Halloween Kills (2021)

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.

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popcornmonster
popcornmonster (@popcornmonster)
1 month ago

The fact that we see actual Silver Shamrock masks (you can actually see the logo on the backs) threw me for a loop because it implies Halloween III is in the same universe. But in Halloween III we the original film playing on a TV in the tavern. So does that mean the movie playing on the TV is a true crime film now?

Caffeinated Joe
Caffeinated Joe (@wings1295)
1 month ago

I was a fan, too. I was unsure, at first. So much was happening. But the longer I have sat with it, the more I enjoyed it. I thought it was like Michael was really pissed at the town after what happened in the previous film and was in sort of a berserker rage. Really interested to see how it ends (in the way these films “end”) in Halloween Ends.

Ghastly1
Ghastly1 (@ghastly1)
1 month ago

It’s funny, there have been two movies released in the same month based on franchises I love; Halloween Kills and The Many Saints of Newark and I think with zero hyperbole that they are both among the worst movies ever made.
I love the Halloween films up to and including H20-and yes, some are better than others- but since then they’ve really been going downhill. In my opinion, Halloween Kills is the worst of the series.
Michael (along with Jason) has been an inspiration to me in how I approach life and I will say that they got Michael right, he looks good and he isn’t played for laughs or anything, but the movie surrounding him was terrible.
Slasher movies were always berated as being crappy and stupid, which I never felt was the case, but this one really does live up to those negative assessments.
It is full of cheesy dialogue, teary eyed emotionality, stupid “humour”, truly retarded characterizations, bad plotting, shitty editing, etc.
Even the kills weren’t really anything spectacular as they were made out to be, the trailer pretty much showed you all you needed to see.
Halloween Kills would have worked far better had it been a two minute special effects highlight reel and not a 105 minute long exercise in pointlessness.
This guy sums up my feelings about the whole affair:

Last edited 1 month ago by Ghastly1
Luki8701
Luki8701 (@luki8701)
1 month ago

I also enjoyed this movie, saw it twice and the second time was even better. I think it might even replace Halloween 2 as my second favorite in the series, depending on my mood.

The script has it’s issues (clumsy dialogue, overexplaining some things and not clarifying enough other things), some of the acting was suspect and there were some logical hoops to be jumped through, but if you wanna get hung up on that, you should stay away from the rest of this series too… and no issues in this one made my head hurt, unlike the original Halloween (my favorite movie ever), with it’s extremely bizarre timeline, whack geography and that damn car. It’s not the best movie ever, but saying it is the worst in the series or even one of the worst movies ever made? I disagree, but to each their own.

The weird overreactions to Halloween Kills and Malignant this year make me thing people are just too cynical and do not like to have fun at the movies anymore.

Also Big John & Little John deserve a spin-off sitcom about their everyday lives as realtors living in the Myers House!

bathcrones
bathcrones (@bathcrones)
1 month ago

I place it better than Resurrection, Zombie’s first and Halloween 5 and below Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers in my franchise ranking. Number 9 with a bullet.

It could have done away with all of the hospital stuff and been a stronger film. Just have the callback crew from the original head from the bar straight to tracking down Michael and turn it in as a solid 85 minute slash-fest, but that’s what fan-edits are for, baby! I only needed one “Evil dies tonight!” instead of 1500 of ’em. Less of the fast-paced angry mob shit that didn’t work in Halloween 4 and more of the slow-building tension before a Myers kill that Gordon Green did so well in Halloween(2018).

The one thing that actively pissed me off was showing more of “the night he came home.” I love me some Jim Cummings(can’t wait for The Beta Test next week!) and it was filmed well(kudos for the practical approach to bringing Dr. Loomis back!), but my god if there was ever an ending that didn’t need fucking with it’s Carpenter’s Halloween. This movie’s one mortal sin.

It had some pretty good stuff couched in the terrible nonsense. More good stuff than terrible nonsense, fortunately. I loved everything involving Michael trying to get back to “the window,” but was bored by everything involving the hospital miles away from his action. As always, I LOVED all of Gordon Green’s signature “non-actors,” i.e. the bartender and the kids trick or treating and hanging out on the swing set. All naturally hilarious. Big John and Little John were highlights, for sure, and so was Lindsey hiding from Michael like Frodo from the Nazgûl. I think the scariest part was Michael testing the knives on the husband in the elderly couple’s kitchen while the wife watches in helpless terror. Genius!

P.S. Did anyone else catch the Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery reference? When Little John(Michael McDonlad) is about to die, The Shape starts walking slowly towards him(as he is wont to do) and Little John starts yelling, “NOOOOOOO!” as the camera cuts to the outside of the house. In Austin Powers, Mike Myers slowly rolls a steamroller toward Michael McDonald’s nameless henchman as he, too, helplessly yells, “NOOOOOOO!” instead of simply moving out of the way. Spoiler: both characters succumb to a Michael Myers due to their own inaction. Loved it.

Ghastly1
Ghastly1 (@ghastly1)
1 month ago

Unk,
Like Ted Bundy said “I’m the most cold hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet”. Not really, jk.
As for my take on the movie; “they don’t think it be like it is, but it do” lol. I just want to see a simple slasher movie, why is that so hard? I don’t want to have it awkwardly turned into a weepy drama or a stoner comedy or have “messages” crammed in.
Just a guy in a mask with a knife will do. I feel like they are aware of the criticisms of slasher movies and are trying to “deepen” or “elevate” them with all of this sort of stuff.
Slashers were always fun-cheap fun, maybe-but fun; all of this other stuff just makes them insufferable. It seems to be a general trend nowadays across all movies.
What sucks is, I like some of the cast, including Anthony Michael Hall and Michael McDonald (he was hilarious on MadTV) but I just don’t think the script and story was there, it felt cheap and amateurish.

Sebastian99
Sebastian99 (@sebastian99)
1 month ago

I’ve heard some complaints about the fact that a gay couple is killed in HK, which, as a gay man, makes me roll my eyes. Getting killed in a slasher movie is the rule, not the exception! To spare them would’ve been to treat them differently. Frankly, I’d love to see more gay characters in slasher films! I found their few scenes to be among my favourites, and they were basically “couples goals” for me. Smoking a joint, listening to vinyl, watching a movie, then getting murdered by Michael Myers? Sounds like the perfect Halloween to me!

Ghastly1
Ghastly1 (@ghastly1)
1 month ago

Unk and Sebastian,
What pissed me off about “The John’s” was they just seemed like comedic characters, that weren’t even remotely funny. Whether they are gay or not, they just weren’t funny.
For instance, the knife thing was played up like it was this brilliantly hilarious thing; one is called Big John and he has a little knife, the other one is called Little John and he has a big knife…(crickets)
I was just sitting there waiting for the pay off and it never came.
Danny McBride is part of this crop of “comedians” that have come along in the last 15 years or so who really just aren’t funny- Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Will Ferrell are a few others- their humor is vulgar but bland-lots of cursing and grossness, but no punchlines, no intelligence.
They just yell, curse and say random bullshit and for some reason certain people believe it to be funny. It wasn’t the actor’s faults either.
Again, Michael McDonald can be funny-I know, I’ve seen it- but the script was not there, it was just really poorly written.