Halloween returns to the series’ roots

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Halloween returns to the series’ roots

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Contributed Photo

Image from fanfest.com

Contributed Photo

Contributed Photo

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Carter Mills, Reporter

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Nine years ago, the “Halloween” film series went into another hibernation after the sequel to Rob Zombie’s remake of the franchise, “Halloween 2” (2009), was released. The film made its money back, but critics smashed it with abysmal scores, and while another sequel was planned, it was eventually scrapped due to production troubles. It seemed as if the “Halloween” franchise had hit a low point for the third time, after “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers” and “Halloween: Resurrection” also caused similar slowdown in production of films. The series had lost the sense of horror and suspense it once had, playing it safer by relying on gore and exploitation. Fortunately, the newest “Halloween” film brings back everything that made the 1978 classic so great.

Just in time for the franchise’s 40th anniversary, “Halloween” (2018) brings back a couple of familiar faces. John Carpenter, creator of the series, returns as an executive producer and composer; Nick Castle, who played Michael Myers in the very first “Halloween” film, comes back to play the killer in certain scenes; and last but not least is Jamie Lee Curtis, who reprises her role as Laurie Strode. The film also very wisely decides to ignore every sequel in the franchise, even “Halloween 2” (1981), making this a direct sequel to the original.

The film’s plot revolves around Laurie Strode, 40 years after the events of the original, still in fear of Michael Myers. She has become very paranoid and lives secluded in a tightly defended house in the woods. This has caused her to become very estranged from her daughter, Karen, and granddaughter, Allyson. Unfortunately, Laurie’s fears turn out to be justified, as Michael escapes a mental institution during a transfer and makes his return to Haddonfield to continue his killing spree. Now Laurie sets out to fulfill her goal of ending Michael’s life once and for all, while simultaneously protecting her family from his carnage.

“Halloween” (2018) can be described as a complete love letter to the first film, using familiar music cues, camera angles, and even the exact same credits font. Getting rid of the complicated plot the sequels created allows the movie to just be a simplistic exercise in terror, which allows new audiences who may not even have seen a “Halloween” film before to enjoy it as much as a long time fan would. The film does a brilliant job of keeping the viewer scared of when Michael may appear, having him subtly show up in the background without even having the camera focus on him. The anticipation of the scare is more thrilling than the scare itself, which is expertly captured by the pacing and lack of music in certain scenes. The film also does a great job of incorporating Laurie Strode into the film without overusing her, allowing other characters to be developed.

While “Halloween” (2018) pays tribute to the first film in many awesome ways, there are some elements that seem a bit too familiar. For example, the character of Allyson behaves rather similarly to how Laurie was 40 years ago, which makes sense, but it would’ve been nice to see some different character traits from her. Also, there is a psychiatrist character, Dr. Sartain, who is almost an exact copy of Dr. Loomis from the first film. Lastly, while not to the extent of Rob Zombie’s “Halloween”, the gore featured is a bit excessive and unrealistic in a few scenes.

It’s safe to say that he new “Halloween” is a success. The film showcases what people love about the 1978 classic while still having a unique identity. This is said to be the finale of the series, and hopefully it stays that way, because this is a great send-off to a fantastic piece of horror cinema.

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