BY: MAYA PAGE
Exactly 40 years after the release of John Carpenter’s iconic “Halloween,” Michael Myers is back to fulfill his death wish upon Laurie Strode. The original film released in Oct. 1978 started a slasher franchise that has been critically-acclaimed one of the best horror films of all time.
Over the years, there have been many sequels, remakes, reboots, spin-offs, etc., of “Halloween.” (Halloween II, Halloween III, Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Halloween: Resurrection). However, none of the remakes were ever able to top the original. Every director that took on the challenge of remaking the masterpiece tried to change the storyline and add their own elements. By the eighth movie, “Halloween” had become cheesy, generic, and seemed to be milking the film for every cent it could get, without putting much thought or effort into it.
The 2018 “Halloween” directed by David Gordon Green decided to scratch out all of the series produced in the middle and start off exactly where the John Carpenter film ended. The films in-between created a plot where Laurie was Michael Myers’ sister. However, that was never the vision for the characters. In an interview, the writer Danny McBride said, “I was pushing for that removal right off the bat. I just felt like that was an area where he wasn’t quite as scary anymore, it seemed too personalized.”
Carpenter never wanted Laurie and Michael to have a family dynamic. The whole terror factor comes from the idea that these murders can happen to anyone, even to us in the audience. So, by the sequels and remakes introducing them as siblings, it took away that chilling effect of random killings and turned it into crimes of passion, which is far less terrifying.
The story picks up four decades after Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) watched Michael Myers brutally kill her friends on Halloween. She was the lone survivor, and spent her entire life with PTSD, waiting and preparing for Michael’s return. Meanwhile, Michael spent this time locked up in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, never speaking one word.
One of the best quotes from the film that completely captures Laurie’s paranoia is when she said to Officer Hawkins, “Do you know that I prayed every night that he would escape?” Hawkins replied, “What the hell did you do that for?” Laurie simply said, “So I can kill him.”
A great lesson that can be learned from “Halloween” is simply don’t mess with evil. Doctors and journalists tried studying Michael for many years, trying to find his motive, trying to get him to speak. But they never could. The message here is that we can’t always understand evil, and we shouldn’t try to. Sometimes evil just happens, it just exists, and there’s only one way to stop it: kill it.
Director Green kept this version so authentic to the original, which is really what made it a success. From the original rolling credits and creepy piano theme song in the beginning, to the fantastic Jamie Less Curtis playing Laurie Strode, to massacring babysitters on Halloween night, this film embraced the roots and paid respect to the classic. The dying franchise has finally been resurrected, and it only took 40 years.
It felt like an honest and natural extension from the first. There is nothing like a psychopath with a mask and a knife sneaking into homes, hiding around corners and in closets. “Halloween” was a breath of fresh air compared to the overdone and played out supernatural, exorcism, paranormal, modern day ‘horror’ films.
Those who do not know about the horror franchises such as “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Scream,” etc., may not be able to appreciate the film to its full extent. It was a generation of killers full of jump-scares without the special effects. It was truly an era or horror that has not been lived up to for a very long time. For those who crave a nostalgia ride, “Halloween” is a must-see. Watching Myers retrieve his old mask and put it on for the first time was a feeling of fear, but also familiarity that we had all been waiting for.