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.
|Posted: 02 November 2018 at 8:57pm | IP Logged | 3
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