Movie Preview: “Halloween” (2018 edition)

STORY BY JOHN CARTER JR

Halloween: 40 years later

Since the release of Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978, the horror genre has produced some of the most impressive and terrible films to date. Halloween is seen as a pioneer in the genre itself and has made way for various franchises of movies to grow and develop. Film series including  The Friday the 13th and the Nightmare on Elm Street franchises have been known to take significant inspiration from Halloween. Now forty years since the original release of the film, Halloween will be receiving a new sequel, one that will replace the entirety of the previous continuity starting with Halloween 2 and ending with Halloween: Resurrection (there were also the Rob Zombie versions, but we try to forget those even more so than the rest).

This decision paves the way for an entirely new timeline for the Halloween Franchise, one that could be a great reimagining of the horror giant and could essentially set the stage for a new era of Horror films. Rather, it could become one that could provide a critical example of movies who are in the category of what I like to refer as the “Sequel Hell” (a tier of genuinely terrible sequels), the place where the likes of Scream 3 and every Paranormal Activity sequel go.  A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, The Nun, and Hannibal Rising all fall into this category as well. Halloween has had a mix of bad and good entries, but what could Halloween (2018) bring to the table?

First, let us look back at what the film did right initially.

For starters, the character development is impressive beyond impressive. Halloween was an innovator in the everyday person horror. The main protagonist Laurie Strode, portrayed by the legendary Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis, is one of these characters. Laurie, a young babysitter in 1978 Haddonfield, Illinois, is what stands between evil and the safety of two children she is charged with taking care of. That very evil is the soulless, very human, monster, Micheal Myers.

Carpenter paints this antagonist as the embodiment of evil itself, there is no room for sympathy or compassion for this villain. He is just that, a villain. Laurie, on the other hand, is not the embodiment of good but rather that of inquisitiveness. Throughout the film, we can note Laurie’s intelligence, resourcefulness, and questioning nature in general. We can see this either in the classroom or on the street.

Take for example an early scene in the film. The second interaction with Micheal is made when Laurie is walking home with her friend Annie. She sees Micheals masked face for the first time as he quickly hides behind a bush, Annie doesn’t witness this. This is the director’s way of conveying the characters personalities. Laurie is instantly concerned and makes a joke out of it. Laurie prevails in the end as the last remaining teen alive in the main cast due to her concern with Micheal from the very beginning. In the case of Myers, this conveys that he isn’t just a simple stalker, he is more of a looming presence waiting for that vulnerable moment.  

The film is known for its excellent camera work. By taking multiple scenes from the villains perspective the viewer is at an interesting crossroad of feelings. Micheal’s first-person scenes create small experiences of cognitive dissonance in the viewer. The opening of the film is the best example of this. The viewer is brought around and through the house until we a notified by his sister that we are in the position of young Micheal Myers. We are forced to be in the position of the boy who stabs his sister, we are looking through his masked eyes.

This shows the excellence of the camera work and direction from this film that was integral in the development of future slasher villains. Psycho’s Norman Bates may have created the Slasher genre but Micheal Myers is the pinnacle of villain excellence in the very same genre.                    

On to the future, Halloween (2018) is looking to usher in a revitalized era of horror that is leaning towards slasher films. The film will follow an older Laurie Strode played again by Jamie Lee Curtis. We can expect to see what happened to both our favorite babysitter gone gun-toting grandma and the embodiment of evil (who will presumably still be merely that). That being said the official trailer gave us a few specific details to be aware of.

Firstly, early on we see that Dr. Sam Loomis has been replaced after meeting a few new characters within the first scenes who are investigating Micheal Myer’s first spree of murders in 1978. This opening part of the trailer also reveals that the film will at least briefly cover the plot points of the original film. So for those who missed out on the original classic, you won’t have to worry, but the original is worth a watch.   

Secondly, while the films taking place after the original are no longer in the continuity of the current franchise, it doesn’t mean a few callbacks or easter eggs won’t be stuffed in. In fact in the trailer, a few new teen characters, including one of Laurie’s grandchildren, talk about a rumor that Laurie is Micheal’s sister. The character says specifically “Wasn’t it her brother who murdered all those babysitters?”, this is a considerable easter egg given the original sequel to Halloween, Halloween 2, used this as a significant plot point and motive for Micheal wanting to murder Laurie.

The most exciting and obvious plot component to expect is the epic showdown with Laurie and Micheal. Who will be triumphant? Will this be a stand-alone film with either Laurie or Micheal Myers dying or will Micheal escape with the intent on making a new film after? My bets are on the latter concept.

All in all, Halloween is shaping up to be a great installment in this already massive franchise and with a genre that is currently over diluted with hot garbage we need to get back to the basics. We will just have to wait and see until the new movie comes out on October 19th.

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