With a new Halloween in theaters I decided to sit through every film in the venerable franchise…so you don’t have to. Michael Myers (aka The Shape, The Boogeyman) first donned his William Shatner mask (turned inside out by the way) in 1978 and now 40 years later I spent two weeks hanging with the slasher that wouldn’t die.
The granddaddy of them all and always worth a look at this time of year. Interviewed recently about her experience, Jamie Lee Curtis admitted she didn’t remember any stories about the experience because during filming she was high on Qualudes. It was fun to take a fresh look at a film I’ve watched 20 times just to see if I could spot Her Highness. The film remains a classic if only for the countless imitators it inspired.
Michael takes six shots from Dr. Loomis in the first film and gets up off the ground and walks away, headed straight to the Haddonfield Hospital to dispatch Lori Strode and a whole new set of clueless medical practitioners and police who have a whole lot to learn about security measures when your ward hosts a famous victim.
By the time of its release the filmmakers envisioned Halloween as a holiday anthology series but thought better after a lackluster entry that didn’t feature Michael Myers but did feature haunted Halloween masks from Shamrock that instilled a terrorfest in every community not just a small town in Illinois. While the film has its fans, it’s quite a snoozefest and Michael returned for the next installment like a trick or treater who just couldn’t give up the free candy.
HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS/HALLOWEEN 5: THE: REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS
The less said about these two entries the better. There is Donald Pleasance’s participation for comfort, wandering around again warning disbelieving cops and residents to Michael’s continuing existence. By now, however, with the public relations disaster the mental hospital has on their hands you’d think they would have sent more employees to handle the situation. Michael has entered his indestructible phase now taking his cue from Freddy & Jason sequels: there’s too much money to be made to for you to think he’s even got a chance of dying now, even with squads of police staking out the Myers house. With Michael’s young niece now the object of Michael’s pursuit, all her bug-eyed looks in #5 will not have you fearing for her life.
HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS
Really only notable for a young Paul Rudd in the starring role of an amateur detective trying to solve his whereabouts as the holiday approaches, he is as effective as anyone else who ever pursued him. Not the weakest entry in the series but not recommended either. Michael’s niece is still the pursued.
This movie has nothing to do with water but the title marks the 20th anniversary of John Carpenter’s original vision. Jamie Lee returns to the franchise again, no mention of her previous death needed. She’s in California, principal of a prep school that employs LL Cool J as a security guard so you just know MM will easily be able to defeat the school’s defenses come the holiday. Jamie’s son is a student and after skipping out on a ski trip to party in the closed school with friends he becomes the hunted. By the end you’ve slapped your head a half-dozen times at the stupidity of the characters, wished LL Cool best wishes on the filming of “Deep Blue Sea” the following year, Jamie lee has kidnapped Michael’s dead body AND Chops off his head to be sure he stays dead. But will he really?
Jamie Lee Curtis reappears as Laurie only to be offed in the first fifteen minutes while an internet reality television special takes up the rest of the running time. First we find out it wasn’t Michael who was wearing the mask and lost his head. All those cops and no one ever bothered to check! With cameras placed strategically around the Myers home, disposable wannabe stars are dispatched with so much precision, most people watching the screens either miss them or dismiss the murders as staged.
Rob Zombie’s take on the tale is only for those who prefer their Halloween with more grime, blood, sweat , and decaying Autumn leaves. Delving into Michael’s original backstory after being diagnosed by Malcolm McDowell l (a former Kubreckian droog) , stepping into the Dr. Loomis role, a young Michael kills a classmate and then takes down his entire family on the holiday.
HALLOWEEN 2: 2009
More of the same from Zombie, his gritty take on the original sequel effectively killing the franchise until…
Nine years later, when new filmmakers took over the franchise, ignored everything that had been done since Carpenter’s original and enticed Jamie Lee Curtis back into her original role for a payday and a chance to go full-on Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. This time she’s armed, dangerous and deranged, having prepared herself and her house for the final confrontation. Callbacks to entries in the franchise are plentiful including a great one that had me guffawing after Curtis falls out a window near the end.
HALLOWEEN ? While the filmmakers had discussed doing a new Halloween and Halloween 2 back to back in one long filming, the plan was scrapped when they realized their new Halloween might meet the same fate as some of the flops in the series…and how embarrassing it would be to have the sequel in the can and not be able to show it for another year.
Will Michael live again to terrorize teens, police, and psychiatrists sometime in the future? Uh, Is it Halloween?This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead