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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 6:51pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

A cursory use of the search facility reveals there hasn't been a topic dedicated to the HALLOWEEN franchise. So I thought I'd start one. Naturally, spoilers will follows (major spoilers perhaps). 

Let's share some thoughts on all the films, including the Rob Zombie ones.

By my reckoning - don't you love the multiverse? - there are four HALLOWEEN universes:

Universe #1: HALLOWEEN 1-2, 4, 5, and 6
Universe #2: HALLOWEEN/HALLOWEEN H20/RESURRECTION
Universe #3: HALLOWEEN & HALLOWEEN II (Rob Zombie)
Universe #4: HALLOWEEN (2018), a direct sequel to the 1978 original

(We've discussed the third HALLOWEEN film previously; share thoughts if you wish - I think the film is underrated - but I'm concentrating on Michael Myers).

I have many mixed feelings about the franchise, particularly the retconning we've often seen. I have a love/hate relationship with some of the films (5 and 6 have improved with age and hindsight, I feel).

The original is, of course, an atmospheric and well-produced film that one feels as much as one watches. I have nothing but praise for it. I enjoy the tropes, I think it's been hugely influential, and it remains so forty years later.

HALLOWEEN 2 is, with hindsight, the weakest of the franchise. It has its moments - I can't fault the performances - but it's a slasher flick that really is too similar to many other slasher flicks. Whilst the original was about atmosphere and tension, this one goes for gore. 

Of all the Universe #1 sequels, HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS is my favourite. There is gore, yes, but it's a hell of a lot better than the second film. But that's not a back-handed compliment. I like it on its own merits. I like the characters of Jamie and Rachel, both of whom add a lot to the film. It has many solid scenes throughout.

HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS is a film I've come to appreciate with age. It's not as good as the fourth movie. It's uneven. It seems slow in places. But it's satisfying for the most part, especially continuing the storyline of the fourth film.

I also feel HALLOWEEN 6: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS has improved with age. I am not sure the whole Man in Black/curse arc really served the franchise well, but I appreciate you can't keep rehashing the early films (I'll get to such things in a moment). This is a solid rather than spectacular film, but I don't feel negatively towards it, not like I did when it was released.

I'll briefly state that I really do have mixed feelings about the whole "Laurie is Michael's sister" and the Man in Black/curse arc in Universe #1. It sort of takes away from the first film. I appreciate a franchise can't just keep rehashing elements, but then the pendulum can swing too far in a convoluted way.

Moving to Universe #2, HALLOWEEN H20 is a hugely entertaining film. I like the development of Laurie Strode in this. There are some original scares. Michael is more menacing than he's been since perhaps the fourth film. And that ending, eh?

HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION is pretty much a throwaway film for me. I like the rather ingenious way they 'bring him back' after the final moments of H20, but like HALLOWEEN 2 from Universe #1, this is forgettable in many respects.

I did enjoy Rob Zombie's movies. Did Myers need a backstory? Perhaps not. He didn't need humanising. But I guess Zombie had to put his own stamp on things. And what purpose would it have served for him to rehash John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN? Tyler Mane certainly is an imposing presence in the films, and they are perhaps better than they deserve to be.

And that brings me to Universe #4, specifically HALLOWEEN (2018). I saw this the other day and was very impressed. It cannot have been easy for the director to direct a movie that paid homage to the original whilst providing new fans with a contemporary film that moves the franchise ahead. There are some great performances here - particularly Jamie Lee Curtis and Will Patton - and I cared about all of the characters. It provides some relatively fresh scares, and it was great to see Nick Castle back.

Fire away with your thoughts, folks!


Edited by Robbie Parry on 02 November 2018 at 6:53pm
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 8:15pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply


I more admire than love the first HALLOWEEN, and can appreciate how influential it was, even if it's low-budget and slight script keeps me from thinking it's as great as everyone else seems to think it is.

The only sequel I've enjoyed over the years is Part III: SEASON OF THE WITCH.  At least they tried something different.

Never saw all of Part 2; vague memories of renting Part 4, and seeing Part 5 in the theaters, but I couldn't tell you a thing about them.  Never bothered with any of the other entries after that.

I'm just not generally a fan of most horror sequels, especially in series that just seem to go on forever with remakes and reboots as well (TEXAS CHAINSAW, FRIDAY THE 13TH, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, ALIEN, THE EXORCIST, etc.).  The very first entries, invariably, are always the best, and most other sequels can safely be skipped.

Having said all that, I am interested enough in the buzz about the 2018 sequel to give the new HALLOWEEN a rental next year, just to see if it lives up to the hype.  And Jamie Lee Curtis looks like a total bad-ass in this one, so there's that, at least!





Edited by Shaun Barry on 02 November 2018 at 8:16pm
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John Popa
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 8:57pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The first is an obvious classic of the genre - sparse, abstract, what makes it work for me so well is how non-literally it can be taken.  Michael Meyers was an idea, we didn't know what he was, even at the end. The failures of the sequels are all they took from the original was Michael's perceived invincibility and the somewhat silly notion that he can catch people without running.

The original 'Halloween 2' is everything the original isn't. Direct, literal, Michael plows through a bigger group of people in more violent and less relevant ways.  It gives a storybook ending to a story that wasn't meant to have that kind of closure. Everything about it, especially the plot twist it added about Michael and Laurie being related, is blunt and lifeless.  Did the original movie need soap opera added on?  

"Halloween 3" is a cute little movie.

"Halloween 4" at least has the decency to have people learn from the mistakes of the past.  When Loomis tells the police that Michael is back they leap into action, they try to clear the streets, they try to protect Jamie Lloyd.  It's not an especially good movie by any stretch but as slasher sequels go, it has its charms.  For us teenagers (at the time) who just wanted to see Michael Meyers again, that's what this movie gave us.

"Halloween 5" and "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Meyers" are basically unwatchable to me.  They zoom in on that preposterous 'man in black' supernatural origin angle and I find it all tedious.  I realize they were stuck with the (financial) need to keep bringing Michael back but bloating backstory is always the laziest way to keep a franchise going.  Granted, there's really no way to move the story 'forward' either.  Thus the fatal flaw in continuing to rehash the story in the first place.

"H2O" - was this the first movie to openly blow off sequels?  Maybe?  Either way, it's fun.  It brought Jamie Lee Curtis and made her damaged but still functional (unlike the current version that made her into a lunatic.)  The kids are all decent enough (I had a mad crush on Jodi Lyn O'Keefe at the time) and the final battle with Laurie and Michael is good enough.  It's more of an action finale, which I liked - Laurie turned the tide and wasn't running in terror any longer.  They were going to fight this out.  It seemed to be the finale for the franchise - but then it made a ton of money.

I tend to like "Resurrection" more than many.  I like that it dispatched with all the 'man in black' mumbo jumbo and just said 'let's have Michael return and take out some folks.'  Again, the cast was solid, Michael did his thing and it was pretty neat and tidy at the end.  It was modern enough without being too 'wink wink.'  The way it played around with the then current social media technology made it look more interesting and gave us some new angles on Michael's work.  It felt like the creators tried to make a straight-forward slasher flick that didn't try to do too much plot-wise and instead focused on making Michael intimidating again.  I think it succeeded more than it didn't.  I also think Busta Rhymes is funny :) 

Rob Zombie's movies are a mixed bag.  I didn't really like his reworking of Michael's origin, making the family all crazy hillbillies.  I'll never understand why Zombie, who's an intelligent, well-spoken guy, always writes such vulgar and simplistic characters. Once the movie moves into adult Michael doing his thing, it gets a little better.  Zombie does intensity well.  The ending drags on, especially when Laurie's stuck in the walls.  

I do see Zombie's point that the original is so perfect that to just redo it would be a waste of time, thus taking it in so radical a new direction.  I'll give him credit for starting from scratch, even if I didn't like all of what he did.

The second movie is more enjoyable for me.  I think because it didn't worry about the origin stuff, it was a sleeker movie that was open for what Zombie does well - scenes of intense and graphic violence.  At the same time, the death of Danielle Harris's character is one of the more poignant scenes in any slasher movie.  The white horse stuff is odd but, in general, the movie doesn't pretend to be more than it is.  It's just a really violent slasher movie which, in some ways, is what "Halloween" is best suited to be.

Which brings us to this year's movie, which didn't work for me at all.  Slasher movies tend to work because it's an isolated incident with young protagonists who are caught by surprise.  Adding forty years of baggage to everyone involved means everyone in this movie should have known better - even Michael.  There are too many plot contrivances and holes, at one point when a cop realizes that Michael is heading back to Haddonfield says 'what are we supposed to do? Cancel Halloween?'  YES, STUPID.  THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO.

It also did the character of Laurie Strode great disservices, in my opinion.  Rather than keep her strong and let her grow from her experiences, she's spent 40 years festering as a paranoid, apparently alcoholic crackpot who's driven away two spouses, her children and potentially her grand daughter as well.  She's that weird lady kids aren't supposed to talk to at the store, telling everyone that the boogeyman is coming.  She's more like the crazy old guy in the "Friday the 13th" movies than she is Linda Hamilton in the "Terminator" flicks.  

I didn't think the flick was scary at all.  Michael shows up and knocks off a handful of people - hell, most of them don't even have names.  Were they in the houses he stalked originally?  If so, weren't the cops watching those places?  He kills a couple bumbling cops. There are a couple teenagers that die because, well, what else would they do in a slasher movie?  Even the lesser earlier sequels created a sense that Michael was marching toward something and the people that died were in the way of that.  This time?  He kills a babysitter I guess because she talked on the phone to Laurie's grand daughter?   People get killed for no reason other than it's as good a way as any to kill time before Michael decides to go to Laurie's house for the final showdown.

There was no real connection between Laurie and her teenage grand daughter - no sense of Laurie seeing herself in the girl, no sense of what this girl could lose so easily, the same way Laurie lost everything all those years ago.  She's just there to give the movie those token teenagers to get killed and then to wander into the finale for no specific reason.  

Oh and that mid-movie plot twist involving the poor man's Dr. Loomis character?  Wow.  What a mess.  And it went absolutely nowhere, like most everything else in the movie.

If Laurie's house was secretly a trap for Michael - why all the locks and hidden rooms?  Just let him walk in, lock the place up and burn it down.  All the tension was a contrivance that the surprise reveal contradicts.  (Wasn't there a gate?  How did Michael just drive up to the front door?  And, again, why have a locked gate if they wanted him to show up and get in the house anyway?)

Ultimately, the problem with this "Halloween" is they took everything WAAAY too literally.  Exposing the reality of Laurie's trauma ends up being a bit insulting - Michael Meyers was the least of her emotional problems and the movie pretended to care about all of them, but it really didn't.  Are we supposed to believe that all is right in her world because she bested her bad guy? 

I love the original "Halloween" and can suffer through some of the sequels, mostly because I'm a horror geek who was raised on slasher movies.  Dopey sequels are our bread and butter.  But, more than the other franchises, I think 'Halloween' would have been better served being a one-off.  I get that financial reality of Hollywood made that impossible. 

Oh, I'll still see the next one.  It might be better, after all.  


Edited by John Popa on 03 November 2018 at 7:35am
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 11:16pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Never seen a one but the original and I think I'm better off!  
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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 03 November 2018 at 8:10am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Not really a huge horror fan, but I've seen three or four Halloween movies. The first one has obvious qualities. The others not so much, in my opinion. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 03 November 2018 at 8:45am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Take your pick, but the publications FANGORIA, STARBURST and THE DARK SIDE have all done retrospective features on the franchise recently.

One learns interesting things, e.g. ideas such as Michael Myers in space and the fact that the HALLOWEEN franchise was envisioned as an anthology series.
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Jason Scott
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Posted: 04 November 2018 at 1:02am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Halloween, the original, (Bothers me a bit that we have to specify that,) is a stone cold classic. It's perfect, from beginning to end. So little more needs to be said there. I think only the very first Nightmare on Elm Street comes close to matching it. (And that film has a screwed up studio ending tacked on.) Sometimes I wish Halloween had never had any sequels.

Having said that Halloween II did seem to wrap things up with what at the time looked like a better climax. Sure the directing is poor compared to Carpenter's original, but the fact that it is a direct continuation, picking up right with the original's open ending, and that Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis are both still giving it their all, lends it an authenticity that the other sequels struggle to match.

Halloween III is of course it's own thing, and I often wish it had been more successful, so that  the anthology thing had continued.

4, 5 & 6, I ended up skipping.

Halloween H20 was great at the time. Not as scary as the original sure, but it was an entertaining film nonetheless. With some decent acting, and a not bad script at all. I also loved the ending, and REALLY wish that had been the conclusion of the series.

Halloween Resurrection, I watched the opening up until Jamie Lee Curtis's character was bumped off, and struggled to maintain interest afterwards. Still can't remember if I made it to the ending.

Similarly, I know I've tried to watch the remake, as I did appreciate them trying to flesh it out. But the fact that I remember so little about it now, pretty much sums up how unnecessary it ended up being.
So much so that I didn't even bother with it's sequel.

Last night I watched the new film, and whilst it was competently enough directed, it felt to me like an inferior take on H20 that really didn't add much of interest. The little twist with the psychiatrist seemed like it was going somewhere interesting and then petered out. As did Will Patton's character arc too. In fact, I can't say I was impressed by the writing at all. For all their talk of it being more realistic, with Michael caught after being shot in the original, he still seems his usual invincible self later on in the movie. Shrugging off being shot multiple times, and even being run over. And the girls in the house at the end, really didn't act very sensibly at all. Which I know is par for the course in horror/slasher movies, but I was hoping for better.

So yeah, the prospect of this having a sequel, (which it will probably receive, given it's big opening,) doesn't exactly enthuse me with much hope.
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Ed Aycock
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Posted: 05 November 2018 at 10:50am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Universe 2 should include Halloween 2 as that's the film where the familial connection is revealed. 

I loathe the Rob Zombie films.  I had no interest in Michal Myer's past life not Zombie's sleazy overlay nor the really bad emoting of that franchise's Laurie. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 05 November 2018 at 1:15pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

 Ed Aycock wrote:
Universe 2 should include Halloween 2 as that's the film where the familial connection is revealed.

You're right!

It's so hard to keep track of it. What a big multiverse, eh? ;-)
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