Observe the Weird

Part movies. Part bizarre musings.

Halloween (2018)

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

I had to teach myself the history of horror films. My parents were never too keen on such tales, so a spookfest was usually interrupted with demands of sleep instead of seeing the bad guy lose. In high school, I began my education in earnest. Watching them based on which was available at the time, Blockbuster allowed me to experience the tales of Michael Myers and Haddonfield.

When Scream Factory released the entire franchise on Blu-ray, I made it a point of getting the edition with all the extras. As my wife (then fiancé) watched all ten films, we discussed at length the mythology and how there might be a way to tie the more disconnected story lines to the central one.

News of a new Halloween instantly excited me. I had been an avid fan for over 15 years, so a continuation would be a welcome venture. Tasked with the pressure of cramming all of the backstory and continuity into a belated sequel, the writing team opted to strip it all away and make a direct sequel to the 1978 classic. In doing so, grounding Michael in a less supernatural world with more mystery than explanation.

The 2018 feature takes place 40 years after the original. Michael Myers has been held in Smith’s Grove ever since he escaped and murdered five people on Halloween night in 1978. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been living off the grid hoping to kill Michael should he ever escape again. Sure enough, Michael crashes the prison transport he is on and kills his way to freedom. With such a deranged monster on the loose, Laurie tries to protect her family and eliminate the decades old threat.

Co-writer and director David Gordon Green has a long history of making rich tales of complex characters. Arguably his best All the Real Girls showcases just how adept he is at balancing drama, humor, and dread. This continuation of the Michael Myers saga is another example of the director’s skill. Michael may be the presence felt in every shot, but it’s the fear and anxiety that Laurie lives with that keeps the tension building throughout. More than just a simple horror movie, Laurie is a victim trying to take back her life by any means necessary. By that attribute alone we see her as a total bad-ass but also a flawed character we can root for. Curtis has never been better in this role.

Halloween is filled with Easter eggs for the sequels but tells its story on its own terms. It is a wild ride and one that authentically brings Michael back into the zeitgeist. The best sequel in the entire franchise. Brutal, tense, and a welcome successor to a 40-year-old universe. The slasher revival has begun. 5 out of 5 stars

 

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