October 18, 2021

Random Musings: Halloween Kills

Michael Myers is on a rampage in Halloween Kills, the (unsurprisingly divisive) latest entry in the long-running Halloween franchise. Of course, such a jam-packed film evokes more thoughts that could fill a page, so below are some thoughts I had that didn’t fit into my review — and keep in mind, there are major spoilers ahead.

  • I didn’t expect the opening (and then recurring) flashbacks to the events of 1978’s Halloween to be some of my favorite points of the film, but here we are. I appreciated that we got some background on Hawkins, as he was one of the more underdeveloped characters in Halloween 2018 and we finally learned how he and Laurie share a connection. Also — props to them for pulling off a 1978 Dr. Loomis without using CGI…the actor, Tom Jones Jr., does an excellent Donald Pleasance.
  • I hated that Laurie was stuck in the hospital the entire movie, without even a Halloween II-esque hospital facedown with Michael. Granted, she sustained major wounds in the last film so she realistically needs lots of time to recover, but it’s a shame that one of the franchise’s best characters is left without too much to do aside from expositing about her relationship with Hawkins.
  • However, this gave Judy Greer’s Karen a much-needed opportunity to shine. She finally gets her chance near the end…only for it to backfire and culminate in her death, which may or may not have happened. Maybe she’ll be back in some respect in Halloween Ends.
  • The first time I saw Halloween Kills, I was lucky enough to be in a packed theater with lots of audience participation. They “oooh!”ed and “noooo!”ed at all the right moments, and I think that’s the primary reason I liked this movie as much as I did when I first saw it. Audience interaction can make or break a viewing experience, and I’m happy to say it enhanced my time with Halloween Kills.
  • Even though they don’t do too much, it was great to see returning characters like Marion Crane and Lindsey Wallace. It brings about an interconnectedness that cements this new trilogy as distinct from all the 80s and 90s sequels that got more and more ridiculous as they went on.
  • The subplot with the other escaped mental patient (who looks nothing like Michael Myers in any way, shape or form) is where the movie tries to emphasize its main message, in the form of the angry mob attempting to kill the man without much evidence as to who he is. It reminded me of the January 6 insurrection, in some ways, and the fact that the escaped patient is put in such a scenario that drives him to suicide is just plain sad, and makes the scene even more upsetting.
  • Halloween Kills attempts to further dehumanize Michael Myers, in such a way that Laurie claims that ‘every kill gives him more strength.’ This might work if it wasn’t done in the same film (and even the same scene) where they attempt to give Michael some sympathy as well. Frank Hawkins tells Laurie that Michael wants to look out his sister’s window, not to look outward, but to look inward. The dual characterization doesn’t really work, and I wish the movie stayed in one lane.
  • This comes around the same time we hear someone say (for the forty millionth time in this franchise) that “Michael is not a man, he’s a monster” and “he can’t be reasoned with.” We’ve heard it so many times that the franchise is just hammering us over the head with it at this point.
  • A high point for me the first time was the cinematography, and the way Michael was shot. Even though we got the obligatory shadowed look at his true face, the mystery is maintained and he stays as the Boogeyman. It was much less remarkable on my second viewing, but I maintain that the shooting style is akin to the original with a more modern take, and it still emphasizes the superhuman aspect of our killer…which apparently this movie wasn’t sure of its stance on.
  • I am still conflicted on the ending. Is it real? Why do Karen and Allyson not notice their friends being slain by Michael across the street? Did Karen really die? Did Michael go in the back door? What makes it even more confounding is that the sequel (and supposed “final installment”) Halloween Ends will feature a time jump and address the pandemic, making the ending all the more unclear as to how it will factor into the overall story. The Blu-ray release will feature an extended ending that was cut from the film, and I wonder if it’s the rumored ending where Laurie hears of Karen’s death and disappears from the hospital in a final attempt to kill Michael. There are a lot of unknowns here, but one thing’s for certain: even if Michael supposedly dies for good in Halloween Ends, there will always be a way to bring him back, as long as there’s money to be made.
  • My final thought here is that the soundtrack continues to be one of the best parts of the movie. John Carpenter, along with son Cody Carpenter and collaborator Daniel Davies, have crafted a new score that brings back original themes while also contributing unique pieces of music. I love listening to this soundtrack on its own, and it is now my favorite score of the entire soundtrack (face it, what piece from the 1978 soundtrack is distinctive aside from the main theme?).

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