The new “Halloween” is finally here. Is it the perfect homecoming for The Shape? Our staff heads to the theater to see if it lives up to the hype.
Like most genre fans, the new Halloween was my most anticipated horror film of the year — actually my most anticipated horror film for as long as I can remember. I had the tremendous fortune to catch the US premiere at Fantastic Fest, surrounded by a crowd of die-hard movie fans and genre junkies. The energy and enthusiasm was palpable. The audience laugh, clapped, gasped, and cheered in all the right places.
It was a communal experience of shared cinematic joy — the culmination of 40 years of fandom and a very healthy obsession for the film that first made so many of us lifelong horror fans. We shared a mix of giddy anticipation and elation at The Shape’s long awaited theatrical return, as well as heavy dose of anxiety. What if they screwed it up? What if it was a huge letdown? What if it failed to do justice to the franchise we all revered?
As you can tell from reading my Fantastic Fest review, it was everything I wanted it to be. For me, it was the perfect homage to my favorite horror film of all time and the perfect reboot of a franchise that has certainly seen its share of ups and downs — a franchise that will forever hold a very special place in my heart.
But, as to be expected, not everyone experienced the same level of nostalgia-fueled euphoria at Michael’s rebirth. The Morbidly Beautiful writing staff headed out on opening weekend to see if the Haddonfield Homecoming was worth the considerable hype or just another unsatisfying sequel failing to rekindle the original 1978 magic.
Like the rest of the horror community, our team was pretty split on how much they loved Halloween or felt let down by it. Check out these seven very different takes from our writers in a segment we call Morbid Minis. (Angry Princess)
TAKE ONE: RETURN TO GLORY
Written by Patrick Krause
I’m going to cut right to the chase. The most confounding thing about the entire HALLOWEEN series will be addressed immediately. The one thing each sequel could never seem to get quite right about The Shape: the William Shatner mask. Be assured, Blumhouse Productions and crew have nailed the look of the mask.
But did director David Gordon Green and writers Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley bring HALLOWEEN back to its slasher glory after so many subpar sequels? In short, the answer is “yes.”
If you’ve been following the news about HALLOWEEN 2018, you know the basic plot. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is a survivalist, hunkered down in her compound waiting for the day Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle) returns so she can hunt him down and kill him. Laurie, in the years since the 1978 murders, has alienated her only daughter, Karen (Judy Greer) due to her paranoid and obsessive behavior regarding Michael.
Of course, 40 years after the babysitter murders, Michael does indeed escape while being transferred from a psychiatric facility to a prison. Filling in the Loomis part is Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), who not only has an obsession with keeping Michael locked away but with discovering the root of Michael’s evil and need to kill. Dr. Sartain may seem like he’s just a Dr. Loomis placeholder, but there’s much more to him than meets the eye.
HALLOWEEN 2018 is a return to form for the character of Michael Myers. Freed of the familial connection to the Strodes and the Cult of Thorn, Michael is again The Shape — A boogeyman who is empty of anything that remotely resembles human emotions and only capable of pure evil.
Laurie takes control of the narrative in HALLOWEEN 2018. More hunter than hunted, this iteration of Laurie Strode is a far cry from the barely there character in HALLOWEEN II and the fearful alcoholic in HALLOWEEN: H2O. In this sequel/reboot, Laurie Strode is a kind of Captain Ahab and Michael is her white whale. Like Ahab, Laurie will sacrifice everything and anyone to claim her prize.
HALLOWEEN 2018 gives fans what they have long wanted in the franchise. The body count is high and the scares are genuine. The Shape is back menacing babysitters and teens on Halloween night, and Laurie is the final girl we want to cheer as she seeks retribution and peace of mind.
TAKE TWO: CONFIDENCE IS EVERYTHING
Written by Glenn Strange
Last night I saw Michael Myers return home. Like all trips home, this trip was spurred on by the past. By memories of home and the people who live there. Or, should I say person. Michael’s returning for Laurie Strode. Laurie has been preparing for Michael’s return. She’s laid out a spread of firearms, traps and tactical gear. Like all trips home, this one will hurt. A lot.
I’m a huge fan of the original Halloween (1978) and was extremely excited to witness this reunion. Like all reunions, this one was awkward. Some things worked, some things didn’t. More often than not, the film seemed to self-consciously fumble under the critical gaze of the audience. I enjoyed Halloween (2018). I just wish it had more confidence in its execution.
TAKE THREE: A LOVE LETTER NOT ADDRESSED TO ME
Written by Nightmare Maven
The best thing that this new Halloween installment has going for it is the Strode ladies. I loved their strength, especially from Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), obviously. Laurie’s granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), also was a great example of a strong character that doesn’t need saving…at least from a man. Without giving too much away, the final battle between Laurie, Karen (Judy Greer), and Allyson will have you standing on your seat and screaming “You go, girls!”
Unfortunately, not a lot of time is given to the strong Strode women. The film wastes a lot of time with the podcast crew trying to figure out what makes Michael tick, as if we haven’t already established that he is evil incarnate. I also felt that many of the film’s best scares were given away in the trailers, so I found myself bored through most of the film.
Overall, Halloween (2018) was made for mega-fans of the Halloween franchise; this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I recommend the movie to fans of the franchise, but if you’re like me – a 90s baby with no nostalgic connection to Michael Myers – you may not enjoy this one.
TAKE FOUR: NOT A PERFECT FILM, BUT A PERFECT TREAT FOR SUPER FANS
Written by Josh Ludwick
After all the rumors and disclaimers, I finally got to see the new Halloween for myself. I thought the previews were going to ruin the movie for me. I kept thinking I would be able to put the movie together based on commercials. I was 100% incorrect.
The movie kept hitting the brakes and gas at varied speeds which made the movie unpredictable. The new movie had enough Easter eggs to keep super fans engaged. It also presents a Michael Myers like the viewers have never seen before. Unlike the original, this one also has a more gore.
The new movie was not flawless. I wish it would have paid more attention to the 40 year gap between encounters.
I still believe it was a mistake to ignore all the other movies from the series except the first Halloween. The 2018 version of the movie does a good job of catching first timers up on the original story, clearing up fallacies, and introducing their new storyline.
Of the 11 movies, I’m gonna rank this one in the number 4 spot. I’m putting it right behind the original, part 2, and H20.
The new movie has a good mix of humor, suspense, and Michael. I give the new movie 4 out of 5 scary pumpkins.
TAKE FIVE: A NEW GENERATION OF TERROR (AND GIRL POWER)
Written by Jackie Ruth
The new Halloween movie is a great addition to the franchise (despite the fact that it only acknowledges the original 1978 film itself). Because it’s a horror movie in 2018, and because it has a higher budget, it seems far more violent and gory than the original. That was the hardest thing to get used to about it. Yes, Michael Myers is a serial killer and that is inherently violent, but actually seeing his destruction was something else.
There are two outstandingly great things about the new film: One is the frequent use of callbacks to the 1978 Halloween; the other is the three generations of Strode women (Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer and Andi Matichak).
Every scene with a callback was something you may or may not have seen coming, but you could just feel the energy and excitement in the crowd as it was revealed. And as for the Strode women? Badasses, all of ‘em.
It’s hard to say that 2018’s Halloween will become a classic, but it could definitely be a great movie for franchise fans to watch repeatedly. It’s also great to have a modern take on the Michael Myers lore that might be easier and more relatable for younger horror fans to get into — sort of an easier introduction to the series (after the original, of course). I’d recommend it for anyone who is even remotely interested in this iteration or the franchise as a whole.
TAKE SIX: A PLEASANT SURPRISE
Written by Todd Reed
I love the Halloween movies. While Michael Myers is not my favorite slasher big bad (that will always be you, Freddy Krueger), the 1978 Halloween movie left a definitive imprint on me, and the way I viewed horror films.
I love the first two movies, well, the first three. Halloween III: Season of the Witch may be absent Michael Meyers, but it’s a solid horror film. The rest of the original sequels are a hot mess. There are moments of wonderfulness, but it’s a mixed up mess of Druid mythology, fractured family lines, and rebooted timelines.
For me, personally, I don’t believe in the “big evil” however you want to describe it, but I do believe in the evil that men do, and Michael Myers as a soulless – but human – killer is plenty scary for me. That’s one of the main reason I enjoyed Rob Zombie’s 2007 reboot of the franchise (the sequel not so much). I like learning more about Michael’s back story. I liked knowing more about the man behind the mask.
When I heard they were once again rebooting the series, this time written by Danny McBride and directed by David Allen Green, I had my doubts. Could a writer and a director known for comedy do the film justice? Then I heard everything after the first movie was being ignored (again). It gave me a little hope, but I was still leery. Jamie Lee back? John Carpenter involved? A little more hope yet.
After catching the movie in an early screening on Thursday night, I can happily say I was pleased with the movie.
It’s a bit uneven and some of the humor is forced, but overall, I loved the concept. I liked that once again Michael (Nick Castle) is just a sociopathic killer. I loved they way they handled the death scenes. I loved seeing how the events of the original Halloween night have affected Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her family. But what I loved most was of all was watching three generations of strong women (Curtis, Judy Greer, and Andi Matichak) kick ass.
While I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see Michael on screen, if it is, it’s a fitting ending to the Michael Myers / Laurie Strode storyline.
TAKE SEVEN: MORE THAN A MOVIE…A CELEBRATION OF HORROR
Written by Danni Darko
Horror fans have been waiting for a film like Halloween. A film that pays tribute to one of the most revered horror films ever, a film that has been accepted by the Master Carpenter himself, a film that unites die hard genre fans with those that enjoy tiptoeing into the terror that some of us call home.
I work at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and I love my fucking job. I get paid to help usher the awesome experiences of movie goers, and quite honestly sometimes it overwhelms me how incredible all of this can be. I was excited to play host to a variety of fans, and having Mondo as well as “Birth. Movies. Death.” offer a stellar selection of wares for the release, it heightened the level of pride. The pride for my beloved genre, the pride for my place of employment for embracing all of this.
I have seen so much this weekend. Dates, family outings, Michael Myers costumes, folks just wanting a good scare…..everyone has come out to see Halloween. But horror fans are also notoriously fickle. We are hard to please, know the genre well that we have followed since childhood, and are skeptical of any new interpretations.
All weekend I have worked sold out screenings of David Gordon Green’s latest installment into the saga of The Shape. To see generations of horror fans come out together to celebrate the icon known as Michael Myers….well it has left me a bit speechless and incredibly happy.
Blumhouse, yet again, has proved that horror can bring in big bucks at the Box Office. But as fans, that is not what we look for. We want a level of respect paid to one of our favorites. We want The Shape to remain silently terrifying, steadfastly staying true to what we hold dear within Carpenter’s original 1978 vision. And you know what, this flick came as close as it could to do the original justice.
I think there are quite a few folks holding an unnecessary grudge towards this latest, thoughtful continuation of the Myers timeline. The new Halloween is far from perfect but hits home in all the right places, I feel. Weaving in a well-balanced blend of comedy, violence and homages to the classic, Green’s film definitely presents an entertaining watch.
It was a watch a fuck ton have been waiting for, nearly matching the opening weekend numbers of Venom (a fucking Marvel movie!) and proving no doubt that horror is a genre to be reckoned with, especially after the successes of Hereditary and IT.