Tuesday, 31 October 2017

31 MORE Days, 31 MORE Screams: Day 31 (Halloween H20)

Happy Halloween! Was it a productive day? Did you get any Halloween treats? I have a bunch left over so I'm currently snacking on shit intended to be given to nine year-olds in masks. We gave out Reese's cups. Y'know. The good shit. Of course, as a grown-ass adult I can't go out and get candy from strangers... so instead I watched movies with the horrifying death of human beings as spooky entertainment. John Carpenter's Halloween has become a tradition for me since 2013, and rewatching it today it's just as great. I wrote about it last year as the capstone for this, and yeah. Still good! I hold a fair bit of disdain for Halloween 2, and it doesn't really do much for me beyond being Halloween Part 2: This Time With MORE Grisly Kills! Beyond Halloween 3 I don't really care to go after any of the sequels... save this one. The idea of this one sounded neat enough that I figured I'd give it a spin. A Godzilla 1984 sort of situation that ignores all of that other stuff I don't care about to be a years-later sequel to the original... and I guess by extension Halloween 2 has to be there because it also continues the Laurie Strode plotline. Fine, okay, it's canon. What does the world of Halloween look like 20 years later, its own future update now almost as old as the original was at the time? Join me for one last haunt and we'll find out.

Our opening is gratuitous and a little confusing. There are nods to Dr. Loomis from the first two movies, and I get why he's not back. Donald Pleasence was kind of dead, after all. Michael Myers is going after a nurse for some reason? A nurse who looked after him? Even though he blew up with Michael at the end of Halloween 2? Maybe I misheard the dialogue. Whatever. Point is, two teens and that nurse get killed off right at the beginning. A little extra, but we at least don't see the two teens get it. Hell, we don't even see them threatened. Just, poof. Dead. It's a level of restraint I only remember seeing in the very first Friday the 13th. It's not done quite as well here, but points for bringing it back! Anyway Michael's back and he wants to get Laurie Strode because family ties or whatever. Turns out she's changed her name and moved to California and become headmistress of a private school. Also lil baby Josh Harnett is her teenage son. Okay, this is a neat setting, I'll grant! You got Josh Harnett and his sexy teen pals, the rest of the school going on a trip and thus leaving the place mostly abandoned. It's a novel setting for sure. The first half of the film is trying to set up that slow tension of Michael getting to the school to get his revenge, but it doesn't work quite as well as it did in the original. It might be because they just couldn't wait to get some spooky scary kills in. The first movie had Judith Myers, sure, but that was the only bloody kill of the film. I don't know. What I do know is that Laurie, now going by Keri Tate, is still a mess after the terror of Halloween 1978. Night terrors, heavy drinking, seeing Michael everywhere, being overprotective of her son... the works. Even after two decades the fear never left... and it turns out that she was right to fear.

Again, it's remarkable how this film uses tension and restraint in the right places. There's one real spooky scene with a teen who has his hand in the garbage disposal, and you're expecting Michael to flick it on and puree the hand. It doesn't happen. The kid comes face to face to Michael... and jump cut. Next time we see him, he's dead. It makes up for this by brutalizing his girlfriend in a real painful and grisly way... but we're near the end now. Michael gets one more kill. Three in the school, three in the opening... and three done totally offscreen. What an odd ratio. There's some mirroring of the original, of course. Laurie/Keri telling the teens to "do as I say" before sending them off to safety. Getting the same wound on her arm as she did 20 years ago. This time, though, she's not screaming for help and sobbing in terror. This time she has a goddamn fire axe and she's calling out Michael's name. The final confrontation is quite satisfying, with our Final Girl getting some catharsis out of the walking nightmare before her by slashing at him loads. Even when he's in a body bag, she steals the coroner's van and takes off into the night... and when he revives, she's ready. After crashing the thing, she and Michael touch fingers for one brief shining moment before she decapitates him. Quite how in the fuck they brought him back from that I'm not sure, since in nixing the sequels they also got rid of that... Celtic curse stuff? Is that right? In the end, Halloween H20 is okay. A little exploitative in places, but able to show real restraint in others... and Laurie Strode getting her revenge is pretty great! It's fine. That, then, puts a wrap on another Halloween marathon. We've had 31 more screams, and there might be 31 more on the horizon. I hear they're plotting out another Halloween film with Jamie Lee Curtis in it for the 40th anniversary of the first one, so maybe that'll be around in time for me to cap off things next year. In any case, thanks for joining in on the spooky season.

Now for the real terror; 50,000 fiction words in one month. Pray for me, kids. It's NaNoWriMo time.

No comments:

Post a Comment