Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!
I hope I don’t go back to the movies until after they stop showing the massively stupid trailer for Robin Hood. Just sayin’. I don’t often go to horror movies at the theater. I’m a pretty big wimp, more of a hiding behind the pillow at home kinda viewer. Halloween, though, is a classic of the genre, and who doesn’t want to see the latest incarnation featuring the actress who launched the legacy of the Final Girl.
This is the eleventh installment of the Halloween franchise, the granddaddy of slasher movies, beginning in a very good period for slashers in 1978. The original was written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, shot cheaply and told simply. Carpenter also crafted a bit of scary music for it that has been played by pep bands a million times since at basketball games. During the filming of the original movie, Jamie Lee Curtis was asked to hum a song as she walked down the street. The song she came up with on the fly, “Close to Me”, is featured at the end of the credits of the current installment. I’m glad I stayed that long.
The beginning of the film introduces the current Michael Myers milieu in his element at the mental institution with a long series of too-close close ups, giving everything a disembodied feel. Then the man himself is shown (sort of) in a courtyard with the ground painted like one of those Facebook images that is static but forces your brain to think it’s moving. Next is a brilliant opening sequence, giving Guardians of the Galaxy II a run for its money. It’s one of a lot of nods to the previous films, showing a gorgeously rendered animation of an inflating jack-o-lantern with a great face (that now glows on the face of the pumpkin on my back porch). Even though this Halloween is intended to be a direct sequel to the original film, skipping over all the movies between them, the ton of images are from all of those same movies. If I think about that too much it gives me a headache. Still, it was cool to see the slatted closet door and hangers inside, both Laurie and Michael doing the whole standing across the street suddenly staring at someone creepily thing, sheets blowing on a clothesline, and many others that went right over my head because I’ve only seen three of the movies.
After a classic slow buildup, with a classic framing story of misguided journalists, classic mad scientist psychiatrist and classic introductions of many sweet and innocent characters born to die horribly at the hands of Michael Myers, we get into the meat of the story – mano a mana duking it out with the original Final Girl. It’s a family affair and full of classic jump scares, wicked gore and the most ironic tattoo ever. I found the pacing pretty well perfect. The old slasher films always started slow, giving the viewer a taste of victim personas, getting the slasher closer and closer while clueless authority ignores all the signs (like loads of horribly murdered teenagers) until the relentless killer becomes an unstoppable force and the viewer can only hold onto their seat in fear. This version does all that, and it’s a beautifully shot modern film as well. The acting is all solid, with loads of side eyed angst, anger, and good screaming.
I’m really happy to have seen this movie in the theater, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes the franchise, loves seeing tough women – especially older ones – kicking some evil butt, or loves horror movies in general. It’s a gorgeous movie, well paced, with loads of nostalgia and tension that builds and builds rather than crashing suddenly onto the audience at the end.
Recommended Video from Mildred: Evolution Of Michael Myers 1978-2018 (Animated)
I was surprised at how long it took me to understand why Michael killed the psychiatrist the way he does. It’s a cruel joke, and a really funny one, if you don’t mind black, black, BLACK humor. He’s an egghead. Michael stomps his head open – like a cracked egg. D’oh!
The most classic aspect is the old fashioned idea that you can have a Final Girl – in this case three of them – giving the end a feeling of hope instead of the modern idea that everyone should die and all the fighting for their lives was a wasted, hopeless endeavor. Halloween leaves the audience with that uplifting image of the three women at the end, and of course without a money shot of Michael Myers dead, leaving room for twenty more sequels. If they’re as good as this one, I’ll be watching.