Spookyween #4: Halloweeeeeeeeeeen

Greetings all you Hoci and Poci and welcome to the most wonderful day of the year! The veil between this world and the next is thin, witches have taken to the skies, werewolves stalk the streets, and vampires have seen returns on some very smart investments they made in the last fiscal year. The world is buzzing with supernatural energy of the spookiest kind! And tomorrow is me and Nikkie’s anniversary so the party just gets to keep going for me! It’s the only time of the year that I feel really alive.

So here’s something weird: I’ve never talked about the Halloween series on here before. And here’s something even weirder: I hadn’t even seen most of the Halloween series before. I’d seen the first one, the third one, parts of the fourth and sixth, about ten minutes of the one with Busta Rhymes, and the trying-way-too-hard Rob Zombie reboot. But that’s it! You’d think I’d have been all-in on the series that bears the namesake of my high holiday from the very beginning but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I even grew to appreciate John Carpenter’s original. See, I’d seen the very first Halloween when I was pretty young. It was at a time when I was old enough to watch horror movies without crying, but too young to appreciate subtlety. So of course upon my initial viewing I dismissed it as boring and didn’t try again for over a decade. Ah youth. It makes us all so so dumb.

So a new Halloween came out this year that wiped away all the other sequels and instead acted as a direct sequel to the original. They brought back the once and future Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis and they even got John Carpenter to write the music. It’s pretty great! Easily one of the best in the series; and probably the only one since Halloween 3 to really take death seriously. There are some really viscerally disturbing deaths in this movie, not because they’re particularly gruesome but because the actors do such a good job of conveying fear and sadness. It really fucked me up a few times guys!

And Jamie Lee Curtis is a damn treasure. She plays Laurie as a scared, broken woman determined to protect her daughter and granddaughter from all the bad things in the world despite knowing very well that sometimes life just rears up and kicks you in the teeth. She’s damaged and paranoid. I’ve seen many reviews celebrating her for portraying a “strong female character” in the correct way – which, first of all, there is more than one way for a woman to be strong, what are you people James Cameron? – but it’s so much more than that. She’s strong, yes, but she’s also vulnerable and covered in sharp edges that drive those closest to her away. What she is is nuanced. Jamie Lee Curtis is easily the best thing about this movie and this franchise. See the movie for her alone.

Michael’s hanging back cus he knows she ain’t nothin to fuck with

Michael is what he always is; hulking, brutish, and unstoppable. That is until the final act of the movie where three generations of Strode women team up to kick his William Shatner face-wearin ass. It’s amazing. One of the most cathartic scenes in recent memory.

The rest of the movie is…a Halloween sequel. Douche bag teens get horny, douche bag teens get killed (although there’s one that surprisingly doesn’t die and just kind of disappears midway through the movie), a kooky psychiatrist rides around with the sheriff waxing philosophical about the nature of evil. Standard stuff, but full of atmosphere and dread and good performances. Originally I was going to review the movie more thoroughly but instead I decided to just give you my highest recommendation. Go see it guys.

So instead of doing a big review of the new Halloween I decided instead to briefly touch on the rest of the series. As I said before I hadn’t watched most of them until just recently and most of what I had watched was half-remembered and confused. So I recently watched the entire series from beginning to end. It was…a slog. These are mostly not good movies. But that ain’t gonna stop me from talking about them for about 1000 words!

Halloween: John Carpenter’s original masterpiece. Atmospheric, tense, and the world’s introduction to the glorious Jamie Lee Curtis. Any horror fan should watch it at least once. Best viewed on VHS in a dark room with an old CRT, possibly with the tracking slightly off. You guys remember tracking? That shit was weird.

Halloween 2: Written by John Carpenter but directed by Rick Rosenthal. It takes place on the same night as the original. Michael tracks Laurie Strode to the hospital she’s taken too and tries to finish the job. There’s a big plot twist that Laurie is Michael’s sister. It’s an okay twist I guess but I never really liked it. It kind of lessened the alien menace of Michael. This one is worth watching.

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch: The “black sheep” of the series and the only one without Michael Myers. This one is a batshit insane sci-fi horror about a scientist using pagan magic to turn children’s heads into bugs with Halloween masks. I love this movie. It’s one of my favorite horror movies. Watch it and don’t let anyone tell you it’s bad. They’re small-minded fools.

This does not end well

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers: Laurie died offscreen in a car crash and this movie is about her daughter Jamie Lloyd. Michael, who’s been in a coma for several years, hears someone talking about Jamie and wakes up. He goes to hunt her down. The movie ends with the tease that Jamie Lloyd is going to follow in Michael’s footsteps. This one’s…okay. I like Jamie and I like the twist, not to mention Donald Pleasance is back as Dr. Loomis which is always a treat. This is one of the only post-Halloween 3 sequels worth watching.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers/Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers: So I’m lumping these two together because of how weird they are. In 5 they totally ignore the end of 4 and Jamie’s in a hospital mute and traumatized. Michael shows up again to try and kill her. It’s basically Halloween 1 by way of Halloween 4. It’s boring BUT it introduces a mysterious man in black who seems to have his own agenda with Michael, Jamie, and Dr. Loomis.
Halloween 6 begins years later. Jamie has been kidnapped by the man in black and kept underground for over a decade. She’s now pregnant with Michael’s child. Michael is her uncle. It’s gross. Turns out Michael is the latest in a line of chosen one’s in some sort of stupid ancient pagan curse. It’s really dumb. This one is notable for being the first onscreen role of Paul Rudd. There are two versions, a god-awful theatrical cut and a slightly less god-awful producer’s cut. Neither are really worth watching.

Halloween H20: Jamie Lee is back babyyyyy! She faked her death, Jamie Lloyd doesn’t exist in this continuity, Michael is on the hunt once again. This one is actually pretty similar to the new movie but with more Josh Hartnett and LL Cool J. It’s very much a product of its time. It’s not a good movie but the final battle between Laurie and Michael is legitimately fantastic and the moment she comes face to face with Michael for the first time in 20 years is one of the great moments in horror history.

Halloween: Resurrection: Busta Rhymes kicks Michael Myers through a window. Make of that what you will.

Halloween – The Rob Zombie Remix: A movie notable for taking everything scary and fascinating about Michael Myers and chucking it out the window in favor of dirty rednecks and child abuse. It’s…okay, I guess. But the thing is Michael is officially credited as “The Shape” in all the movies. He’s not supposed to be understandable. That’s literally the entire point of the series. Again, it’s okay. Worth watching if you’re a completionist or if you’re just really into Rob Zombie movies.

Halloween Part Deux, ft. Sheri Moon Zombie: Uhhh. I dunno. Laurie Strode dresses like a Rob Zombie groupie. Rob Zombie’s wife shows up as a ghost with a white horse a lot. Turns out Dr. Loomis was the main villain the whole time. This one’s weird. And not good.

And that brings us to the new one! Clearly it’s a series of hits and very serious misses. But even the bad ones are kiiiind of worth watching. Sometimes.

Now go away! I’ve got Halloween to celebrate and so do you!

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