HALLOWEEN – HALLOWEEN KILLS – HALLOWEEN ENDS – All This Trouble And Here We Are

**HERE THERE BE SPOILERS, MATEY!**

In many ways, a lot of the horror fans of my age bracket and generation were raised on HALLOWEEN and the films of that era. HALLOWEEN you could catch on television around that holiday. Same with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was a little more elusive but in time you could rent that and bone up. This was a time of the ‘classics’, when these more modern horrors were televised or had revivals at movie houses. Those movies were still ‘relatively’ new in the early ‘80’s and so they weren’t oldies for oldies. Sure, the classics were still the classics, but these new movies announced a changing of the guard and a change in how horror was revealed and viewed. 

This was the horror of the real and of the horrific. 

These were not works of subtlety, exactly, but of overt horror meant to put you on edge. 

Even the most unbelievable of them, NOTLD, was still made with a level of This Could Happen believability that made you ask yourself – What If?

HALLOWEEN is not just a classic of horror but a classic film, made with a deft hand and with no sense of what it could become. It is the film that helped (with TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE and BLACK CHRISTMAS and maybe others) birth slasher films. There have been sequels and reboots and at this point the fans don’t seem sure what they want. 

They loved the sequels, to a degree. 

Until they just became too messy with forced backstory and lore that didn’t seem to fit, or when they became TOO current and campy to take seriously, even as a lark. 

Slashers are the epitome of popcorn movies but we still wanna be entertained. 

With the remakes they tabbed a horror firebrand who had a love for the original HALLOWEEN and brought a swagger and self assuredness that reminds one of what Carpenter was doing early on. The remake of HALLOWEEN served as a remake and a reconfiguring of the story we know. It was intended for two films to tell the one story but was whittled down to be one contained piece. 

It’s meaner, grittier, and is less about the unknown terror of suburbia, the masked menace, and more about the menace of a terrible upbringing and its effect on a fractured mind. 

Michael wasn’t a mysterious boogeyman anymore, he was an all too real serial killer. 

Fans both loved and hated it. 

Those that like Rob Zombie’s work, loved it. 

I loved it. 

Those that wanted the original were horrified in the wrong way. 

They thought that this great franchise had been sullied. 

They missed the bad entries into a worn franchise, but that’s beside the point. 

Fans didn’t have to like this new film, but the hand wringing and teeth gnashing was a bit much from fans that vacillate between clamoring for another entry into a tired franchise and then lambasting Hollywood every time it dips its toes into the horror pool. 

After HALLOWEEN, I think Zombie had had his fill of Mr. Myers, and understandably. It seemed everyone was angry at him, even including Carpenter himself. He took on the sequel and truly made HIS film, a bleak, angry, hateful film with no hope in sight. 

It’s not a film for those not already committed to his vision. 

I always saw it as his middle finger to everyone that had cried out to the heavens with rage at what he had done to their beloved franchise. 

This was him saying – he’s mine now, eff you. 

Again, I dug the movie. 

It is its own animal and what they did with Michael is unnerving. 

He’s more than just a random serial killer, he is a human missile and he will destroy everything in his way. 

It’s funny because as the new trilogy played out there were more than a few times I thought – ah, that’s interesting – when I saw moments that could have come from Zombie’s films. 

Fans may not have loved what he did with the Myers movies but he had a point – if you aren’t willing to mess with the recipe then you’re going to just get a repeat of what you’ve seen over and over before. 

The sad fact too is that as much as we love HALLOWEEN, it’s tame to modern audiences and I am not sure if it came out now it’d have the same impact. We are generations raised on an often brutal world and when our entertainment doesn’t reflect that when appropriate I am not sure it’s seen as artistic so much as unrealistic. 

We may not LIKE violence but we’re used to it. 

Subtlety is more foreign now and while it’s often lauded by critics, it also feels outdated. 

Hard to get that cow back in the barn when it’s tasted city life. 

With the newest trilogy we were told we were going back to the roots. Films 2 – Zombie no longer were canon to anything other than themselves and THIS was the new canon. 

We see this a lot these days, and for fans, it’s confusing. 

You can love whatever films you love, follow whatever canon you wish, but man, it makes it hard to follow. 

These new films though were being made with the blessing and involvement (slight as it apparently was outside of the occasional blessing askance and the score work) of Carpenter himself. Carpenter’s a smart man and he knew they’d make it whether he liked it or not, so why not be on board and get a check and maybe steer the ship a little from the wings with a nudge here or there?

Even if the movies were bad, Carpenter’s original was still there and he was getting paid. 

Perfect. 

With the newest HALLOWEEN it was nice to see Laurie Strode back and it felt real to see the effect of the trauma she’d experienced. If there was anything though it might be that she was almost TOO traumatized (which is crazy to say, I know, but this IS still a movie), as if she had experienced more horror than just that one night but MOVIES worth of horrors. Still, Laurie as Doomsday Prepper was a great move. Again, it felt real. 

The stylized reality of Michael Myers as iconic killer was great, even if he didn’t want the mantle. 

Almost immediately we see the hint of the supernatural that clings to the series but never really takes root. Michael is drawn to the mask, needs the mask, and indeed is almost possessed by it. 

The mask is more real than he is, it is his personality and persona. 

After so many years of withdrawing, there is no Michael, there is only The Shape. 

The first and indeed entire series of films are beautifully shot, well acted, and show what it looks like when Hollywood takes these properties seriously. These were not made tongue in cheek or out of irony.
These were made by people that love these characters and this franchise. 

They love the lore. 

HALLOWEEN has some weird takes – the addition of a needless doctor that is obsessed with Michael feels painfully forced – but it works. If anything, I think though I think the big missed opportunity is in showing that, in this modern world, there are some that would all but start to worship the likes of Michael. 

We are in a time where too many of us are drawn to the darkness and to horror and to have someone like that alive would be a draw for the fringe. 

I really do like this first of the trilogy and think it sets a great table but also feel that in pushing these films forward they lost out on a chance to go out on a literal and figurative bang. 

But, if horror likes anything, it’s a franchise so on with the show. 

HALLOWEEN KILLS is a much meaner film and it’s goal is to show us the effects of trauma on the world. I loved that it was a continuation of the first film, to the moment, and it sets the pace very quickly as to what we’re in for.
This is going to be violent and mean. 

Buckle up. 

Laurie is relegated to the backseat for much of this film and that’s fine. 

She has her time coming. 

Here we get to focus on the other characters and indeed the town of Haddonfield, who is trying to come to terms with their place in the world as a home to horror. 

The movie pushes the trauma almost TOO hard and when it gets to the EVIL DIES TONIGHT chants and the mobs with torches schtick, you can tell feel that very heavy hand on your shoulder. 

It feels corny. 

It feels forced. 

They want to make sure you know what they are saying and we get it.
WE GET IT!

But for all the interest in the past, we don’t get any real depth to the legacy characters. 

They are there to make us OOH and AHH at their interest in continuity. 

These are window dressing though because even through the third film, the past characters don’t have much to do with the main thrust of the story other than to provide warm and fuzzies of nostalgia and fodder for Michael. 

With the second film we also get more of the almost-supernatural where Michael is doing things normal humans cannot. 

Even those possessed of seething rage. 

We also don’t quite know WHAT he wants. 

Laurie, I guess, but why?

As much backstory as they give us we still never get a WHY, and where it works in Carpenter’s, this mystery, when played out over four films it feels like a cheat. 

Michael is a shark, yes, but he’s a shark that is a spree killer. He stops and starts over and over. 

With the end of KILLS he stops after one final punctuated kill, then calling Laurie RIDICULOUSLY in the most movie moment of the series because HOW DOES HE KNOW HOW TO CONTACT HER?

We almost get a moment where they show us that he cannot NOT pursue her, that he is honed in on her but they drop that and just have him looking at himself, lost in his own reflection. 

This could be a profound moment but it’s dropped. 

There’s no further pursuit of this thread. 

What Michael sees when he sees himself is never examined. 

What he is outside of the mask is never pursued. 

It’s simply a creepy moment in an otherwise overstuffed film that swings wildly and misses more than it connects. 

It’s a decent movie, and sets the stakes for a final confrontation but when all is said and done, and we’re at the end, I am not sure that the leap between movies makes a lot of sense. 

It’s as if they were looking for big themes and missed the simple one of a reasonable connectivity that serves the film. 

HALLOWEEN KILLS has no lack of violence or action, but it almost mocks the idea of shared trauma by making it an infection. The film was used as a means to comment on Covid when it’s not a 1 = 1 here. At all. Michael is a curse, he is a curse that affects not just the people but the town. 

Coming from someone in Flint, Michigan, there’s a difference. 

The effect on the town Michael would have is people wouldn’t move to Haddonfield anymore. 

The town would become shunned. 

The effect Michael and his legacy would have is to effectively murder the town and THAT should have been reflected in parts two and three of this new trilogy. 

Not every citizen would be traumatized but some would be. 

The idea of a town’s vengeance comes to fruition in the third film and is effective and feels earned. 

With KILLS it feels forced. 

HALLOWEEN ENDS once again plays fast and loose with the idea of the supernatural but won’t put a ring on it and cannot commit to it. 

There is lip service paid to the idea that Michael, or rather the mask, ‘possesses’ a character and makes them into a monster. 


It’s perhaps this film of the three that is the most disappointing because it really misses some great opportunities. 

We are forced to go through family drama that FEELS forced, are made to buy into a romance that seems unbelievable, and are asked to pull for a character only to then damn them. 

It’s a lot. 

There is no effort put into WHAT Michael has been up to in the ensuing years since his modern rampage. 

At least Zombie let you know that his Michael basically went to ground and was living off the land. 

He became the animal people believed he was. 

With this one, Michael just retreats into a nearby sewer duct and becomes the troll under the bridge. 

Which…is weird. 

The discovery of him comes as a shock but it’s from here that the film starts to lose the edge of its skate. 


The idea of Michael as an icon, as transcending man to become myth and to infect people with his evil is really clever. This is a rare film where having an almost ‘cult’ devotion to him, especially in ‘his’ town, where the outcasts and fallen children begin to almost worship him, is a creepy notion. Imagine a cult of Michaels on the streets of Haddonfield and Laurie, desperate to stop his evil, finds out that he is dead, long dead, and it’s just his memory that won’t die, the one thing she can never really be rid of. 

Haunting. 

Have his corpse become an altar for these kids. 

Have them try to re-enact his violence and there’s a point where it’s so rampant it CAN’T be one person and then we get the horrifying realization that this is bigger than him now. 

He’s immortal. 

You end the film with Laurie moving on, as best she can, but haunted by a legacy that can never die and somewhere, in another town, another Haddonfield, another lost soul starts to plan for their own Halloween. 

It’s current, it’s scary, and it makes the series evolve. 

Alas, with this, we have a copy cat and then Michael, who sorta seems to get stronger the more he kills, but there’s no reason given to why he tolerates this disciple. 

There are interesting ways they could have dealt with the character but it really is bothersome to present him as a victim only to make him a villain.
This last film has a LOT of victim blaming and while I wager it was meant to show how thorny this is, how people DO this, the film does what it seems to want to condemn. 

It cancels the victims.

It bullies them. 

Here too is where we should have seen a town in decline. 

After the last rampage WHO WANTS TO BE THERE?

Truly. 

The town should be dying. 

They should resent Laurie but not hate or blame her. 

Just resent her presence as a reminder. 

The film flounders for much of its duration until we get a climax that, while forced, does feel epic. 

The ending feels earned. 

It’s an ending that these characters deserve. 

I do think it’s a shame though that this boogeyman that has haunted Laurie is made flesh once more and she easily puts him aside. 

This is a man that has become a myth and then made a man again.
The thing is though, the myth would still exist. 

We needed a coda where kids are talking in the dark about the boogeyman and that the boogeyman never dies. 

And cut to black. 

Because horror, trauma, danger never does die. 

This film wants so desperately to forge a new Michael that it does so in a strange, forced way that throws a new character into the third film that just doesn’t fit, no matter how much they cram them in. 

BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I like the trilogy, begrudgingly. 

I like Zombie’s duo better, if I am honest. 

It was clear on what it was and wanted to be. 

Here we have the makings of deeper fare but it doesn’t all add up. 

It clings to violence while wanting to transcend it. 

It wants its cake and wants to eat it too. 

I love that Jamie Lee Curtis got three films to just kick butt and show what a good actress she is and how strong this character is. 

I love that we got high end horror slashers. 

I love the respect for the franchise. 

I just wish these were FUN. 

While Zombie’s weren’t fun, they were at least horrifying. 

These are neither. 

They’re entertaining, and I like them, but in five years will we look back and talk about them?

I dunno. 

We will always have the original, and we will always revisit it. 

Its many children though, well, those are just a matter of what holiday it is and what side of the family comes calling but of the lot of them I feel like HALLOWEEN 3 will always be the unsung hero that gets spoken of fondly while the many others are left to the remainder bins and reruns at the holidays. 

…c…

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