Schlocktoberfest XI – Day 31: Halloween Kills

 

SchlocktoberfestXI

Halloween Kills (2021)

Trailer:

*Spoilers Throughout*

What‘s This About: Taking place right when Halloween leaves off (the newer movie also named Halloween, from 2018), follow the continuing adventures of Laurie Strode and her daughter and granddaughter; Officer Hawkins, who miraculously survived getting fatally stabbed in the neck, and unstoppable, evil-personified boomer, Michael Myers. as they meet up with other people from Haddonfield that were also in Halloween (the older movie also named Halloween, from 1978). Also evil dies tonight apparently.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Brad‘s Tricks:

I wasn’t going to even review this flick because at this point what is the point in criticizing this almost bullet-proof (figuratively and literally) franchise. On our triple review for the 2018 reboot I had expressed my slight doubts as to how “good” even the 1978 original is and I was half-serious back then but as I watched Halloween Kills and have been re-watching the Nightmare on Elm Street flicks this past month, that half-serious seed I planted must’ve grown some as I sadly been deconstructing the Myers franchise in the past week. Don’t get me wrong, I still highly enjoy the 1978 original as well as its sequel and even the third one. I grew up a huge Carpenter fan and his movies still have an impact on me. That fact I cannot shake or be swayed on. HOWEVER, when it comes to the adoration and appeal of Michael Myers I wanted to break it down and really think about why he’s so iconic and popular and if these new movies 40 years later are making him any better as a slasher icon.

The 1978 original surely started the whole 80s slasher trend. Can’t overstate that accomplishment enough. Without Michael we would have no Jason Voorhees, Chucky, or Freddy Krueger. However, where Michael walked (or slowly stalked), the other icons of the era ran. By which I mean, they all had great gimmicks, weapons, origin stories, or supernatural powers etc. Michael wears a boring mask (that in the context of real life), a boring jump suit and usually just uses a boring stabbing weapon. Freddy has his iconic look and wardrobe as well as his awesome weapon and Jason has his hockey mask (that with each and every movie gets more broken down). Now I’m not saying these other slasher/horror films are smarter, just more interesting. The sequels to the Halloween series tried to give Michael more to his story—coming back to Haddonfield to kill off members of his family. The reasons why are still flaky and confusing (depending on what version of Part 6 you watch). He always seems to get the same ‘faceless’ mask, that like I said, doesn’t make sense in the real world. In the original’s prologue he was a clown and a clown Halloween costume is still relevant and easily found in any department store or Spirit of Halloween. If the original mask was something that meant something in another context then I wouldn’t bring this up. I would also not have to bring this up if he never lost or had to regain his mask in those sequels. (I love how they tried to justify this silly Shatner mask when poor Ben Tramer wore one in Halloween II before his grisly death) But I really shouldn’t dwell on this too much since all those sequels are now non-canon for the new movies. And that in itself could be seen as how misaligned and misguided Michael Myers was treated and explored in his old franchise. Look, I really like Michael Myers and his slasher style and I want his movies to be awesome. But out of all the slasher horror movies of the 80s and 90s, Mikey has some of the least favorite installments, and I feel like we, the fans, just kind of shrug off the mediocre movies.

Hi, I’m Chucky, and I’m your friend till the end. Hidey-ho!

Part of the old appeal to Myers was that he was human and alive and also unexplained. What I mean was even his ardent physician, Dr. Loomis cannot figure him out and basically gives up trying to figure out what makes Myers tick and has resorted to trying to kill him to stop the madness and bloodshed. Just some creepy killer on the loose trying to kill some babysitters right? Crazy, spooky. Enhanced by the fact that when Loomis does actually take aim at his patient—he’s gone. Not so simple to kill after-all. Maybe he wasn’t human. Evil cannot be stopped. Even spookier. Carpenter had to have his arm-twisted to make a sequel and without going into Halloween II too much, we all know that he was unsatisfied with its outcome and that’s why Halloween III had nothing more to say or do with Michael Myers. Carpenter wasn’t interested in the backstory of Michael Myers nor did he think telling us what made him tick would be the better direction Myer’s myth should’ve gone into. Fear of the unknown was a better motivation for these movies and one movie was more than enough to convert this idea. I agree but to a point. As a Generation X fan who grew up with the Halloweens I got used to the idea that Myers killed to get to his sister and whoever else was related to him. It gave him a little more motivation and if someone got in his way or threatened his goal he dispatched them as well. More the merrier for the gore department. If the new movies want to scrap the whole fratricide aspect to Michael’s bloodlust, I could be cool with that. But where the new filmmakers failed in my opinion was they went back to him being a mindless, aimless killer because he is simply pure evil and the only new aspect to the 2018 version was that Laurie (now NOT his sister) is still living with the fear and trauma of almost being killed by the bogeyman and 40 years later is still as bloodthirsty to killing him herself. I’m also very cool with that and parts of the 2018 version I liked was seeing an older, wiser and perhaps unhinged version of Jamie Lee giving Michael a run for his money.

So why did Halloween Kills leave me cold? Well, for one it was more of the same and I found that boring. It was Michael just stalking around and killing people I didn’t even remotely care for. The flashbacks were just fan-service that brought nothing new to the table, save for the fact that Lonnie Elam could be referenced and brought in this movie 40 years later as having something to do. (speaking of Lonnie, why doesn‘t he recognize the fact that he bumped into Michael earlier in the day in 1978 outside of his school after teasing Tommy?) It also established that Loomis would’ve killed Michael in 1978 but that young deputy Hawkins stopped him and is now paying for it with his life and the lives of others 40 years later. Not a bad new idea but didn’t need a whole Godfather Part II-style flashback to tell us only that (also they already had mentioned this in the 2018 film). I would’ve loved the flashback more if something more intriguing or foreshadowing happened for the future. Plus having Michael Myers stopped by police and arrested like a common criminal is a little lackluster for an unstoppable killing machine that these new movies are portraying him as.

I‘d like to give some kudos to the idea of the residents becoming a crazy scared mob on Halloween night when they realize Michael Myers has returned and killed some people. But it has been done before in the series (the small scene in Halloween II where a few dozen townsfolk are throwing rocks at the Myers house as well as the angry vigilante mob in Part IV). However, it is an alternate idea instead of having a handful of flavorless teens getting knifed one by one by a silent killer for the whole flick. However, the execution of the angry mob running up and down the hospital came off, to me, as silly and farcical. Plus how did they confuse that the portly, short Meatloaf-lookin fella was Michael? Even the 3-dimensional characters of Tommy Doyle and Nurse Chambers became cartoons frothing at the mouth with no real plan to trap and hurting Myers in their town. And of course, they are now dead so they mattered even less in the grand scheme of things. If I were to correct Tommy‘s character in this new flick, I would make him more wise to the Myers threat. Remember, his famous line from the ’78 original: “You can‘t kill the Boogeyman!“ That should‘ve played off in opposition to the angry mob‘s “Evil dies tonight!“ And since his old bully, Lonnie, is also in attendance; make him have more to do and have him also as a foil to Tommy still 40 years later when it comes to Michael Myers. Tommy is reluctant and more on the strategic defense and Lonnie and the mob are on the rash offensive. Laurie and her daughter, basically sat in a hospital and talked or worried about others and were of no consequence in what obviously is the middle-film of a trilogy. I’m sure Laurie will have more to do in the next installment and I hope it’s better. But I have my doubts. I will say that these films are brutal to Laurie. First her two best friends from high school—Dead. And now her daughter and son-in-law—Dead. This poor woman is getting the shaft. If only she had moved out of Haddonfield instead of living the next 40 years in constant fear and making her house a death trap in case that killer comes back in the future. And was her house the only plan she had? Seems so. And it failed so now she wasted those 40 years. Damn.

“Someday Michael, all this will be yours.“
“What? The curtains?“

So Michael Myers just has a claim to Haddonfield and Haddonfield is his hunting ground. It wasn’t even really implied if he wanted to find and kill Laurie in the 2018 movie; he just happened upon her because she has more of a grudge for him than he did for her it seems and also Sartain more or less made them meet-up again. The new filmmakers at Blumhouse thought that him being a mindless, aimless killer was the most appealing aspect to Michael and based most of these two new movies on that. His backstory, his motivation, even his mental state doesn‘t matter. They gave us a very traumatized Laurie but didn’t go into much more about Hawkins or his regrets about saving Michael in 1978. Halloween Kills tried to go into the trauma of Tommy Doyle, Nurse Chambers, Lindsey and Lonnie from 1978 but ultimately all we got was them still being victims and/or violent mob members. Going through a traumatizing event like what happened in 1978 must be harrowing, especially to a young kid but after 40 years, you‘d think they‘d move on a little better that how they are handling it. Not to be a dick, but Tommy and Lindsay had like one scene with Michael in the house and they were unscathed. Halloween 2018 had a new Loomis but he stupidly became a villain and died so we lost the doctor of the series trying to figure Myers out. So where does this leave us for the next movie Halloween Ends? Laurie, now strong enough to leave the hospital and fueled by the death of her daughter, is just going to go on a rampage to get to Michael. There will be very little reason to dive into the hows and whys to what makes Michael tick or what’s his point other than killing machine and if that’s what really makes Michael appealing, then I guess most people will be satisfied. I will not be satisfied because nothing new was brought to the table and to the mythology of this character. You can say, just enjoy the kills and thrills and I somewhat will but at the end of the day I want a better story. I mean, back in the 80s Laurie was important because they shoehorned her being his sister. Now she‘s just a pissed off mother. Not exactly the best foil for evil personified. Or is it?

The only motivation I saw for Michael, especially in Halloween Kills is that he really wants to go to his old home and go into his sister, Judith‘s old room and stare out the window. The film made this a point multiple times. In the flashbacks, one of the other cops tells Hawkins that he used to be friends with Michael when they were in elementary school and that‘s all wanted to do was stare out his sister‘s window. And later on, the same cop is killed in the very same room in front of the window as he glances down and sees Michael‘s muddy boot prints in front of the window. Even Karen sees the vision of 6-year-old Michael in the window from the street and for some reason goes into the room to stare out the same window before she‘s killed. So the filmmakers must have a reason for this obsession. Not sure what reason they will give for this obsession of Michael‘s but it better be good and satisfying. Let us know in the comments what you think this window staring all means.

If you’d indulge me for a few minutes, here’s my idea for what I would do with the new Halloween trilogy. I’m not a screenwriter of course but I like to think I have some decent movie-making ideas, especially when it comes to storytelling. After all, most critics don’t put their money where their mouths are so I feel like “fixing” what I feel is broken is my way of justifying my critiques. I’ll start with keeping in Green’s and McBride’s initial vision somewhat and start 40 years later. But instead of those two dimwit and pointless podcasters bringing in Michael’s mask, we start with that new Loomis, Dr. Sartain who still has the mask and is trying to cure Michael. Sartain worked with Loomis and unlike his mentor Sartain never gave up on Michael while at Smith’s Grove since 1978. Coming up 40 years later, Sartain has had a breakthrough with Michael and while he’s still mute and anti-social, he’s developing some signs of normalcy and releasing some of his homicidal tendencies. (I’m no psych expert but let’s just say he’s on the mend). Sartain wants to transfer Michael to a minor security asylum and word of this gets out to Haddonfield. Especially to a very weary and worried Laurie Strode, who is still, traumatized and scared of the boogeyman from 1978. While most of Haddonfield has forgotten the events of the babysitting murders of 1978 and moved on, Laurie still holds a major grudge. When she sees Sartain on a news program talking about how he is on the verge of curing Michael Myers (maybe actually let Michael let out a word or two) and wants to see Michael out in the real world someday living a normal life, Laurie goes bonkers with rage. She has no doubts that Myers is a threat to society and should be not only locked up forever but he should be dead. She stalks and basically harasses Smiths Grove to try to convince them to reverse their decision about Michael. Her cries and pleas fall on deaf ears and his planned transfer to a minimum security facility will happen on the 40th anniversary of his arrest in 1978—Halloween. Laurie gears up and plans and plots her revenge to stop Michael from re-entering society. My idea twists the idea that who is the real inhuman monster—someone with a supposed mental disorder or someone who is seemingly normal but has snapped at a traumatizing event? Laurie is the real monster in my first installment, while we are more sympathetic to Michael. Or so that’s how it starts. Laurie is the reason his transfer goes awry when she attacks, causing Michael to escape for his life. Somehow, Michael sees and takes the mask again when Sartain loses it in the attack and this makes all the progress reverse and now Michael is hell-bent on killing again. But at the same time, the authorities and Sartain are not only fighting and trying to stop Michael, but also now Laurie, who’s also on a vigilante hunt for Michael as he makes his way around Haddonfield. Laurie’s family stays the same as the new movies but now more against her vengeance and trying to stop her as well as trying to stay alive with Michael running around.

Really driving home that angry mob bringing literal pitchforks motif huh?

It’s just a rough idea but at least it’s something different I think. I can’t think of a slasher franchise that had a killer cured or rehabilitation into a normal person as well as having the old hero turn anti-hero because they doubt the science. The closest this idea comes isPsycho 2with Lila Loomis (!) doubting Norman’s rehabilitation. That was one time and it was back in 1983. It’s not like I’m putting him on the ISS or a cruise ship. I feel like there’s still decent stories or ideas even grounded in some reality that could work.

Regardless if you like my idea or not, Michael Myers needs something else to make him more interesting. I can’t watch more movies of him just stalking and killing while the humans try to stop him. There’s no amount of flashbacks and fan service that can enhance his story because he doesn’t have a story. He used to have motivation with killing his family but Blumhouse took that away. He’s just a 61-year-old silent killer in a blank white mask killing people for no reason in the same town he’s been long known for. You have to give us something new here. How is a town in 2018 not able to stop an old man killer? Does no one have a Ring doorbell or any of the state-of-the-art technology to help them stay safe? There‘s cameras everywhere! In the beginning, that one old lady was playing with a drone and I thought for a second that the drone was going to play a part in either her escape or her kill and I couldn’t‘t be more wrong. But again, if you‘re going to keep making new sequels/reboots to these old franchises, use the progress and new technology useful or at least a part of your story somehow to make it more interesting. 

It’s like Halloween and all its sequels and remakes are comfort food. Nothing wrong with comfort food but it can be too routine and bland. I’m not saying that the Friday the 13th movies are good food either but at least it tried different things or styles down the line (telekinesis, Manhattan, Space). Each and every Halloween is pretty much a carbon copy of the last. The much maligned Part 6 tried to give him more of a backstory at least. Maybe that’s what the fans want and that’s fine by me if they like the same ol’ same ol’ but I’d rather something fresh, original and exciting, something I feel the Halloween franchise completely lacks. You would think erasing the old canon sequels that didn’t really work for 30+ years and restarting the franchise would give David Gordon Green and Danny McBride the spark to do something new and interesting with the characters and mythos. Sadly, they are making it even more boring and hackneyed with unnecessary fan service and pointless call-backs to the 1978 original. Loving the original is great, but if you want to continue the story and give it new life, and not straying too far from the original is only going to paint yourself in a corner. There’s nothing important about his mask. There’s no cultural or social importance to Haddonfield, Illinois. Laurie was just a normal average girl babysitting at the wrong place at the wrong time. This was Carpenter’s point and he knew (or wanted) just one movie was enough for this particular horror story. The fact that the movies/sequels/reboots/remakes don’t progress to any new or satisfying territory is proof enough that the story should’ve ended in 1978.

Nostalgia Dies Tonight!

4 Little Johns (out of 10 Big Johns)

PS: Can anyone explain how one is able to shoot themselves with their wrist bent backwards like how Vanessa accidentally killed herself? Try bending your wrist towards your face really fast and see how hard it is to squeeze your index finger at the same time. Funny death scene but patently absurd.

Brian‘s Treats:

Halloween kills! The people it kills get up and kill! Dummies! Dummies!

Here‘s my eloquent educated film criticism: This movie is just a fucking stupid mess. I‘m not going to write a Harlequin romance novel here but a few things that really stood out in the wrong way:

  • Nearly everything every single character does makes no sense whatsoever, and that includes Michael.   
  • Michael being in a raging inferno for several minutes in the last movie, with the only effect in this one being that his mask is a little singed. It should have been melted onto his face! That actually would have looked kind of cool. And I guess his gas station suit is flame-retardant. 
  • Laurie doing absolutely nothing in this movie but laying in a hospital bed and giving 60% of the speeches about evil dying tonight and it being 40 years. 
  • The gathering at the local pub: why would that nurse be in Haddonfield? Where were the families of the three people actually killed, like Bob‘s sister or something? 
  • ZESTY POPCORN

  • I can‘t even begin to explain why Laurie‘s daughter (whatever her name was) decided to go out of her way to help that mental patient who looks like Frank Reynolds, and then was devastated when the angry mob caught up to him. And then, there‘s the angry mob itself. Let‘s just say that the entire hospital scene was a complete clusterfudge. I wasn‘t clear why they thought this chubby 5’1″ guy in a hospital gown was Michael.
  • The mob beating Michael to try to kill him, but not actually ensuring that they kill him. How about blasting him in the head with a shotgun? Twice? But no, we have a baseball bat to the ribs instead. And I know it‘s because there’s another movie coming, but there shouldn‘t be. 
  • To go with that, the multiple beatings and stab wounds taken by this 60-year-old mental patient who gets no exercise because he stands and stares all day. Sure, he‘s nuts and probably doesn‘t feel the pain, but his bones and flesh are not nuts, and they should object to all that trauma. But no, the movie treats him as some indestructible demon. Just try walking us to a senior man and hitting him with a baseball bat on the base of his neck once. DO IT.
  • Anyone trying to creep around to take on Michael alone, instead of running down the street and screaming for everyone. 
  • And finally, Laurie‘s daughter Whatsherface going up to the window at the end. She absolutely deserved to get stabbed for doing something so nonsensical. What was she trying to accomplish?

For good points, the score is always going to be good. Also, I do love me some gore, and it was pretty good here, with some decent kills, even when characters were introduced just to get murdered 45 seconds later, which happened twice. But none of it is really all that fun to watch. The part where Michael stabs the guy with multiple knives to test them out was a little funny, but then he just goes with the plain ol‘ butcher knife. They couldn‘t have given him like a cool kukuri or something? I wish there was a scene of Michael sitting down and watching Forged in Fire with intense interest. That gives me a great idea: Leatherman, in which a psycho uses every attachment in a Leatherman tool to kill his victims. Do you think the fine people at Leatherman would go for it? Great advertising! Although I‘m unclear why it‘s called a Leatherman in the first place. And the killer could dress up like the Leatherman from The Village People!! Is there anything more frightening?

Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct?

So anyway, I was semi-looking forward to this, even though I didn‘t really like the first-third reboot all that much, but now I have no desire to see the next one. Now the only characters really left are Michael and Laurie, which I guess was the intention, but if I wanted to see two senior citizen‘s fight I‘d go to a bingo hall that has an open bar. And what I really don’t understand is why the filmmakers just keep doing the same shit over and over and over. I‘m so tired of these “gritty“ reboots. Brad‘s idea sounds awesome, and would be great if this current trilogy and the Rob Zombie movies didn‘t exist, but I‘m really not interested in more Haddonfield. I would love to see Michael on the space station or a cruise ship or ski resort or apple farm or Walmart or moon base or something. Just something fresh. Or we just leave Michael alone and make some new killer with a mask. Is it really that difficult?

4.75 Leathermen (out of 10)
 
Jim’s Tricks and Treats:
 
 

Brad and Brian, you ignorant sluts.

I thought this was a Star Wars movie since they killed off every single fucking legacy character except Lindsey Wallace. Maybe she’ll be flying the Millennium Falcon with Chewie in Halloween Ends. But I’m getting way ahead of myself.

We start basically in the middle of the last movie (2018) with Cameron still in drag finding the supposedly dead Hawkins still alive somehow. Funny how no one questions when the killers survive everything, but when the sheriff survives being stabbed in the throat and run over by a car everyone screams bullshit! As Hawkins awakens to drown not only in his own blood but crippling regret as well – we are thrust into the apotheosis of all flashbacks and are brought back to the original Halloween night of 1978. Fuck yeah!

It wasn‘t me. It was the one-armed man!

Michael looking slim, sexy, and rocking the OG Shatner mask is stealthily roaming the back streets and giving his patented, “Bitch, please” look whenever told to halt by the police. We meet young Lonnie Elam again (the kid who was chased off of the Myers’ porch by Loomis in the original) as he is bullied by the ugliest fucking children I have ever seen in a film. I was expecting these genetic defectives to shout “O’Doyle rules!” after taking his candy and they almost did.

Lonnie does the oldest horror trope in the world and trips on the sidewalk in front of the Myers’ house and goes fetal thinking Michael’s gonna kill him. He doesn’t of course and just goes back to his home base. It was really nice to finally see the Myers’ house portrayed accurately for the first time since 1981. One of the things I enjoyed in this film can be called fan-service naturally, but I thought they were just really great intricate details made by the filmmakers who are quite obviously as big Halloween nerds as I am. The broken gutter with the hole in the window is exactly where Loomis and Brackett saw it, the dead dog Michael ate that we only heard about in ’78 is shown on the floor of the house, and the goddamn mask is the best it’s looked since Tommy Lee Wallace made the fucking thing 40+ years ago.

The scene where Michael attacks Hawkin’s partner finally gives an earthly explanation as to why Michael always seems to disappear. He just walks away very quickly after shit goes down. How often the simple solution will elude us. In my free time I want to overdub the line from the once viral “Vader Sessions” as Michael exits his house after Hawkins accidentally kills his partner: “…and I’m going right out the door.”

Symbolism?

Having an Art Director who has a moderate resemblance to Donald Pleasence, and an even greater one after 15 makeup appliances are glued on saves money on deep faking software it seems. I have to admit, I got a little teary-eyed seeing ‘ole Dr. Loomis again. Look, over the past few years I had to watch Han, Luke, and Leia all fucking die so I’ll take whatever reunion with friends I had from the seventies anyway I can. My favorite shot of the movie happens here when Michael is arrested in the same spot he stood when he was caught by his parents after he murdered his sister Judith in 1963. The only thing that could have made this flashback better is if it was scored to this:

The opening titles with the pumpkins on fire and bleeding from the eyes were another nice shoutout, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this many Executive Producers on a movie before.We are now shown what the residents of Haddonfield apparently do now every Halloween. They hang out at a local bar, get hammered, and have a shitty talent show that is interspersed with tales of personal trauma dealt from the hands of Michael Myers. I guess a karaoke machine is too expensive or too passé. Nevertheless, the pints are flowing and the victims of 1978 seem to get a cathartic sense of calm from it, so how can you fault them? During this scene of healing and camaraderie, the opposite is happening over at Laurie’s house a la flambé. Michael has hidden in some secret closet and massacres the ever-loving shit out of the entire fire department. Easily his biggest kill-streak in the franchise’s history and it was filmed very coolly with POV shots of the victims instead of the killer. If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like to get an axe smashed into your face, this movie answers that question for you.

Things here got a little weird for me as we get to see Haddonfield Memorial Hospital again for the first time since ’81, and by weird I mean this was the closest to a topless scene Jaime Lee has done since Trading Places during her emergency surgery. This is also the goriest shot in the movie for some reason, they show the surgeons going right into her stomach to stitch her up. The weirdness goes on as we then are treated to a scene where Michael kills a couple and the husband is legendary comedian Lenny Clarke. Naturally, they give the comedian the funniest line of the movie, “There’s a big fella in our bathroom and he’s wearing a monster mask!” Said with his trademark Boston accent makes it even funnier. The scene cuts back to the bar where a shittier version of Jeff Dunham is performing his ventriloquist act. Is there a shittier version of his act? Anyway, the news is now reporting the shit that went down at Laurie’s place and we get to see a montage of the victims from ’78 complete with the greatest Bob Odenkirk cameo that will ever exist. The town paranoia starts here when Tommy Doyle decides to let ‘ole painless outta the bag, and grabs a baseball bat to beat the shit out of Myers when the doctor/nurse couple from the last movie says he’s in the backseat of their car. It isn’t Michael of course, it turns out to be the Haddonfield version of Gotham City’s own Penguin, who everyone forgot about during Michael’s escape from the bus transfer.

Stuart from MadTV and his husband now live in the Myers’ house, and not only have they queer-eyed it into an absolutely lovely home – they know the entire legend of Michael Myers and his family. So you can throw buyer’s remorse right out of the fucking window. At this point in the movie I forgot Jaime Lee was in the thing, it severely echoes the original Halloween II from 1981 where Jaime had what, 40 seconds of dialogue? For the rest of the movie, Laurie is once again bedridden and becomes a sort of absentee Gandalf. The mob is becoming more and more ridiculous now, and their constant screaming of, “Evil dies tonight!” is pretty goddamn cheesy and annoying. Tommy is rapidly turning into Ahab hunting down his white mask, and the whole thing is changing from trauma survivors to political allegory. I’m surprised Tommy didn’t run out to Kinkos and have red hats made for everyone. Haddonfield Memorial also has an odd way of displaying all of their dead bodies in the morgue through huge windows for everyone in the hallways to see.

We all float Georgie!

Lindsey, Marion, and the doctor/nurse couple are ambushed in their car by Michael, so we can see the attack on nurse Marion almost the same way we did in 1978. Boy, Marion’s batting average with this guy is .000. He even had a wrench taped to his wrist again when he smashed in the passenger’s side window. Anyhoo, Marion and the couple are killed pretty graphically for a Halloween movie, then put in the Silver Shamrock masks from Halloween III as Lindsey runs into the woods and hides under a log covering her mouth like she’s being pursued by the fucking Ring Wraiths. Hawkins and Laurie are now recuperating in the same room in the hospital, I can only guess because Myers’ victims are taking up more beds than the unvaccinated at this point. They reminisce about what sounds like a drunken night of passion that might have resulted in Karen’s conception. Poor Toby Huss. Hawkins also mentions losing Laurie’s affections to the swinging stud that is Ben Tramer! I hope he ends up being the hero of the finale of this trilogy. I read that Danny McBride will be making a cameo in the final part, and I have a bad feeling he might be Ben. If he gets run over by a cop car though in even more fan service… well, we can argue about that next year.

The third act seems to be centered around the Myers’ house. It’s the nucleus of the legend, and either a source of power or a way station for Michael. Through more flashbacks, we see that Loomis wanted to end it all by putting two behind Michael’s ear on the front lawn – but was stopped by Hawkins. Michael comes home once again and slaughters the gay couple who have dared to make the Myers’ house their own. But as they say, those who live by the charcuterie board die by the charcuterie board. Lonnie and his son Cameron are both killed in the Myers’ house as Allyson watches after being thrown down the same stairs Michael climbed to kill his sister, and Karen meets her demise in the bedroom that once belonged to Judith. Life may not be circular, but most Hollywood scripts sure as shit are.

Halloween Kills has one of the worst endings since Part 5. I’ve since read that the Blu-Ray is going to be extended with a different ending, and if it’s the ending that was in a leaked script I read over the summer – it will be a huge improvement. But you have to remember that horror movies are almost always judged by their endings no matter how good or bad the preceding 89 minutes were. Every horror fan knows that when they tell their friend that they just saw the new whatever, the first question they get is, “How did it end?”

It’s just the way it goes with this genre.

The things I walked away from this movie with were, to put it mildly, varied in scope. I felt that it was established that despite Laurie’s paranoia – none of this was about her at all. Michael hunts in this town and doesn’t give a shit who he kills. Yes, you can argue that he latched on to her and her friends back in 1978, but that was it. It was just a hunter running down his prey. It could have been anybody. I remember from John Carpenter’s original commentary from the Halloween Laserdisc (yep, I’m that old) he said the theme of the movie was that you CAN survive the night. It was a positive affirmation. Life is a random whirlwind of shit that can fuck you up, but you can beat it. Michael represents death sure, but death is a part of nature and therefore a part of life. The whole,“the more he kills the more he transcends” (silly as it may sound) is part of the allure. The sinister draw that makes you interested in the villain, who is more than 95% of the time cooler than the heroes anyway.

Hey All You Cool Cats And Kittens!

Some of the things I would have changed would have just upped the fan service factor, but at the end of the day so what. There is nothing new under the sun in the horror genre. Even the most original shit that’s come out in the past few years could have its essence broken down to something from the ’70s or ’80s with enough patience, booze, or weed. Anyways, some of my ideas:

  1. I would have had Brackett stab Michael in the back instead of Karen and have him say, “That was for Annie you piece of shit.” Very Stallone-Esque I grant you.
  2. I would have allocated a substantial amount of the music budget to try and secure the rights to use Black Sabbath’s, “The Mob Rules” and Rush’s, “Witch Hunt.” Both songs would have worked in several scenes.
  3. “Now he’s turning us into monsters” should have been the poster slogan.
  4. The music playing in the Myers’ house when Allyson finds the couple dead should have been, of course, “Mr. Sandman.”

When you compare Michael to his compatriots in the slasher genre, the other two of the big three: Freddy and Jason – you have to remember that Michael is the only one that isn’t rooted for. That means something. Jason was there to showcase the newest improvements in practical gore effects and to show you tits and ass without having to rent a porno. Freddy went as soft as Dynasty and Unmasked-era KISS by his fourth movie – turning into a melted hack comedian with a sharp glove and awful puns spewed out before every kill. Remember Freddy started as a child molester, then turned into a child killer (you know to soften his image a bit), and by 1988 was eating meatballs made out of his screaming victims. Fucking ugh. In the Halloween series, you always rooted for the would-be victims. Except for Tina in Part 5, I know. Everybody knows that.

If I had to say what the biggest mistake of Halloween Kills for me was, it would have to be perverting the brilliant way the 2018 movie was about trauma into mindless mob violence. Even though they shoehorned in a scene of Tommy admitting he fucked up and was wrong after the Penguin inmate splattered his head on the sidewalk after taking a header out of a ten-story window; it was too little too late by then. Tommy’s death could have been completely different had he stopped the mob from beating up Michael, only then to be killed by him as the mob watched. To quote the holy Canadian trinity, “Quick to judge, quick to anger. Slow to understand. Ignorance and prejudice, and fear walk hand in hand”

The Halloween series is unique in the way that it has different timelines within the franchise. If you thought Star Trek was confusing, it doesn’t hold a candle to this one. 1, 2, H20, and Resurrection make up one. Then there’s the “Thorn Trilogy” of 4, 5, and both cuts of 6. Season of the Witch stands alone in the sunshine, as it should. The Zombie films are the ones everyone sends directly to voicemail, and now there’s this new trilogy that continues from the original and ignores everything else. I have no idea where the Hell they’re gonna go after Halloween Ends. Hopefully something with Danielle Harris, or a new take on part 3, maybe Michael finally makes it to space like Jason eventually did. You can’t say things aren’t canon in this series because there are too many story lines that purposely ignore their antecedents. For fuck’s sake Laurie has already died twice in this franchise, yet she’s here in her 60’s slugging it out with Mikey yet again. You say Laurie can’t have a daughter and a granddaughter, because she fell off the roof of the sanitarium to her death at the beginning of Resurrection? You’re right. And?

At the end of the day, the only thing that can truly be said to be canon is that Halloween III Season Of The Witch looks at everything surrounding it and mutters, “You fuckers are all nuts.” and goes and gets drunk with Tom Atkins at The Buccaneer Bar in Sierra Madre, CA.

Halloween movies give Halloween fans exactly what they want. You have never walked into a Star Wars movie going, “Is there gonna be another fucking lightsaber duel in this?“ In an even broader sense, horror movies are like painting wet on wet – the layers closest to your eyes look great but the original image is still underneath no matter how heavy you lay on the color.

A good thing to remember before starting any horror franchise argument is this:

Good night, and have a pleasant All Saint’s Day.

7.5 Michael Always Gets Around Hats (out of 10)

One thought on “Schlocktoberfest XI – Day 31: Halloween Kills

  1. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest XI: The Recap Kills | Hard Ticket to Home Video

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