HOLLYWOOD─We’ve talked about classic horror villains Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and now it’s time: we have saved the best for last: Michael Myers. During this quarantine, I have been having what I call weekly horror movie marathons, indulging in the classics that I consider entertaining. What is it about Michael Myers and the “Halloween” franchise that makes it so terrifying? Its simplicity people! Who knew while watching these classics, that AMC would air the proverbial flick that defined the horror genre as I call it on TV?
John Carpenter’s “Halloween” which was released in 1978 is horror at its best and it is indeed one of my favorite movies of all time. I seriously could watch this movie every week and never get tired of it. The music sends chills down the spine, the story simple yet exciting, the villain is iconic and Jamie Lee Curtis delivers a heroine that fights to the finish people. Oh, and the ending of “Halloween” one of the best to this date. It ends on such a massive cliffhanger that rarely has a movie of this genre lived up those standards.
Carpenter delivered a villain in Michael Myers who is dangerous, calculating and just terrifying. In case you have NOT seen the original, Myers was stalking Laurie Strode (Curtis) since the start of the movie. He had countless opportunities to go after her, but patiently waited to strike people. “Halloween” relies on suspense and not over the top violence to draw the viewer in. Horror today is defined by violence, but this flick relied on tension and actual scares and music to send chills. Oh, and we cannot forget the fantastic Donald Pleasance as Dr. Samuel Loomis; the man doing all in his power to stop Myers from his reign of terror. Some of the dialogue from Loomis in that movie is classic, “This isn’t a man.”
It’s 1981 sequel, “Halloween II” made a connection between Laurie and Michael by making them siblings. While workable, it’s not terrible. The sequel just made me wonder are hospitals ALWAYS that empty at night. With that said, we immediately skip the third installment that had NOTHING to do with Michael Myers and move to “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.” This is a great sequel and it was my first introduction to horror at the tender age of 4. How ironic right? Michael Myers is the reason I’ve been a fan of the horror genre. I was scared senseless by the movie, yet intrigued at the same time if that makes any sense people.
Michael returns to Haddonfield after being in a coma for 10 years to stalk his niece and we see a node in horror where children are targets and how that innocence of a child can be threatened. Solid chills, not to mention a great rooftop chase scene that is iconic people. “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers” is a mixed bag. It reckons into a world were a mysterious figure in black assists Michael Myers and there is a bit of silliness that just doesn’t fully deliver the scares that I wanted after the success of the fifth chapter.
“Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” is actually an underrated gem in the franchise because you have the regular version and the uncut version. The regular version has loose ends, where the uncut version explains things in a bit more detail with Michael Myers and the mysterious cult realm attempting to explain his reason for evil. Also it’s the final appearance by the late great, Donald Pleasance. Twenty years after the original we get “Halloween: H20” which was to be the end of the franchise with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode as she does battle with Michael Myers culminating with his head being chopped off. Not the end people and this movie is mixed because the body count is a bit low and the seclusion of the climax is underwhelming. It’s important to note, this is the first time and only time Michael Myers ventured away from Haddonfield people!
Since the flick did big business at the box-office, we saw the sequel “Halloween: Resurrection” which had a fantastic idea that completely crashed and burned. Why? The writers didn’t do more with the idea of utilizing the internet to make Michael Myers a threatening presence and utilize this notion of people staying in the childhood home of a serial killer more alluring. Skip this movie people. With remakes in full force in the 2000s, 2007 saw Rob Zombie tackle his telling of the character and Carpenter’s classic. Now I will admit, at the time I thought this was a decent remake of all the horror remakes that were being made at the time. It had solid scares; we finally had a Myers who looked close to that iconic mask in the original.
The 2009 sequel, “Halloween II” is one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen. It made absolutely no sense and was just stupid. The White Horse, the brutal level violence, it just was lackluster people. I mean it opened strong, but went downhill from there. It would be another 10 years before the 40th anniversary of the series delivers the best sequel since the original with the 2018 version of “Halloween.” This entry delivered a clean slate in the franchise ignoring all the other flicks in the franchise and bringing the character of Laurie Strode (Curtis) back who died in “Halloween: Resurrection” people.
This movie was solid; it showcased how trauma can impact one’s life and tied up some slight loose ends with the original delivering some solid scares and a satisfying conclusion. I will admit the new ‘Loomis’ subplot was a miss and could have been scraped from the movie if you ask me. The success of that movie is the result of two more sequels that are slated to end the franchise. We have the forthcoming “Halloween Kills” which is slated for release on October 16, 2020 and “Halloween Ends” slated for release in 2021 (it could be delayed because of the pandemic people).
The tease we’ve seen so far for “Kills” looks fantastic and the title alone sends a clear message that Michael Myers might be out for a bit of blood, hence what “The Revenge of Michael Myers” should have given audiences. I’ll be honest there is NOT a single horror villain that comes close to trumping Michael Myers when it comes to top-notch scares, thrills and enthralling narrative. You might want to keep the lights on when watching the 1978 version. All in all, skip “Halloween: Season of the Witch,” “Halloween: Resurrection” and “Halloween II (2009). The rest are worth watching for a great scare people!