I was fascinated by horror at an early age but it was the viewing of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN (’78) on TV one fateful night (while babysitting the night before the holiday) that spurred my lifelong obsession with the genre. The universe depicted in the Halloween franchise (regardless of timelines) will always be my home away from home. Just as so many of my generation gladly lose themselves in THE HOBBIT’s Middle Earth or STAR WARS’ galaxy far, far away, I’ve found my happy place roaming the back alleys of Haddonfield.
Love it or lump it, HALLOWEEN KILLS offers an express ticket to exactly where I personally want to be and it allows me to visit with characters I want to learn more about. Yes, I really do care what happened to Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace (well played here by (new to the role) Anthony Michael Hall and (a returning) Kyle Richards)! In fact, it turns out I also care about what happened to the original film’s bully Lonnie Elam (now portrayed by Robert Longstreet). Lonnie, Tommy and Lindsey are friends now and it warms my heart. Some call this fan service and well, I’m a fan and I appreciate the service! For better or worse, it’s my ambrosia. These places, people and events provided me with distractions from harsh reality all my life and I’m nothing if not loyal. I’m saying I loved this movie and I can’t wait to go back.
HK takes place the same night as 2018’s HALLOWEEN but first we’re treated to a variety of spellbinding fresh scenes that occur the night of the 1978 original. We even get a view of killer Michael Myer’s eventual arrest complete with a remarkably staged revisit with Dr. Loomis that shouldn’t work at all, but does and exceptionally well (truly, it’s the type of uncanny that delivers goosebumps). Soon we’re rocketing all over town, spending time with firefighters, cops, medical workers, mobs and almost anyone who had the misfortune of crossing paths with the dreaded MM. This movie goes far out of its way to lean away from the slasher trope that the drama and trauma is all about one lone special “final girl” and it’s refreshing as hell. It may sting for some that Laurie (the always compelling Jamie Lee Curtis) takes a backseat and has no cathartic battle with the beast, but I think it’s high time we acknowledge that death concerns everyone (and frankly, she deserves that weight taken off her back).
Characters that were mere blips in the previous movie get hearty vignettes in this one and the attention to detail and the enthusiasm for callbacks is rich and rewarding. My favorite new addition is an older gay couple named Big John and Little John (the hilarious Michael McDonald and Scott MacArthur) who have moved into the Myers house, are tormented by pre-teens and are NOT spared the wrath of Michael. Not gonna lie, I saw myself and Aunt John in these two (hanging out, listening to records and watching movies; I can relate. Though, another victim’s choice of viewing THE FUNHOUSE suits me better than MINNIE & MOSKOWITZ on All Hallow’s Eve). You know if Michael came to town I’d appreciate being treated just like everybody else (I’d even fight with Aunt John for the on-screen kill). Probably won’t matter to most people that after all these films we finally got a duo like this represented but I sure dug it. Sure, Laurie does have to step aside to allow it to happen but I’m glad she did. Some might say the structure is loose and/or wayward in this flick but that’s kinda the point; HALLOWEEN KILLS opens the window and lets the long in the tooth slasher format breath a little.
I see a lot of online vitriol for this movie and I’m baffled. Even if you don’t care for the highly repetitive dialog or the baby step forward in Laurie’s saga, director David Gordon Green delivers one of Michael’s most threatening romps yet. The kills here are off the hook and I don’t remember the last time I actually gasped out loud during a horror film death. Myers is absolutely ruthless in this film (although he is kind enough to pose a few corpses). Oh well, we all have different tastes. There’s a reason my brothers and I would trade candies back and forth after trick or treating. Some folks dig tried and true traditional chocolate bars, I’m more of a fan of the variety of Bottlecaps. BTW, why are Bottlecaps candies so tiny these days? No wonder I’m so damn nostalgic.