe, not sure, he doesn’t fully know — and never recovered from it and never was helped through and out of it. And what if the twisted pain and energy that culminated in that horrific act in 1963 was never dealt with, never talked about, and what if all of his behavior is governed by an arrested development that happened around the time love seemed to die, when he killed his sister. And now he is not only a ghost but is himself haunted. Possessed by pain, grief, rage, and the failure to figure out love.

  178. When you go so far down the rabbit hole that you accidentally recreate Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN.

  179. Definitely there are affinities of interpretation, though I was not at all a fan of Zombie HALLOWEEN 2007 execution or the white trash trauma “origin story” take. I was a fan of how 2009 reframes Michael as a psychologically impoverished and essentially psychotic person who is motivated by a hallucinatory-delusional idealization of his family. And I has a big fan of his rage-a-holic Michael, more because it was a different take on Michael. So, there were things I liked and things I didn’t.

    But all that set aside, what about 1978, 2018, and KILLS — taken as a cohseive storyline — rules out my interpretation? Among other things it does, KILLS subverts the idea that any non-Michael character in these films has a privilged “valid” understanding of who he is. Loomis’s “he is simply and purely evil” schtick is just one educated man’s informed but very biased opinion. We had 6 films worth of Pleasance-Loomis bullshit, and then we had Zombie deconstruct Loomis’s bullshit (in various ways), and now we have these new films, which integrate aspects of Zombie’s perspective into the Carpenter/Jamie Lee continuity.

    So, yes, I’m down the rabbit hole in my verbosity, and I’m drawing together various strands of meaning. But I think my reading is better than the “pure evil” reading for a few reasons. Pleasance’s Loomis is a histrionic, hyperbolic crank. KILLS quite directly and repeatedly deconstructs the tendency to wax philosophical and metaphysical about Michael as essentially an exercise in self-serving, grandiose, unfalsifiable hyperbole. All three films, but especially 1978 and KILLS, are intent on showing Michael as a man on a mission to return home and re-create / re-litigate his primary trauma. Despite the surface similiarities, he is the complete opposite of Jason Vorhees in this regard: Jason is a jaws-like man-shark killing machine, who seems to be running off of nothing but his Mom’s disembodied “kill” command, running on a loop. Michael is out of Smith’s Grove and on his way home to address very personal, albeit mysterious business.

  180. It’s a perfectly reasonable interpretation of events. It’s just, like all explanations of Michael’s madness, a boring one. It changes him from the boogieman into just another sad, crazy product of his environment/bad genes. In our world, that’s what Michael would be. But our world sucks.

    Carpenter knew better. The mystery is the point. There is no answer. There can’t be an answer. If DGG tries to provide one, he wasn’t paying attention to his own movies.

  181. gregory scott garner

    October 31st, 2021 at 10:30 am

    Loomis was the only one to experience and observe Michael over such a long period of time. If I recall correctly, even HE didn’t claim to have given up overnight. He devoted the first 8 years to what he referred to as trying to ‘reach him'(very 70’s connotations, like something out of Welcome Back, Kotter). Although it was easy to see that he was already quite troubled by his patient by the following May, when he addressed the psychiatric board. So my theory was always that something that Loomis experienced during those years of sincere but fruitless effort led him to this conclusion. The fact that we are not apprised of exactly what this was only made Michael-as well as Loomis-more intriguing, in my estimation. In the ’78 original, Loomis had all the traditional qualities we associate with an authority figure of his era…there was a stoicism, and a steeliness, in his demeanor, when dealing with the staff, nurses, other doctors, etc…Even dealing with the Sheriff, he seemed perfectly at home giving the orders. Yet there are moments when we see the stoic demeanor vanish, and he seems genuinely unsettled, if not downright afraid(as he himself admits). Particularly when Michael gets away in the car, Loomis seems downright anguished. Having this effect on such a stern authority figure is part of the mystique of the character. I PREFER the fact that they do not spell it out. I think it adds to the narrative considerably that they never tell you why Loomis is SO freaked out. But as to the question of Michael’s nature…of whether or not he’s just an exceptionally strong psychopath, or whether he actually IS the Bogeyman, and is powered by something unexplainable and otherworldly…if they had stopped with the ’78 original, I’d have said it was open to interpretation. But the original series made the decision to tilt the narrative in the direction of the supernatural, and I felt they made it work. Whatever the limitations inherent in Loomis’ personal vantage point, he was the one who was THERE, in the trenches…This was the way that Carpenter conceived of the character. But I’ve never heard Carpenter comment on whether he believed that Loomis was actually CORRECT. From what I HAVE heard him say on the character of Michael Myers, he seemed to share Loomis’ assumptions. But taking into account the fact that Loomis is enough of a traditionalist that he believes in the Devil-as well as the fact that Michael’s powers seem oriented around the Festival of Samhain, itself-that still leaves a very broad canvass. I cannot help but to conclude that any possible explanation of Michael would be, of necessity, a very nebulous one. The guy who wrote the novelization of the original film introduced some business about a family curse that had come down over many generations. But ultimately, if you were able to make it decipherable to average humans, then you’d probably ruin it, cinematically speaking. I prefer not knowing. But that’s me…I like MOST mysteries better before they’re resolved. As with Jack the Ripper…he only killed 5 people, if I recall correctly, but he was the most fascinating of killers, BECAUSE the aura of mystery was so heavy surrounding him and his relatively brief span of activity.

  182. Thanks, guys. I agree that the power and beauty of the first film is the mystery and ambiguity of it all. And I agree that there is no simple “answer” in the sense of a purely reductive cause of Michael’s actions. But I do believe there is resonance, insight, richness, enjoyment, etc. to be mined from plumbing aspects of Michael’s broken humanity vs. being overly hung up on his inexplicable inhumanity, Loomis-style. So, I don’t want “the answer,” but I do see value in exploring his humanity, agency, and personhood vs. continuing to Loomis-style rave about his status as pure eevil, which becomes circular and boring very quickly (works for that one movie, for sure). The shape mask is a blank ghostly canvass ripe for us to project whatever, but the Michael underneath the mask, whose face we sometimes see is very much a specific historical person who was part of a family that he destroyed and who keeps revisiting and re-enacting that. A cosmic force of evil would not be hung up on Judith Myers, revisting her grave, stealing her headstone, going after other babysitters, going home. He’s a very specific person who, far from being a cosmic, mythical force of evil, seems actively stuck in a specific point in his own historical past.

  183. Skani: This is not to say I think your theory is boring. It’s always a fun time to speculate about Michael’s motivations and modus operandi. It’s just that it’s only fun when it’s still Schroedinger’s Origins of Evil. As soon as you open the box and decide on one true explanation, Michael gets diminished. It doesn’t matter WHAT that explanation is. Once you peg down what he is, he becomes less than he was before.

    But anyway. Happy Halloween, boils and ghouls! It’s become an annual tradition for me to make a song out of HALLOWEEN samples, so here’s a link to this year’s offering, which samples three tracks from the score to KILLS, as well as Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” for one part. Also it is about O.J. for reasons you’re gonna have to ask Action Bronson about. Plus there is a guitar solo. Hope you guys dig it.

    White Bronco [Remix]

    Listen to White Bronco [Remix] by Walker Sexist Mangler #np on #SoundCloud

  184. Dope! Always here for AB. Have not checked on any of his recent output, but recently discovered and approve of these two tracks: “Corniche” (w/ Roc Marciano) and “Dudley Boyz” (w/ Westside Gunn). Also classic is “The One” w/ Prodigy, although you’re a P-head, so, I’m sure you know that one. Nice beat!

  185. I failed at Hallowen because a kid came dressed as Michael Myers and I didn’t answer the door holding an iron screaming “evil dies tonight”

  186. gregory scott garner

    November 10th, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Muh: I happened across the article that I was referencing(by accident, actually, which is why it took this long to respond). In October of 2018, Carpenter stated, unequivocally, that the new filmmakers were going to have Loomis die. He overruled them. So they were so eager to turn this into feminist, woke trash that they were perfectly willing to rewrite the greatest finale in slasher history. Hell, if Pleasance were still alive, they’d have probably had him go down on his knees, cry, and beg Michael for mercy before being killed. Then Laurie could come in and body slam Michael, cuff him, and proceed to stuff him…Just what we need…not just girl power, but RETROACTIVE girl power!!!

  187. With all due respect you definitely imagined this because I am a life long subscriber to Feminist Woke Trash Aficionado Magazine and they never published such an article.

  188. Actually, Vern, I wrote the article in question, and this description is dead on, except he left out the part where, after Laurie body slams Michael, she yells, “This is for having a penis (and no other reason)!” Even I, a Feminist Woke Trash Afficionado freelancer, thought that was a little on the nose.

  189. Maj, didn’t you tell me you were going to have a lesbian biker gang roll up just in time to see Laurie do that and immediately initiate her into the gang? Or was that another article you were working on?

  190. It sounds familiar, but these things tend to run together when you’re part of the Feminist Woke Trash Industrial Complex.

  191. gregory scott garner

    November 10th, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    I guess it IS kind of disingenuous to refer to ‘feminism’ when the person in question is Jamie Lee Curtis….From what I understand, she wasn’t given two gender-neutral names by coincidence…

  192. Okay Greg, stop that shit.

  193. Wow, digging out the old intersex chestnut makes me think you have a deep seated fear of nuts roasting on an open fire and as an aficionado of Nuts Roasting On An Open Fire Quarterly, I know they’ve never targeted you.

  194. gregory scott garner

    November 10th, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    Fear? No…distaste, perhaps…but that’s more common than you’d think…

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>