Halloween Kills: A Classic Horror Rewritten

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Thumbnail Drawn and Edited by Mackenzie Casper

Mackenzie Casper, Graphic Artist

CREEP. SLASH. SCREAM! The ultimate perfect recipe for a Grade A slasher movie that will be remembered in the books as a classic; a film that will rock the world through the usage of a common and now heavily utilized plot tactic. The very concept of slasher films easily kickstarted an explosive and widespread reaction from horror fans around the globe, quickly becoming one of the most loved horror subcategories with memorable faces, terrifying scenes, and gruesome imagery that painted the cinema with gore! Today, however, we dive back to the very beginnings of slashers, which starts with one of the most well known horror series of all time; Halloween. 

With its first movie premiering in the late year of 1978, John Carpenter released the first movie that would branch into an expansive series with iconic characters such as Laurie Strode and Doctor Loomis, a soundtrack that would become instantly recognizable, and even create alternative timelines, morphing the main story with each remake of the series. With the most recent remakes of the series, two movies have been released; “Halloween” (2018) and “Halloween Kills” (2021). Being a fan of Michael Myers since the age of 10, I will be reviewing the latter film, being released on October 15th, 2021! Here we go!

Before we begin, here is your one and only caution sign; Massive Spoiler Warning! Please do not read until you have watched the movie yourself (unless you want to be spoiled, I suppose, but where’s the fun in that?). 

Now, starting off with the negatives for a change; Being completely honest, this film did not completely outshine the Halloween remake in 2018. The story change really set me off overall in this timeline, especially how Laurie Strode is no longer Michael’s younger sister, making it confusing on why Michael pursues her after decades separating the original attack in 1978. It has taken a bit getting used to the new characters as well, as having Laurie’s daughter be Karen Nelson instead of the classic brunette girl, Jamie Lloyd, was a bit shell shocking.

To pinpoint an issue, however, the primary problem with this movie was the pacing. While the beginning scenes featuring Michael escaping the depths of Laurie’s boobytrapped basement and completely obliterating the surrounding first responders was nothing short of absolutely legendary, the following middle portions of the movie felt empty. Both Halloween and Halloween Kills struggled with trying to balance gruesome horrific scenes and comprehensible character introduction, Halloween more so than Halloween Kills, but the problem still remains a bit in Halloween Kills. I found some scenes to be a bit forgettable, primarily the scenes of children messing with the men who live in Michael’s old house and the hospital scene where the escaped mental patient commits suicide. Some scenes felt like they were more about filling up time rather than displaying what Michael was doing and the consequences that accompanied his actions. The scenes where Michael’s unmerciful nature truly shined through, particularly the scene involving him and the swinging children and the scene near the beginning involving him breaking into the elderly couple’s home, were phenomenal. So, in short, the moments involving Michael and his brutality were the ones that made the movie shine, but these moments were unfortunately far between each other. 

Moving into the analysis of better parts of the film, I have to say that the details involved in this movie were amazing! Going back after watching Halloween Kills twice, I rewatched the Halloween remake that was released in 2018, and began to quickly make connections back to the new film. For example, you can see Marcus and Vanessa preparing to enter their car to go to the Halloween talent show located at The Rusty Nail in Halloween as Michael begins walking down the street, as well as featuring the dead characters that were killed in the previous movie. The dramatic scenery within the movie was nothing short of spectacular as well. Many of Michael’s primary kill scenes were insanely gruesome, especially how he still shows the habit of arranging bodies in poses and positions- it strongly lets his true character shine through by the small details he puts into his “work”. Another aspect that shined through both in Halloween and Halloween Kills was the soundtrack. The soundtrack was produced by both John Carpenter and his son Cody Carpenter, which alone is a brilliant thing due to the father-and-son producing partner aspect, and the classic theme song is introduced as well, with even more instruments and a choir to invoke a deep sense of dread in many of the songs, making scenes in the movie even MORE haunting. It’s absolutely amazing! 

In closing, it is easy to say that I loved this film, even though I, like many others, are still adjusting a bit due to the heavily changed storyline. It feels refreshing seeing Michael interacting with others in a more modern setting, as the introduction of many safety nets that weren’t available in the 70s and 80s like smartphones and advanced technology overall, makes for an excellent addition to the difficulty of Michael’s killing sprees. If I had to give a number rating, it would easily sit at a 7/10. Seeing the quality that is capable of coming from these new modernized films is exhilarating, and makes me VERY excited for the next, and potentially last, Halloween film, which is titled “Halloween Ends”, projected to be released in October of 2022!

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