“Could it be one monster created another?” I finally got to sit down and watch Halloween 2018 aka Halloween aka Halloween 40.
We open on two investigative journalists who are making a podcast about the Michael Myers murders 40 years ago. Myers has spent 40 years in captivity at Smith’s Grove under the study of Dr. Sartain. He’s never spoken, “he can speak, he just chooses not to”. He brings the journalists to Michael chained up in the yard and the podcaster shows Michael his original mask. It’s battered and cracked. But you still immediately feel a chill when it’s pulled out of the bag. The other inmates start to go crazy but Michael doesn’t flinch. The only sign he’s showing is his hands clenched into fists.
The podcaster taunts him, “say something, say something Michael…SAY SOMETHING”.
And then we cut to opening credits.
Already this movie is beautiful. Directed by David Gordon Green and written by Green, Jeff Fradley, and Danny McBride, you can feel the confidence Green has behind the camera. This is the movie they’ve all been dying to make and every frame is treated with a high attention to detail. I genuinely can’t wait to watch it over and over again to see all the small details I missed.
This movie is the eleventh installment of the series, but actually picks up 40 years after the first flick, disregarding the others. There’s a quirky moment between characters where one says that Michael was Laurie’s brother, and the other says that was made up. They’ve taken out the safety blanket. There is no logical reason for Michael to be stalking Laurie. And the movie spends a lot of time trying to sort that out. What drives Michael? Is he simply a predator chasing his prey? Or is there some sort of emotional connection?
Laurie Strode, 40 years on, is a hardened woman that has spent her entire life preparing for the return of Michael. Because out of anyone in this film, Laurie is truly the only one that really understands Michael. She knows he will keep coming, he will never change, and he will be impossible to stop.
Laurie lives in a fortress of her own design with a hidden basement, an arsenal of guns, and a life time of training in everything that could protect herself. She had a daughter who she raised to be the same way, but was taken away from her at 12 years old.
Karen, the daughter, has carved out her own life with a husband, Ray, and her own daughter, Allyson. Allyson is desperate to know her Grandmother but Karen keeps a healthy space between them.
It’s a fascinating dynamic between the three Strode women. Laurie at first seems like this jaded mad woman with crazy anxiety and an obsession. While Karen is this healthy, happy mother and Allyson her intelligent and equally happy daughter. But Karen has spent her whole life in therapy to remove the paranoid delusions that Laurie had placed on her. Karen learned to shoot a gun at 8 and learned to fight. She lived a childhood of fear for something she’d never actually seen. And Allyson, she’s a people pleaser – her boyfriend Cameron is a bit of a drunk idiot and it isn’t really until Laurie comes back into her life that Allyson leaves him behind and comes into her own.
Dr. Sartain is another interesting character. It’s pretty clear his own obsession with Michael is unhealthy. For years he’s been orchestrating these events. And when the bus crashes and Dr. Sartain is the only survivor – you know it’s not by chance. Sartain has probably spent years obsessing over Michael meeting Laurie again, and finally speaking. When his inevitable death finally comes, it’s from a foot stomp by Michael. He’s stomping out his anger from Dr. Sartain spending years observing him. A stomp so aggressive it completely pulverizes Sartain’s head.
Halloween is filled with character growth and development and is a fascinating character study on scream queens and the effect these situations have on them, and the effect the killer has on their environment around them. Watching Laurie finally be proven right after years of being treated like a crazy person is incredibly satisfying. And watching Michael end up in the trap that was built exactly for him is pure joy. Karen finally realizes her Mother was right. And while the way she was raised is inexcusable, she finally got to see and experience why Laurie was the way she was. And sweet, young Allyson…she went from seeing Michael for the first time and screaming and running away to stabbing him to protect her Mother. The end of the flick as the three women lay in the bed of the truck, Allyson clings to Michael’s knife. She’s officially taking back control from a man that has destroyed three generations of Strode women. She’s literally stealing his power back.
And let’s not forget Michael himself. The glimpses we have of him without the mask show an old man with grey hair and a beard. But time hasn’t slowed him down, it’s made him more aggressive. Every single one of his kills is over the top violent and you can feel his aggression with every stab, punch, and kick. Michael has been kept locked up for 40 years and he’s now free to do what he does best. And the fact that it takes an elaborate trap to shut him down once and for all (possibly) shows how tough he’s grown. He gets shot in the head and barely flinches. He’s practically indestructible at this point. Which is what Laurie has been preparing for, but no one else was.
There’s some beautiful parallels between the first movie and the second, so many mirrored images that satisfy original fans. My favorite moment was when Michael threw Laurie out the window staring down at her body, he glances away for a second distracted, and Laurie disappears.
Genuinely, this flick is one of my absolute favorites. It was better than I expected and is such an incredible feminist power flick. Despite being written and directed by men. Laurie Strode is absolutely everything and the montage of her shooting and loading guns is what I want to see flash before my eyes before I die.
A solid 5/5 and an immediate re-watch.