Fans of the Halloween franchise love to hate RESURRECTION…but does it really deserve its bad reputation?
Genre fans are the most passionate and loyal group of people in the world. But when horror fans don’t like something, they really let it be known to anyone who will listen. Now, some have valid points for their opinion. Plus, with they way social media is these days, no longer do you have to watch movie reviews on TV or read about it online… EVERYONE is now a critic for any type of media. It’s almost common place to bash things before they released, during their release and after their release. Case in point is the defendant in question here, HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION.
People really hated this movie — typically nothing but pure venom for this entry in the Myers saga. Released in the Summer of 2002, HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION was the scorn of the franchise (and still is in some circles) for a long time. Of course, there are valid points for their issues with the film (Busta Rhymes doing Kung Fu is a major gripe). But there are actually quite a few redeeming factors that make this one of the most fun and entertaining chapters in the never ending story of The Shape.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury I will present evidence…IN DEFENSE OF HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION.
Exhibit A-The Shape is Scary Again
Say what will about some of the more ridiculous scenes in the movie. The one major thing the filmmakers got right was making Michael Myers scary again. Yes, The Shape was pretty rad in the excellent HALLOWEEN:H20… but he wasn’t a true menace or the powerful force he is in this sequel. In this entry, Myers is in full Shape Mode, doing what he does best…Slicing and Dicing. Michael Myers is back to stalking and hiding in the shadows once again, preying on intruders in HIS house. Sadly, this would be the last time that we would have a normal sized and scary Shape, as the remake took a whole different direction. Brad Loree deserves to be in the same conversation with Nick Castle and Dick Warlock as one of the best actors to don the mask and overalls.
Exhibit B-The Mask
OK, let’s get this out of the way now. After the first 2 films, the mask has been a major gripe that fans have been bitching about for nearly 3 decades. Seriously, the mask in H20 changes no less than 3 times during the movie. In fact, one time it’s actually CGI…I shit you not. Thankfully, the special effects team got the mask spot on! It is the closest to the original Shatner mask, and it is the same throughout the film. Why this was such an issue with the previous films is beyond me. The mask takes on a life of its own in HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION, and it looks angry and extremely intimidating.
Exhibit C-Higher Body Count
As much as people heap praise on H20 (and rightfully so, it’s an excellent sequel), it has a low body count. Fans were disappointed that the last movie didn’t deliver the gory goods and a higher body count. Luckily, the filmmakers completely remedied that issue in HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION. This movie has one of the highest (if not the highest) body counts in the original series of movies. The Shape is like a fat rat in a cheese factory with the amount of young adults that intrude on HIS turf. The carnage takes a bit to get to. But, once it does, it comes fast and furious. We are rooting for The Shape to dispatch these kids, and he definitely delivers in spades.
Exhibit D-Busta Rhymes
That’s right! The one major issue you all have with this movie is also one of it’s greatest strengths. Yes, the Kung Fu bullshit is just that…Bullshit. Trying to re-enact THE LAST DRAGON aside, Busta has one major character trait missing from the franchise. He is fearless. He goes face to face with The Shape and lived to tell about it. Never once is he scared of Michael, something none of the other heroes from the franchise can claim. He even gets a humorous scene with The Shape as both are wearing identical gear. Busta Rhymes may have just been stunt casting by the studio to bring in a new audience (and it did work with LL Cool J), but for the most part he nails his role. And just think that in the proposed 9th film it was rumored that rapper/actor Ja Rule was in “heavy talks” to star in that film. I’d say that’s a definite bullet dodged.
Exhibit E-The Opening Sequence
HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION is so hated, but it has one of the strongest openings since the original movie. The asylum looks like a depressing place, regardless of the bright lighting. It also features plenty of horror movie tropes. It’s night time, the heroine is already anticipating the monster, you have 2 inept guards and one patient that knows everything about serial killers (including The Shape). It’s a great opening scene that is really effective in one major way…
Exhibit F-The Death of Laurie Strode
When Jamie Lee Curtis returned to the franchise that launched her career, it was understood that it was a one off deal. There wasn’t supposed to be another sequel after H20. However, box office receipts and the fans showing their undying support for The Shape had the execs at Disney (that’s right, Disney owned Michael Myers while they had Dimension Films under their umbrella) scrambling to make a new HALLOWEEN feature film.
The script was written under it’s original title HALLOWEEN HOMECOMING, without that opening scene. Reportedly, someone passed the script off to Jamie Lee Curtis, and she really liked what she read — so much so, she wanted to be in the movie. She liked how they explained Michael’s “resurrection” in the movie and decided to give Laurie Strode her swan song. Now almost everyone loves this scene as this final act in the Brother vs Sister saga of the HALLOWEEN franchise. Laurie Strode once again took on The Boogeyman and lost. That’s right, Michael finally dispatches of the one true thorn (no pun intended) in his side. Laurie goes out in a blaze of glory, and her last words are still chilling to her deranged big brother.
Exhibit G-Technology and Reality Entertainment
Another gripe about this movie is its use of technology and the focus on reality entertainment. While reality based entertainment was nothing new in 2002, it was becoming a bigger force of nature, thanks in part to MTV’s THE REAL WORLD and THE OSBOURNES. People could not get enough of what they perceived to be real people in everyday real situations. Hate to break it to you all, but a good chunk of you know that “Reality TV” is indeed scripted to a point. As for technology, remember this was still in the early days of the internet. Technology was evolving at a rapid pace. People could not get enough of being online. In fact, shortly after the release of this film, the social media boom happened when MySpace (remember that?) became the main platform — just before Facebook took over as the Social Media King.
So why, when people are crazy about both technology and reality shows, did they have a problem with a horror movie that gave them both? I think the answer lies in the old school roots of HALLOWEEN. The original is viewed as a classic (and rightfully so) for it’s minimal use of gore, clever use of camera angles and it’s iconic score. Horror movies have always stayed current with the times and have always served as a commentary of such things. Don’t believe me? Go back and watch any of Romero’s Dead films and tell me they aren’t a play on what was going on at the time. The use of technology (while aged now…Palm Pilot anyone?) is one of the film’s strongest points.
For once, we see things from the characters points of view, and it makes for a unique viewing experience. Factor in the Dangertainment, the online reality show the characters are on, and you get a definite sense of what was on the cusp of being normal now. Seriously, think about this…how many shows now offer a “second screen” viewing experience, where you can chat with other fans of the program you’re watching? Or better yet, how many people post things on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. over everything they watch? So why hate it when a horror movie is utilizing something that we do in our everyday lives?
Exhibit H-Fun and Humor
HALLOWEEN is a legitimataly scary movie! It does have bits of humor as a palate cleanser. But for the most part, it is a balls out scary movie. As the franchise went on, the movies got less fun and became unintentionally humorous. While horror comedies have always been around, this particular franchise wasn’t known for being funny. SCREAM changed a lot of that. And, while HALLOWEEN was an obvious inspiration for that film, SCREAM helped revitalize the HALLOWEEN franchise. Notice how H20 not only is infinitely better than 4, 5 and 6…it also has a pulse. The kids are relatable, the movie has many funny scenes, and people loved it. So why did they hate it when it comes to HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION?
That’s a tough one to answer. My guess is, after that stellar opening, the audience figured that would set the tone for the movie. However, what they got was a movie that had an even bigger pulse than the last film. Seriously, out of all the Myers films, this is hands down the most fun of the franchise. The humor in the film only helps to make it a truly fun ride for the audience. One thing you can notice when watching the movie is that everyone is clearly having a good time in this movie. The actors all legitimately give it their all, and they are enjoying playing these characters. When that type of fun can be felt while viewing the movie, it makes for a better experience.
Exhibit I-Gore, Gore, Gore
As stated before, HALLOWEEN was a film that never uses gore to scare the audience. It was more sleight of hand from a master magician. However as the years went on, audiences demanded carnage candy from their slashers. Naturally, the series needed to stay relevant. Thus, as the sequels went on, more and more gore was added. But H20 surprisingly took a step back in the gore department, slightly returning to the franchise roots. Naturally, when you are the eighth film in an unintended franchise, you need to stand on your own 2 feet and make yourself standout. The gore was ramped up HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION — sometimes to unbelievable levels (the kitchen knife decapitation is a bit unbelievable) — but it definitely brings the goods!
THE FINAL EXHIBIT-No Thorns Here
Thankfully, H20 ditched the ridiculous Thorn storyline started in HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS, bringing Michael back to his psychopathic roots. Even more thankfully, the filmmakers also opted of that ridiculous storyline and decided to keep it canon with the original film, Halloween 2 and H20. I know a lot of you out there actually dig the whole Thorn mythology and the movies that came from it, because you are real HALLOWEEN fans. However, it is a confusing and cheap cop out to try and explain Michael’s actions and behavior.
To quote SCREAM, “Isn’t it scarier without a motive?” Seriously, the Thorn was a ridiculous plot device used in 3 really bad sequels. That might actually be why fans hate HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION so much…it doesn’t continue on that storyline and instead goes back to basics. Even Rob Zombie’s clusterfuck of a remake and sequel don’t even mention the Thorn mythology at all. Why? Because it makes absolutely no sense to explain why Michael Myers is who he is. He’s just a force of nature that exists.
In conclusion, I feel as though I have given you enough evidence that proves HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION is not the worst film in the HALLOWEEN saga. That distinction belongs to 5 movies that had no business being made in the first place (and, no, the excellent HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH is not one of those 5). There are plenty of reasons to hate this film, but I’ve given you some reasons to see it again with new eyes and an open mind. It is a seriously fun and energetic movie that should be watched with a group of friends.
THE DEFENSE RESTS.