‘Halloween’ – believe in the Boogeyman again

It’s a hard stigma to shake, the plight of the extended horror franchise. With endless sequels, rehashes, reboots, retcons, muddy canon, actor changes, resurrections, and a pretty definitive track record of diminishing returns, people just don’t really care anymore. That is, unless you can get the original filmmaker, the OG “scream queen,” and one of Hollywood’s most outrageous funnymen on board. Then you’re cooking with gas. So, after 40 years, 10 films, 2 reboots, and 3 retcons, Michael Myers is back just in time for Halloween. And it doesn’t suck!

Now, there is actually quite a lot to unpack for the Halloween series to make sense. In 1978, John Carpenter’s original Halloween came out, and it was tremendous. It was a simple, well-executed slasher, with a memorable killer and an awesome “final girl” in Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode. Perfectly easy setup. Michael kills his sister. Gets locked up for life, as his shrink evaluates him to be “pure evil.” he escapes on Halloween 15 years later, and returns home to kill whomever he finds nearby. Michael’s doctor tracks him down and shoots him, and Laurie survives. In the followup, Halloween II, we discover Laurie is actually Michael’s OTHER long lost sister, hidden from him all these years. Another showdown. More blood. Mike’s doctor burns him this time.

“You know I’ve prayed every night that he would escape.”

This is where it gets really silly, so we’ll just sum up. Michael sits out a whole movie (meant to be an anthology-style reboot), then comes back immortal, kind of psychic, and worshiped by an ancient cult. Laurie dies, and Michael goes after his niece instead. Then we get another retcon, Laurie’s alive, yay! And the last 4 films never happened. It’s a straight sequel to Halloween II. Then we have an overly shitty sequel to that, and oh no, Laurie dies again. Then Rob Zombie of all people remade the original two flicks, and that was a goddamn chore to get through, and now we’re here. 40 years on, to wipe the slate clean, and deliver a single followup to the original Halloween. No cults, no psychics, no secret family revelations. Just a man in a mask with a knife.


The first promotional image released for Halloween (2018).

Halloween finds Michael having survived his being shot 40 years ago, and remanded back to his psychiatric facility for the rest of his days. A pair of journalists come to visit him and get insight into his killings. But Michael hasn’t spoken since he was locked up. While being transferred, the day before Halloween coincidentally, Michael escapes and heads back to his hometown, Haddonfield. But this time, Laurie is ready. She’s spent 40 years preparing for Michael’s return, and she’s not going to let this Halloween end in any more bloodshed, except his.

“There’s a reason we’re supposed to be afraid of this night.”

Director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), and Danny McBride (HBO’s Eastbound & Down) co-wrote the new sequel, deciding to start with the original film, and erase the ridiculous, messy canon of the others. It’s a bold move, but also an incredibly good idea, as everything added to the lore after Carpenter’s original adds nothing of value to the Halloween story. Their goal was to make a worthy successor to Carpenter’s classic slasher, and to do that, you have to trim the fat with a kitchen knife. The great thing about paying proper tribute to the original film? It makes it easy to get the original filmmaker on board.


John Carpenter, renaissance man that he is, directed, co-wrote, and scored the original Halloween. We all know that iconic piano theme of his. Carpenter came back for this new sequel to score the film, including an updated version of the original theme (find it on YouTube; it’s fantastic). His music helps make the Halloween feel more like a true companion to the original, even after four decades.

“He killed a few people with a knife. Not really a big deal, by today’s standards.”

Even after wiping away the franchise’s canon, Gordon and McBride pay respect to the various films. A throwaway line addresses the “silly rumours” that Laurie and Michael were related. Michael outfits himself in his signature coveralls after killing a mechanic, just like The Return Of Michael Myers. We even hear him referred to as “the shape,” as he is credited in the first Halloween. We’re also treated to a few terrific throwbacks to the first film at some critical parts of the climax. While This Guy laments shoehorned fan service, each of these little nods felt earned, and were incredibly enjoyable. While I was hoping we’d get at least one instance of Michael pulling one of these again, apparently you can’t have everything.


Jamie Lee Curtis falls right back into Laurie’s shoes which is great as the film would not have worked without her. The dynamic between Michael and Laurie has always been the backbone of the series, shitty sequels or not. Curtis brings it all together, and delivers an awesome, badass performance. Which brings us to the writing. Now, it’s not a perfect film; we can get that notion out of the way immediately. Carpenter’s Halloween was a low-budget slasher with heart, but it wasn’t perfect, and this hasn’t changed. Gordon and McBride introduce a few new characters, most of whom are obvious fodder for the blade, while they do also spew out a few absolute golden lines. A young child being babysat, Julian, is perhaps the most entertaining character in the whole movie. Michael’s kills are nasty, brutal, but still with a flair for the dramatic. Gordon’s direction is also surprisingly fresh. There’s a particularly intricate long take as Michael first arrives back in Haddonfield that is very slick.

overall, what we have here is a sequel of the caliber we could’ve had thirty something years ago, if anyone cared enough to try. As it stands, 2018’s Halloween is a worthy successor to the classic slasher, with enough respect and innovation to warrant its own existence. Now, if we can get the team back together for the 60-year reunion, I’ll be really impressed.

Happy Halloween!

This Guy Scores It: 7.5/10


This Guy

Who likes movies? This Guy! Who has way too much to say, and lacks the mental focus, or appropriate filters necessary to express himself in an acceptable fashion? This guy! Oh, and something about two thumbs.


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