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The Shape

The Halloween Cycle

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Hello everyone, so this year I'm going to talk about a franchise that I have had an unfairly low opinion on for many years. The Halloween franchise. This is in part due to the new Halloween movie coming out next month but also from a growing intreast in the movies earlier this year despite not having known of the new film until the last month or two.

I will say that I wont be posting anything new here for about two weeks as I'll be away however once I'm back I'll be buying every single Halloween movie, bar 3 as it has no real ties the main reason I want talk about these films. The Shape aka Michael Myers. This will be a little different from my "Many Lives of Jason Voorhees" series as during that topic my discussion was about Jason and how his character and look changed over time along with talking about his movies in brief. Despite their similarities Michael makes for a very different beast to discuss. This is in part due to the fact that Micheal is the original slasher villain and Halloween the first true movie of the genre. We'll look at not only Michael's character but also how this series differed from what came befor, the genre it spawned and how that genre would affect the franchise as time went on among other things. We'll also look at the new film when it comes out.

So to give us a list of what we'll be looking at:

  1. Halloween (1978)
  2. Halloween 2 (1981)
  3. Halloween 4 - The Return of Michael Myers
  4. Halloween 5 - The Revenge of Michael Myers
  5. Halloween 6 - The Curse of Michael Myers
  6. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
  7. Halloween: Resurrection
  8. Halloween (2007)
  9. Halloween 2 (2008)
  10. Halloween (2018)

I'll see you all again in October.

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Edited by The Shape

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Right so I'm back a day early, I've had about... 4 hours sleep and I'm doing this :). On my time away I thought on how to approach this subject and I came to the conclusion that befor we even touch the series we need to have a look at what came before.

Prologue - A Time of Change and the Proto-Slashers

The 60's was a real era of change for horror films in a lot of ways. They became more gritty and depraved with a greater emphasis on gore and violence. The horror film era prior is often thought of, wrongly in my opinion, as ruled by monsters and men in rubber suits. To be clear this is not totally untrue, as of the 30's horror's icons were mostly all monsters. The classic monsters who haunt both page and screen even to this day. Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolfman, King Kong etc with new ones coming about even into the 50's with Godzilla and The Fly. By the late 50's some of the monsters were being brought back to the silver screen thanks to Hammer Studios.

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However I am always quick to point out that there were many great, non-monster themed horrors of these days to. One that I had the pleasure of watching recently was The Most Dangerous Game in which the mad General Zaroff traps people on his private island to hunt for sport. A more well known example is The Phantom of the Opera, who in his way could be considered the great grandfather of slashers. There is the some what lesser known She-Wolf of London, a psychological thriller, and 1953's The House of Wax, staring Vincent Price. 

But what truly set these films apart from what would come later? I persoanlly think it is a matter portrayal. While mad men had always existed on screen, they were as I call it "Classical Representation's of Madness".  They were built on an outdated formula and poor understanding of what madness was, they were for the most part jabbering mad men, violent criminals or dark eccentrics. While not all fall into these categories, many were driven to madness by a single event that caused them to seek revenge or take up some dark pursuit. Some were under the influence of another while others were not truly mad but amoral people driven by greed. While I will say that many of these characters were acted very well, they provide a theatrical interpretation of insanity which reflects it's true nature poorly.

Then in 1960 came a film that truly pushed the horror genre in a new direction. Psycho.

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While a number of great horror films would come out that same year, Eye's without a Face, Black Sunday and Peeping Tom come to mind, Psycho was a revolutionary film on many levels. While one could talk for hours about the film, I'll limit myself to the important aspects. Firstly is what is now considered the horror equivalent of "killing god", for the film stabbed right through the concept of "Plot Armour" and had the main character die half way through it's runtime. Second is the level of pointless brutality which is shown or implied for it's time and finally were is the character of Norman Bates. 

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Norman Bates was a character quite unlike what had come befor. Based on real life serial killer Ed Gein, the first of many, Norman introduced audiences to a far more realistic depiction of a killer as well as the concept of a serial killer. Norman Bates is totally apart from any of the primary characteristics I've mentioned previous human killer possessed. He's not a jabbering maniac as he can act in normal society for the most part, nor is he a criminal in the normal sense as his acts are not guided by profit but passion. Norman is not even an evil genius as seen when trying to tell a simple cover story he gives himself away with little effort on his interrogator's part. Norman Bates is just a man, but also a dangerously disturbed one. He is the embodiment of the monster we could all become under the right circumstances. It speaks volumes of that era in time that Hitch**** felt the need to include an epilogue to his film were a psychiatrist has to explain to the audience what was wrong with Norman, as most movie goers of the time would not be able to full comprehend what they were seeing.

After this wave of darker, more brutal films a new type of horror genre started to appear. Splatter films. Splatter films were a type of horror film that deliberately focused on excessive violence and gore, torture porn as it's known today. These were usually pumped out by the B list market. The most shining example of this is Blood Feast, which focuses on a psychopathic food caterer named Fuad Ramses who kills women so that he can include their body parts in his meals and perform sacrifices to his "Egyptian goddess" Ishtar. It's intreasting to note that such films were not looked upon with much favour by the general public and were usually relegated to the Grindhouse cinemas. These kinds of places were viewed little better then pornography theatres and since a fewer number people went to see them, many splatter films earned rather exaggerated reputations. This likely played a big part in creating the paranoid fear of Snuff Films (films that show actual death and murder) being made available for viewing in public cinemas.

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It was during this time that many of the Proto-slasher films came into existence.

A film I mention first is A Bay of Blood A.K.A. Twitch of the Death Nerve. I have yet to see this film myself but I give it mention above the rest as A) it came first in 1971 and B) apparently many of it's scenes inspired or were out right copied by many other films. My understanding is that it's plot involves a multiple people committing homicides in an attempt to gain the fortune of a Countess who herself had been murdered. Some debate wither or not this was the first Proto-Slasher. Based on my research I personally think that, like Psycho, it's a film that helped lay some of the important ground work but is also noticable removed from what the genre's defining traits are. 

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In 1974 the first two Proto-Slasher were realised in theatres on the same month and 10 days apart. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Black Christmas.

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These two films interestingly represent two very different sides of the same coin.

Texas Chainsaw is a about a group of kids going out into Texas wilderness and find a family of cannibals, Black Christmas is set in a sorority house were the girls are tormented, stalked and killed by a murderer who his hiding in the building. Both depict, much like Psycho, the worst of humanity but one is about us going into the unknown while the other is about the unknown intrudes on our lives. Texas Chainsaw's horror is as much psychological as physical, with the film seeming to spiral into pure insanity and it's violence is sudden and shocking yet also avoids anything to explicit, often catching views off-guard and playing tricks with the mind. Black Christmas's horror is lurking, dirty and ever present, it's kills while no too draw out have more build up and the fact the killer keeps the bodies in his hiding place for the duration films only adds to the feeling's of unpleasantness. Of the two, Texas Chainsaw courted the most controversy in part due to it'd introduction stating that the film was based on real events.

Leatherface was the first of a new era of horror icons, a modern version of the classic monsters that had sprung up in the 30s to 50s. While Norman Bates was also a icon of horror, he noticable stood apart from what came befor and what would come after. Recognised and iconic but never truly standing in either crowed. Leatherface would have a huge impact on the later slasher genre, his hulking size, iconic weapon and mask would influence many future icons of horror and slashers. That being said in many ways he also stood apart from what would come after. Leatherface was mentally handicapped, often stayed at home doing house work and was just as sacred of his victims as they were of him. He also lived in fear of his family who would beat and abuse him in spite of his superior strength.

Billy was a very different beast. An intelligent but also deranged killer, he is never fully seen on screen, being always completely or partial in shadow. This adds a very different type of menace to the character as it's possible he could be someone the girls know. Billy is also very vocal, he's speech is often very broken and manic with him suddenly changing his tone of voice. He often calls the girls to speak obesities, threats or hinting's of conversations he's overheard. Billy is also very voyeuristic, often spying on the other characters and we are sometimes given glimpses from his point of view. Interestingly despite being intelligent and stealthy, he's prown to outbursts of rage when things are not going as he wish's. Billy would not become a true icon on his own, he was an important part in the shaping of another who would.

In 1976   the film, The Town that Dreaded Sundown was released. Based on true assaults and murders committed by The Phantom Killer in 1946, the film had a semi-documentary style despite heavily altering and dramatizing the events. The film's tag line "In 1946 this man killed 5 people... today he still walks the street of Texarkana, Ark" was a marketing plan  likely inspired by Texas Chainsaw's claims of being based on real evens and controversy it caused, however this line and the fact many people involved in the events were still alive at the time brought the films a good deal of controversy of it's own. The Phantom Killer would also prove to be a big inspiration for future horror icons, one example being Jason Voorhees's original look in Friday the 13th Part II.

1977 saw the release of The Hills Have Eyes which involves a family trapped in the desert and under siege from a clan of cannibals. Inspire by stories of Scottish cannibal Sawney Bean and his family, who may have also have been an inspiration for the Sawyer family, The Hills Have Eyes has a similur feel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The difference come from clan themselves who seem to live a more primitive style of existence and is made up of very different characters, as well as the fact that the family they are hunting actively fight back against them. This creates more of a conflict like setting then one of people being hunted and also plays into the theme that when pushed, civilised humans (and pets) can become killers.

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The next year, 1978, would see the release of the first true slasher film. Halloween.

 

Edited by The Shape

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Chapter 1 - Halloween

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"On October 31st, 1963,  6 year old Michael Myers stabbed his sister to death. He was taken to Smith's Grove Sanitarium and placed under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis. 15 years later Michael escaped Smith's Grove on the night  of October 30th and made his way back to his home town of Haddonfield, killing a garage worker on the way. Once he arrived he began stalking Laurie Strode and he friends. On the night of October 31st, Michael murdered three people and attempted to kill Laurie but was stopped when he was shot six time by Dr. Loomis. However when Loomis went to check on the body, Micheal was nowhere to be found."

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Last year I made a post stating that Matt Cordell was the greatest slasher. I'm officially admitting I was wrong. Because while he was not the first and far from the last, Michael Myers really is unlike any other.

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To fully explain what I mean here I'll have to compare him and the film to what came befor, for Halloween took what was great about other films and combined, re-spun and took things a step further.

The opening of the film is done completely from Michael's perspective, not unlike Black Christmas, but here it's followed up by the shocking reveal that the person who has just stabbed a girl to death, in a manner not unlike that of Psycho's shower scene but from the killers perspective, is actually a little boy in a clown outfit. Children in horror were not totally unheard as seen in films like The Village of the Damned, Night of the Living Dead and The Exorcist, however in those films it was made clear from the beginning that the films were about evil children or at least gave a lot of build up to the fact, while here it comes completely out of left field.

Michael as a character is very different from his predecessors. Michael has no motive to do what he dose, subsequent films would invent them but with little success, and from what we are given he appears to be from fairly normal family. This is the complete oppasite of Norman Bates or Leatherface. His closest comparisons are The Phantom Killer and Billy but while all three take pleasure in killing, Michael totally lacks the twisted sexual side the others suggest.  Michael is also totally silent even when being hurt, his only audable sound is his breathing not unlike the Phantom, meaning that all his character comes solely from his actions and manner. This is similur to Leatherface and the Phantom but it's far more restrained then the former and lacking the dark humanity of the later. Michael also dose not show any sighs of frustration or lose of control, unlike Leatherface and Billy who are prown to psychotic outburst when things don't go their way, instead he simple gets up and keeps coming 

This collectively works to create a very unique and disturbing character, a being completely devoid of anything human. There's a reason he's called "The Shape".

Michael's mask only adds to this impression. The mask itself is famously one of William Shatner that was painted white and had the eyebrows and sideburns removed. 

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The mask's redesign gives it a very spectral, phantom like look. This could be a call back to films such as The Phantom of the Opera,  The Eyes without a Face and even the silent, German horror films of the 20's. While it's just a simple latex mask, it completely removes any form of human facial expression from the character, with even the eye's almost completely obscured in darkness. For compression again, the Phantom's sack had both is eyes clearly visible and while Leatherface's one is made of human flesh both his eye's and mouth are visible. This combined with the fact the mask's design is an emotionless human face further emphasize Michael's inhumanity. He may superficially look like a human, but inside he lacks everything you'd assosiats with us.

This aspect goes deeper then his mind or his look. Despite what  some may clame, there is a very clear "unnaturalness" to Michael even in this first film.  The first sign of this is the fact that despite being incarcerated for 15 years,  he is able to drive a car all the way back to his home town 150 miles away. He is inhumanly stealthy, being capable of moving without making any sound and almost seems to disappear into thin air at times. He also seems to have an uncanny ability to either know or sense were people are or will go that goes beyond just watching people from the shadows. Finally there is his strength and durability. Michael is capable of lifting a man his own size and build off the ground with one arm, ram a butchers knife into their body with enough force to pin them to a cupboard, punch through a wooden door and is able to lift and move his sister's gravestone.

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Michael's modus operandi in the first film is very intreasting. Once he comes upon Laurie has spends an entire day stalking her. During this time he learns who her friends are and were she'll be but interestingly he dose not attacker her even when she's alone. Instead he simple allows himself to be seen from time to time. The best way to describe this pattern is, imagine if the Shark from Jaws had a sadistic streak. When Michael kills, he dose so with brutal efficiency but he seems to go out of his way to induce fear in his targets first. The crowning moment for this is that after Michael killing all Laurie's and deliberately places the bodies for Laurie to find, implying that everything he'd done up till that point was solely to install pure terror in her.

To touch on other characters in the film, Dr. Loomis is very intreasting. Loomis is three roles into one, the Van Helsing, the Doomsayer and the Town Major. Loomis, like Van Helsing, is the one with the most knowledge on what their dealing with and like a lot of old men in these films he finds his warnings falling on mostly deaf ears. However much like the Major from Jaws he also calls for everything to be kept quite by the local sheriff although here it's to avoid panic and potentially ruining their chances of catching Michael. He also has a few human moments like smiling after spooking some kids away from the Myers house and some of his dialog with the sheriff. This all works to make Dr. Loomis a far more intriguing character then many others of his kind.

Laurie to is different. She's pretty but not the prettiest in her group of friends and seems to scare guys away with how cleaver she is. She's a role model student who prioritises duty first, she takes her babysitting job seriously and seems to enjoy it while her friend is the exact oppasite, and seems to enjoy knitting but is also shown to smoke (may or may not be drugs) with her friends. Simple put Laurie is one of the few final girls who comes across as a believable character and not just a symbol for purity.

Thanks to these factors and others, Halloween was a major success. Not only was it a amazing horror film but it was one that created a new horror icon and a new genre of film. 

Edited by The Shape

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Chapter 2 - Halloween II

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Picking up immediately after the end of the first film, Michael Myer's is still at large. Dr. Loomis leads a man hunt for killer, now deeply troubled by the confirmation that Michael my be more then human, and  Laurie is taken to the hospital to be treated for her injures. As the three spiral towards their next confrontation, the bodies start to pile up and the reasons behind Michael's actions are revealed.

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The best comparison for Halloween II is ironically Jaws 2. They are both sequels, their both compliantly made and manage to get a lot of the original caste back  for the film (which is very important given that this film takes place on the same night) but ultimately lack the spark that made the original so great. The film came out in 1981, still in the new golden age of horror. The same year Halloween was released saw Dawn of the Dead, Jaws 2 as well as a host of cult classics such as Long Weekend and Piranha. The following years saw Alien, Phantasm, The Amityville Horror, the Shining and a whole host of others. 

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Perhaps most famously of all was a film that would become as iconic to slasher films as Halloween was, Friday the 13th (1980). But this was not the only one. In 1981, the same year as Halloween II, multiple slasher films were being released. This included classics like Friday the 13th Part 2, My Bloody Valentine and The Burning as well as a legion of lesser entries in the genre. 

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And it's here were we begin to see the problem many of the Halloween's sequels would come up against. Oversaturation and quickfix horror. Slasher films were in abundances even in the beginning of the 80s and many of them provided more kills, more often and were more gory. While Halloween II is generally better made then then these films, horror fans and gore hounds quickly grew bored with slower pasted slashers, wanting the films to get to the part's they wanted to see.

In Halloween II, despite their attempt to keep things consistent, Michael's look as changed some what. He's now a little stockier, his mask has yellowed and the mask's hair is different and  now reddish. Most noticable his eye's are now far more visible then befor.

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Michael's methods are somewhat different in this film. While he is still very stealthy, he is noticable less tormenting then befor. In the first film Michael toyed with all his victims but here he only dose it twice. Once by letting a nurse think he's her lover until she see's him properly and later by waiting in a room with someone he already killed as a decoy. The rest of the time Michael simple stealthily kills. Also this is the fist time Michael kills for killing's sake. As I mentioned befor, in Halloween Michael's killing of the teen's all seem to be part of a greater, twisted game he's playing with Laurie, here while he leaves an old couple alone and simple take's their knife, he then sneaks into a random girls house and kills here. 

Michael is depicted a very intelligent here as he not only murders multiple hospital staff members without being noticed, likely to prevent any interference when going for Laurie, but also disable all the cars in the car park, cuts the phone lines and screws with the power. In contrast, his' movements seem slower and less animated which would lead to some reviews calling him a zombie. Michael is likely the progenitor of the slow walking killer trop but with him, at least at first, it always felt natural to his character. He's so in control of the situation that he simple has no need to rush and it also plays into his seeming desire to instil fear in his targets befor he kills them. Interestingly, when he finds his prey during the final act of the film, rather then be stealthy, he pulls a Jason Voorhees (long befor Jason started pulling this crap) and marches at them through a glass door, which seems a little out of character for him. As you will probably guess, Michael kill's a more people this time around. In the fist Halloween, he kills 5 people (counting his sister) and 2 dogs, while here he brings it up to 9. While not a gory as Halloween II's contemporaries could be, these kills are notable more played up then befor, with the first films kills haveing an unsettling realistic quality.

Michael's supernatural nature is also more played up here. As I said befor there dose seem to be more to him then just some killer in a mask in the first film but there it's more ambiguous. Besides the fact he's up and about like befor with 6 slugs lodged in him, Michael is able to hold someone in scolding hot water with his bare hands and shows not only no sign of pain but also no injury. He's shot multiple times again and gets up again and is able to survive being shot in both eyes.

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Michael meets his "end" shortly after this as, while his blinded, Dr. Loomis sacrifices himself by filling the room with gas then igniting it. Michael is believed to have burned to death.

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Now I've not talked about the big reveal in the film. At about the halfway point we start to have hints at what might be causing Michael's actions and why his target is Laurie.

Firstly while being treated at hospital, Laurie has a dream where she is told "I'm not your mother". At some point during the film's events Michael broke into a school. On the teachers desk is a picture of a family, with Michael's knife protruding from the depiction of what we assume is the sister. Also on the wall, written in blood, is the word "Samhain". 

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Dr. Loomis - "It's a Celtic word, Samhain, it means 'The Lord of the Dead'. The end of summer, the festival of Samhain, October 31st"

Finally Marion Chamber, the nurse who had been with Loomis when Michael escaped, informs him of a file relating to Michael that Loomis had not known of, it had been sealed by court order by Laurie's parents after they adopted her. Laurie was actually Michael's younger sister. She was two years old when he killed Judith and when their parents died in an accident years later she was adopted by the Strodes. This is the reason why Michael has targeted her.

For me personally this was not the right way to go. While this relationship would become a core part of the franchise right up until this year, it only serves to diminish the greatest aspect of Michael, his mystery. As I've stated befor one of the greatest part about the first film was that there was not reason why Michael was doing any of this, he was "simple evil". An evil force that acted according to it's own whims rather then anything we rationalise. Why he targeted Laurie was a mystery, it could be simple because she was the first person he took intreast in after returning home, maybe she is a symbol of goodness and he being one of evil sought to destroy her or any of the other theories you could come up with. By giving him a blood link to Laurie and thus a reason for his actions, Michael loses an important part of his fear factor. The reference to Samhain would be explored in later films but if there was one part of this attempted explanation I would say you could keep it would be that. While again it's cutting into Michael's mystic, by itself it would be very vague and ties into the movies theme of halloween. It would hint at a possible answer but not give anything away.

On a side note, during the film Dr. Loomis and the police come across someone dress similarly to Michael. Believing it him they give chase but the guy is hit by a speeding police car, which crashes into a van, causing an explotion. The poor guy is brutally killed and everyone is left wondering if it was Michael or not. Some reviews  I've watched seem to view this as the cop deliberately doing this but in the film he states "I couldn't stop". I put this down to a bit of poor editing. 

On a final note I want to talk about one part of these films I've come to really like. Michael's mask appearing out of the darkness.

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There's just something perfectly creepy about this in both the original and second film. It's the first thing to appear out of the darkness befor anything other part of his body and really adds to that phantom like quality of the character.

 

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Posted (edited)

The first film didn't have a huge impact on me as far as encouraging me to watch the film franchise further. But ended up seeing them down the road because of friends and family and those movies weren't my first choice to pick. I'm more into action flicks. 

So, I've made up my mind and that I'm not going to watch the new one in theaters or when it comes out. They made so many of them and quite a bit of them were just plain bad. 

I know some people hated Rob Zombie's remakes. I know he got a lot of backlash on the 2nd one he did. Some people just go and on and on, on how he should have left it all alone. 

 

 

Edited by Mercer

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Chapter 3 - Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

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"Michael? Why now? You waited ten years. I knew this day would come. Don't go to Haddonfield. If you want another victim, take me. But leave those people in peace. Please, Michael? God dame you."- Dr. Sam Loomis.

In 1982, just one year after the second film, an attempt was made to continue the franchise without Michael Myers and turn it into an anthology series. Halloween III Season of the Witch was received poorly at the time of it's release in no small part due to it's lack of the iconic character. I'm skipping that film to focus on Michael but I did watch it a long time ago. As memory serves it was... ok. Not as bad as many claimed at the time but I don't recall anything that makes it an underrated gem as some claim.

After this the franchise was put on ice for 6 years until in 1988 it was decided to revive it to cash in on the films 10 year anniversary. The original idea for the film by John Carpenter was a more psychological horror with Michael appearing as a phantom, however this was rejected as the producers wanted Michael to be flesh and blood to avoid Halloween III's major complaint. Carpenter would eventually sell the rights to the film and none apart from Donald Pleasances returned.

Now I have not seen most of these films for more than 10 years. I first watched them after completing other horror series like Friday the 13th and as I've mentioned before I didn't hold them in high regard till recently, and I think that was the problem not only when I watched them but also in 1988. By that point in time the slasher genre was starting to burn out with most just going by the numbers at this point. It was not all bad for horror as Child's Play, Pumpkinhead, Hellraiser II, Phantasm II and Maniac Cop all coming out that year alongside The Blob remake and Killer Clowns From Outer Space. But this was also the year of Friday the 13th Part VII, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part IV, Sleepaway Camp II, Poltergeist III, Slugs and the Gremlin's knockoff Hobgoblins. Bringing back the series that defined many of the Slasher genre's trops in an time when audiences were growing tired of them was really not a good idea and watching these later films after just coming off two relatively long slasher franchises had the same affect on younger me. I'd seen it all before and these films were far less graphic in their kills.

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So imagine my surprise when I site down to watch Halloween 4 10 years later and find myself actually enjoying it quite a bit. 

The Plot Summery on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_4:_The_Return_of_Michael_Myers

What struck me about this film is just how much to tries to go the extra mile in it’s story compared to a lot of slashers. It’s not some isolated little kill fest or one were whats happening is played down or ignored by the authorities of the town itself. The characters are likable and more rational then many of their counterparts at the time. As a result the film really subverts the trops at times. While it is copying the originals story, it dose enough of it’s own stuff to make it stand apart. That said what tends to drag it down from being truly great is that by having really good parts, the odd times the trops do pop up they really stick out.  Also the editing at the middle felt a little too fast pasted at times. Having Laurie just die of screen was a big shame and may have hurt the film at the time of it’s release, but this was unavoidable at the time. Interestingly the kills here follow the trend of Halloween II, brutal and a bit bloody but never going over the top with the gore factor. This is something I respect as it keeps Michael's brutal but efficient nature intact and also protected the film from being butchered to please by the censors.

Bringing Dr. Loomis back was a double edged sword. The man was at the heart of the explosion and him surviving with just burn scares to the side of  his face and hands is laughable, that said Donald Pleasence puts just as much effort in as he did before and the character really evolves over time, clearly left scared by all thats happened to him, mentally as well as physically.

 

Halloween 4 has Michael get a serious upgrade. He’s far stronger then he was before, with feats like jamming his thumb through someone’s skull, impaling someone to a wall with a shotgun, breaks someone’s neck while lifting them off the ground at arm’s length and tearing someone’s throat open with his bare hands. This unholy strength is backed up by what may be even greater intelligence as he single headedly cripples Haddonfield and its defences with brutal efficiency. Even his stealth seems to have gotten an upgrade to supernatural as he sometimes appears to be teleporting around the town, however this could be part of the editing issue I mentioned. There are no signs of increased durability in this film however Michael doesn’t really give anyone the opportunity to have a crack at him. It is noted in the film that despite being immobile for 10 years he shows no sign of muscle atrophy and instead, as stated, seems stronger then before.

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Design wise, the mask in this film is easily one of the worst. Its features are less defined, the eye holes are blatantly covered in a black material, the eye brows are raised making Michael look constantly surprised, the hair is slicked back and the latex is so weak it wrinkles and bends if moved, which forces the actor to barely move his head. The whole thing looks like a cheap store bought version of the original. It’s a real shame that one of the best versions of the character is lumbered with such a bad design. It’s made worse by the fact that in one shot the mask they used had blond hair. Also of note his jump suit is more stained this time. Due to the explosion, Michael’s body is covered in burn scars, this is depicted by scares on his hands. His face is covered in bandages early in until he finds a new mask.

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Michael’s connection to his family is built on more here. He not only wanted to kill his sister but anyone related to him and the idea that he is tied to the day of Halloween is further reinforced by the films events, as he has remained completely inert until this exact day. Interestingly he is far less sadistic in this film, rarely ever toying with a victim.  His main target Jamie gets some of this, as he subjects to his slow pursuits and he even seems to walk up some stairs, and out of sight, while pursuing her just to scare her when she is forced to walk back from a dead end. The other, after killing the police officer guarding the teens and Jamie, he takes his place in his arm chair with his gun for added affect. Its also very clear by this film that Michael really doesn't like dogs, as he kills his 3rd one here. Likely due to the constraints of the awful mask, Michael is less expressive in this film, even for him. His movements and even him just standing still all look very stiff. That being said he is given a bit of character when he finds and looks a Laurie's photos., although this is done from a first person perspective. As stated above Michael comes off as very intelligent in this film however it's intreasting that he was able to develop such a plan despite spending all his life, from the age of six and one day 10 years ago, ether locked up or in a coma. However I feel that this builds on what was already been suggested, for despite his circumstances his awareness of the world is not impeded. As Loomis said in the first film, he was looking at the wall, through the wall, at the night that was to come.

The idea of passing on Michael's evil onto another person is an intreasting one and could have worked as a way to try and continue the series without him if done right. That being said it would require the franchise to let go of it's iconic killer, something that had not worked befor and the current producers were clearly against.

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So while not a great film over all, Halloween 4 is in my opinion a dame good slasher film. Unfortunately the general audience at the time didn’t see it that way with the film only bringing in about as much as Halloween III. However it was successful enough to get a sequel made the very next year.

This would be the first film in what would become known as the Thorn Trilogy. 

Edited by The Shape

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Chapter 4 - Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

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"I prayed that he would burn in hell. But in my heart, I knew that hell would not have him." - Dr. Sam Loomis

Plot Synopsis at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_5:_The_Revenge_of_Michael_Myers

Well this went down hill fast and why the hell was it that so many entries in many horror film series were really bad in the year I was born!!!!

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The only good horror films of that year seem to be Pet Semetery and Puppet Master!

So were to begin? The films real big problem is that it's a buy numbers slasher made worse by the fact the film's plot can be inconsistent at times. What we have is 4 of the main caste returning, all of whom were well acted, likable and trop subverting to a greater or lesser digree, while Loomis and Jamie remain intact for the most part, the other two, Rachael and the Sheriff, are turned into morons. It's only been a year to the day that a supernatural killer brought the whole town to it's knees, one they all know has come back befor, yet these characters seem to have learned nothing. Racheal fails to heed both the warnings and signs that Michael is back and gets killed during the first act while the Sheriff, who add gone along with Loomis last time, now is slower to act, fails to recognise a blatant distraction and calls all his men away from an ambush for Michael. To rub salt into that wound they are replaced with stereotypical, mostly unlikable teens and bumbling cops. This has been the first film so far that I have fast forwarded through any part of it. It collectively feels like a cheap rush job.

There is some good here, Loomis is great as always, even if his dialog and actions are not as well written. He's clearly standing on the edge of insanity himself. Jamie's part in the film is clearly the result of the creators not being willing to let go of Michael, that said the young actress dose a better job then many of here adult counterparts. They bring back Michael's point of view moments but there less well done and some scenes are shot well.

Michael himself really suffers in this one...

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Just look at this abominable mask! While haveing somewhat more definition then 4's did, it somehow looks even cheaper. The thing looks almost too thin for the actor head and it fit's so poorly that the neck is splayed out over the collar. This ill fitting look is only exacerbated by the elongated neck piece, thin and scrunched up face, almost bulging eyes,  the long nose and hair. Much like the film, it looks like a rushed job. Other than that his look remains the same apart from a change to the effects used for his burn scare and a strange tattoo on his right wrist...

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Power wise there's no big change but since the film can't afford better effects Michael dose not display his enhanced strength as much here, worse some kills are cutaways to save money. His durability is now shown to be greater as he survived being shot by multiple people at once, who were armed with shotguns and rifles. However he's shown to have limits as seen in his capture by Loomis where he is trapped in a chain net, shot with tranquilizers and then beaten over the head with a wooden beam until he's unconscious. The later of which goes on for to long and starts to become almost funny in a bad way.

There's also further connecting Michael with the date of Halloween as he becomes completely dormant for a full year after 4, and only awakens again on the next years Halloween. As for his killing, well Michael's acting more like he did in the first two films but with some of the smarts he had in 4. He's more into stalking  and toying with his victims this time around, he tracks the main teens of the film and even goes so far as to kill one of them, steal his car and wear his Halloween mask to mess with his date for the night. This mask is so bad it almost made me laugh out loud, which I find very disheartening, yet is looks better made then his actual mask.

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But this brings me to one of the other issues of the film. Why is Michael wasting his time with this bunch? If he's looking to torment Jamie, only one of them has any connection with her and she'd rather go partying. If it's to make shore they don't interfere like befor, they were all going to be out of the way anyway. While it could be explained somewhat, it feels simply like padding for the movie and Michael comes of less intelligent because of it. On a more positive note Michael dose other stuff more in character such as stealing a coffin for a girl Jamie's age and building a twisted gallery around it including the bodies her step-sister Rachael and her dog Max. He has some intelligent moments like creating a distraction to draw the police away from their stakeout but then as stated the police in this film are shockingly incompetent. There's also the brutal killing of the hermit who had tended to his body during his dormancy which further displays the heartless evil of The Shape. Also he finally puts his driving skills to work and tried to simple run down some of his targets. Another note worthy kill is hanging a police officer with his own escape ladder of all things.

Then we get to what may be the biggest sore spot for me. The film, during it's later half, goes out of its way to try and make Michael sympathetic. Loomis begins to suspect that Michael is after Jamie because she can end his rage. How he came to that idea I don't know, it's not the first bit of contradicting or out of left field ideas the films has. The idea here is that Michael, who as been portrayed as pure evil without humanity, is actually human after all and is simple the slave of an evil force. You see the problem here, this pretty much spites in the face of everything that had come befor. I've said befor that giving Michael a solid motive at all somewhat took away from him but this just takes away what make him unique, his inhumanity. Not only of body but of spirit. It's what set him apart from the revenge fuelled Jason or the abused and manipulated Leatherface. Much like the film itself, Michael is being made more generic. 

The only good thing about these "human" scenes is that we see under the mask and that Michael's face is normal. In a good film this would be used to show what this means for him. To make another comparison, Jason's mask is to hide his deformed face because he's ashamed of it, Leatherface's were originally a way to express himself since he couldn't do so normally, but later re adapted to be also hide deformities but Michael is different. It doesn't matter what he looks like under the mask, for the mask is the reflection of who he truly is inside. 

To move onto another topic about the film, while the sub-plot of the Man in Black provided this film with more intrigue then any of the others in the film, even the main one, the problem is that the film is setting up Michael as a person under the control of something evil which I find harmful to the character and thus I'm less interested in were its going to go. 

So in summery this film was pretty bad. I'm sorry this has been pretty negative and relatively short.

Edited by The Shape

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Chapter 5 - Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

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"A long, long time ago, it was a night of great power. When the days grew short, the spirits of the dead, returned to their homes to warm themselves by the fire's side. All across the land, huge bonfires were lit. Ohhh, there was a marvellous celebration. People danced, and they played games, and they dressed up in costumes, hoping to ward off the evil spirits. Especially the boogeymen."

So after the disaster that was Halloween 5, the franchise was put on ice again for 6 years. The 90's was a unkind era to try and bring back a classic slasher. Freddy and Jason had finally burned out in the first few years of the decade, both final films pretty leaving a bitter taste for most fans. Chucky was fallowing in their footsteps at break neck speed, while the Alien and Predator series found themselves pretty much grinding to a halt, with Alien 3 haveing a very troubled production, Predator 2 not living up to expectations and the disaster that was Alien Resurrection finally putting a hold on the film side of the franchise for years.

The 90's was an era were darker and more sophisticated horror movies took the lime light, something Hellraiser had started during the late 80's, with the like of Jacob's Ladder, The Silence of the Lambs, more novel accurate versions of Dracula and Frankenstein, The Blair Witch Project and The Event Horizon. While new gritty horrors, slashers and monster movies were still around, these were often never reached the heights of befor. Some using the tied old formula such as I Know What You Did Last Summer while other like Evil Dead and Tremors included more action and comedy. Two new horror icon seems to find a good balance between the new and the old during this time, the first being Candyman, although the franchise didn't last long thanks to a rather drastic dip in quality for it's sequels. The other was Scream, which was a deconstruction of the Slasher genre.

The Curse of Michael Myers came out right in the middle of this era, 1995.

Plot synopsis from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween:_The_Curse_of_Michael_Myers

For clarification the version I watched is the original cut, not the producer's cut. 

To start off with something good the production values of this film are far superior to 5. It actually feels like competent film and not lazy like the last one. The issue with this film is it's script. We already touched on the rather whiplash inducing changed made from 4 to 5, and how they didn't follow on with what the first film in this little trilogy set up. The same thing happens here as rather then going down the intended path for what was set up, this film again rewrites everything to try and fit it's new narrative while trying to connect the dots of all three films. Three films that have with each version tired to go in a different direction than it's sequels did. The story also suffers from having to many ideas and little streamlining, this results in it being overcomplicated, contradicting and plodding at times. I've also heard that this one had parts of it being written while shooting and had several post-production reshoots. Also given the films feel and the fact it's the only one with a true Cut version, this film feels like it also suffered from studio interference. While none of the cast are bad per say, all the characters bar Loomis lack any real... well character. While only 1 or 2 are annoying, most lack any real life in their performance.

This was Donald Pleasance's last performance as he died during production. This of course ment that the franchise had now lost the second of it's three iconic characters from the first film. Donald as always provided a great performance as Looms although his age and health seem to be getting to him. As a fun bit of trivia, when asked how many more Halloween films he was planning to make, he replied "I stop at twenty-two!". The man clearly enjoyed the part of Sam Loomis and never gave it up, even as the series fell into decline.

One rather glaring change here is to the Man in Black. In 5 the character was ment to be "his alter ego. Like his twin brother. The thing about when they do the incantation … the Thorn. They get that split personality. Through the druids, they get eternal life.” Instead in this film he's turned into a cult leader and college of Loomis who wants to control Michael and the Curse of Thorn. However this is poorly explained in this version of the film, which had 45 minutes cut, so how they planned to benefit or use this was down to interpretation. Hell it's never even explained why they needed Jamie to give birth to a baby for Michael to kill as a "Final Sacrifice" when Jamie could logically have fit the bill on her own. It also leaves how the man single handily slaughter a police station, apparently used magic to free Michael (which he never displays again apart from appearing in a vision early in this film) and how he kidnapped Michael of all people completely unanswered. 

Why they felt the need to re introduce the Strode family I don't know. Their relatives simple adopted Laurie, and none the members we see have ever encountered Michael in any way. They are really just here to give Michael someone to kill and add another contradictory element to the film which I'll get into more.

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This films mask is a far more faithful reproduction of the original then the last two although the features are a little different. Other then this theres not much to day about his design this time. Interestingly a possible reason for 4 &5's less faithful masks may have been due to a law suit going on at the time. However I've yet to see any solid details on that.

Perhaps the best thing about this film was its clear disregard for the humanising of Michael in 5. Michael is back to his old self, made very clear by his killing of Jamie. He tracks he down to an old barn and impales her on one of the machines stored there. When she tries to reach out to him, he reaches out in turn and shoves her further onto the drills. Then just for spites sake, he walks over to the machines control panel and turns the drills on, insuring that an already painful death is going to be much more so. Unfortunately while back to his pure evil ways, he's not as proactive as he once was, at least in regard to what his main goal is ment to be. He instead gets side tracked killing people who have little to no connection to his desire to kill his kin. Thanks to the better budget Michael is able to display some super strength in this film by snapping a guys neck and punching through a door. The real highlight on the power front is when he stabs a guy, lifts him off the  ground with one hand, walks to the house's junction box and then stabs that. His victim is the electrified while Michael, who is still holding the knife, shows no sign of being affected. His defeat this time pretty much rips of the last film unfortunately, he injected with tranquilizers and beaten over the head with a pipe. To be fair it's done in a far less comedic fashion here.

The main crucks of the film is trying to explain why Michael is the way he is, why he kills his family members and why is he so powerful. The Curse of Thorn.

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Befor talking about the curse I first have to talk about what likely inspired it. In the original screen play and novel of Halloween it is stated that Michael is being influence by an evil spirit. A Celtic man had murdered a couple out of jealousy and his spirit was cursed to never pass on. The spirit would speak to a person in each generation and drive them to act out his original murder. This happened to Michael's grandfather and is hinted to be what happened Charlie Bowles, the man mentioned by the graveyard attendant in the first film. This was dropped from the final film and I'll come back to this in a bit.

The Curse of Thorn is a supernatural phenomenon that would afflict a person and drive them to kill their family on the night of Samhain as a sacrifice to spare the community from ill fortune during winter. The symbol of Thorn is apparently based on a constellation that only appears on Halloween. Upon doing some research (because I'll be dammed if I could guess half of this), what the cult are trying to do in the film is to better control the curse. Why? I don't know. You'd think that simply just going out and laying the curse on someone would do the job. Why they are studying it on a genetic level and trying to create a biological way of passing it on seems to be a waste of time to me. I could understand if they wanted to replicate the curse's powers for some other purpose but no they just want a production line of curse individuals just so they can keep doing what they already were doing.  In other words, it's pointless. It's made even more pointless when you see that they were trying to put the curse on Danny Strode. Why are they making their job 10x  more complicated by studying Michael, getting Jamie to have a kid who apparently is Michael's (I'll get to that) for Michael to kill to end his time as the barer of the curse, when killing Jamie would have done that, which they also plan to study for there agenda while simultaneously just doing what the cult would go about doing normally anyway! After looking up the Cut versions story this still makes no sense as they simple want Danny to take Michael's place after he kills the baby and then sacrifice his own mother, thus completing the curse's cycle. Then why not just let Michael kill Jamie!

Fortunately Michael dose us all a favour and puts an end to this ****ing paradox of stupidity why murdering all the cultists. 

Now here why this whole Curse thing doesn't work. Michael has never played by the rules set up for the curse, not the original and not Thorn. In the original version he is ment to commit the same murder the spirit did but he doesn't, he only stabbed his sister to death and just let her boyfriend go. That also should have been the end of it, given what is said to have happened befor, but Michael keeps on killing people even when they don't match up with the spirit's scenario. Interestingly nor did the murders Charlie Bowles committed. Despite their attempts to try and make the Curse of Thorn fit, it to has the same problem. Michael is supposed to be driven to kill his family, yet he spared his mother and farther that night, instead of murdering Laurie as soon as he go the chance he instead murdered he friends despite having ample opportunity to get at her and in Halloween 2, 5 and The Curse he kills multiple people unconnected with his main objective. Loomis states that the Strodes are in danger because they are living in Michael's home but shorly he wouldn't care given what the curse is ment to make him do. Why is he wasting his time on these people and not hunting for his nephew/son.

Speaking of that, god that feels like poor 90's edge writing at it's finest. It's bad enough that in the version I watched the cult force Jamie to have a baby with her uncle via artificial insemination but apparently in the Cut version the Cult force Michael to rape her. Classie.

On a side not at least the Myers house actually is a reasonable replacement for the one in the first film, unlike the gothic mansion it turned into in 5.

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So while better made then the last one, this film nonsensical plot not only put the franchise on hold again but also killed this timeline. Thats right, future instalments would pretty much ignore all three if these films and only include 1 & 2 in there continuity. 

This is the conclusion of what I call The Thorn Timeline.

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Chapter 6 - Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

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So for the 20th anniversary of franchise it was decided to give Halloween a more faithful and respectful continuation of the franchise that ignored the 4th, 5th and 6th instalments.

Plot from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_H20:_20_Years_Later

Well thank goodness, after sitting through two "less the great" movies it's a real breath of fresh air to see H20. Whats great about the film is that it respects and understands both the source material and the fans. The entire intro is probable one of the greatest a sequel could have, with the events at Marion Chambers's home faithfully recreating the style of horror from the first two films for new and old fans as well as good way to set up intrigue in were the story is going. The really good part is the sequence which shows us Loomis collection of Michael Myers intel with voice over based on his original dialog from the first film. What makes the film good is it's attempts to remain faithful to the original Halloween style although it dose try to do something a bit different. What I mean by this is that it's a suspenseful slasher that takes it's time but instead of Michael lurking in the background as with the first two, H20 simple lets his presence haunt the film, at least during the first half. There are long sequences where Michael remains completely unseen, with just the threat he could be near by handing in the air. All of the character are far better then the last two films as I can either empathise with them or at worse find them ok and not annoying. It's ending confrontation is easily one of the best of any slasher and I give it major props for subverting the tired slasher ending trop.

The films real weakness is that while it dose do some of it's own stuff, it's more often then not too faithful. There's a lot of dialog and scenes that seem ripped right out of the previous films and this over abundance of homages can lead to some parts feeling staler then they would should when your familiar with the franchise. Also while the writing is mostly good it dose stumble a bit here and there, with some scenes just feeling like pointless padding. LL Cool J's character and his scenes suffer the brunt of this.

Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the franchise after 17 years and is easily the best part of the film. Laurie, now going by Keri Tate after faking her own death, is a far cry from the pure and reliable teen she had been 20 years ago. She has never really gotten over the horror of that night, which has driven her to become a paranoid, pill popping, functional alcoholic who regularly suffer night terrors and hallucinations. Her issues also put a strain on her relationship with her son John as she constantly put pressure on home out of the fear that Michael will find them. These issue may have also been what lead Laurie into a relationship with John's farther, who was an abusive drug addict. In the film there is a scene dedicated to discussing the original Frankenstein novel and it's themes of facing your monsters and destiny, both acting as a call back to lesson on destiny Laurie had in the original film and foreshadowing of what she must do to make the nightmare end. 

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Fun fact: Jamie Lee Curtis's mother, Janet Leigh, who played Marion Crane in Psycho, appears in the film alongside the very car she drove in that film. 

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Design wise, the mask in this film is probably the most faithful to the original since Halloween 2. While Curse's mask did look better then it's predecessors the material and the texture wasn't quite right. However this mask dose have it's own issues. Firstly it's eye holes are far to big, making his eye's more visible and decreasing it's scare factor somewhat. Another issue is that due to a production problems one of the masks had be re redone digitally (the one on the left of the image above) which sticks out really badly. I didn't even realise it was digital at first and even then something looked off about it.

Power wise Michael has been reset to his Halloween II levels. As a result he's a bit more susceptible to physical attacks then in the Thorn Timeline and can be knocked over without needing to be affected by tranquilisers or hit from behind. He's still not easy to put down however as he survives being hit with a fire axe, impaled with a flag pole, being stabbed multiple times, being run over by a van, then falling down a hill with and being pinned by said van. Strength wise he's can still lift another person with just one arm, even with a knife lodged in their spine as in Halloween II and can break doors to pieces with his fists.

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On the note of kills, this is probable one of the bloodier entries, if not the most up until this point.

As stated above he has less of an onscreen apperances then in other films, with only the threat of his presence providing the tension in many scenes. This combined with Laurie's nightmares and hallucinations helps to give him an almost spectral like presence for most of the film, until the final act. Michael is also back to tormenting his victims here, although not quite as often as the original film. The best example being when he flits between Marion Chambers and her neighbour's house, killing them in their home, then going back to her's just to scare her into running next door so she can see the bodies befor he strikes. However there are times he chooses not to kill people such as a mother and daughter at a rest stop or the school's security guard, the later being very odd given he's eliminated such potential threats befor.

It's unknown were Michael has been for the last 20 years, he seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth until the events of the film. It's also revealed, although never shown due to Pleasance's passing, the Loomis survived the explosion at the hospital in this continuity as well and spent years studying and trying to find Michael, never believing he was gone for good. Michael's intelligence is once again on display here as he is able to tracks down Marion Chambers, find the file on Laurie and use it to get her location. However later in the film he falls for a rather simple trick were Laurie leaves a blood stain by a door and once Michael's preoccupied, she smacks him over the head with a fire extinguisher from behind. As for why he's come back after 20 years, Laurie comes to believe that it's because her son is 17, the same age she was during that night in 1978.

There's a character moment in this film that I've got mixed feelings on, at the very end of it all, when he's pinned by the van and trapped, Michael appears confused and almost vulnerable. He then reaches out for Laurie and she reaches out in turn, but stops just befor they make skin contact. It's an oddly human moment for Michael. You could argue it's a trick but even when she's close enough that even in his position he could try to grab her, he doesn't. I said that I hated the humanising of Michael in 5 and I don't like it so much here ether but I have to admit this scene is the superior of the two.

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Michael's death in this film is the first one that is truly unambiguous, with Laurie taking Michael's head clean off with an axe. This was intended to be a true death for Michael.

Halloween H20This was a pretty good film over all although I'd have a tough time saying which I like more, 4 or H20.

H20 has an odd place in continuity. It's the first film to break the chain and create a new timeline. It was intended to also be the end film in that timeline but Dimension Films would create a direct sequel that undermined this ending. But that's not all, Chaos Comic published a three part miniseries that attempted to combine the Thorn and H20 timelines in 2000, prior to the films cinematic sequel.

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Then in 2008 Halloweencomic.com and Devil's Due Publishing produced a number of short stories connected to the H20 timeline. These were side stories about events from around the Halloween universe but would not always be directly about or even have anything to do with Michael. since I'm not currently connected with any Halloween fandom, the info I have on this material is limited currently to the wiki, which is not much, and my own little bit of research and surmises. This material was produced in comic and short story format and I believe that these two companies worked with eachother, possible for the print copies of the comics. However the only evidence I have for this is that one of Halloweencomic.com's short stores was made available in one of Devil's Due's printed comics, at least according to the wiki. See the problem is Halloweencomic.com is a dead website, I've gone there and it's main page is plain, no artwork or stylising, and all of the links don't work. That means that any of the on site material cannot be accessed from there anymore. However I did find another site that provided links to two of the short stores, Sam and White Ghost, but these were in review threads. To make matters worse, Devil's Due has no reference to any of these comics on it's site. It also seems that a number of stories and comic were never finished or even published. From what I can tell, this whole thing started up in 2008, likely off the back of Halloween's 30th anniversary and Rob Zombie's movies but befor 2009 something happened and the whole thing was cancelled. Wither this is linked to Halloweencomic.com website now being dead I don't know. Also in 2009 Devil's Due was in trouble for not paying some of it's employees, but this could be unrelated. 

As it stands:

The Sam and White Ghost short stories can only be read online via links on an online forum

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Halloween: 30 Years of Terror and Halloween: Nightdance now seem to only exist in a limited physical form. They are not graphic novels but apparently giant sized normal issues. They can be found on Amazon and eBay but due to their rarity, they can be between 70 to over 100 dollars in price.

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The miniseries Halloween: The First Death of Laurie Strode is incomplete as the last of the three issues was never published. Issues 1 & 2 have physical copies you could buy but they can also be found online for free.

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The wiki also makes reference to a number other stores that were going to be made, but given what I've see this line of stories and comics is long dead. I'd even go so far to say it's a risk of becoming lost material given it's very limited availability.

I intend to track down all this material and maybe once I've completed looking at all the films I'll do an extra chapter on the comics.

Edited by The Shape

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Chapter 7 - Halloween Resurrection

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Plot from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween:_Resurrection

Ok peeps, what do you get when take a much beloved horror franchise, give it to people who don't care, hire two writers who clearly have not talent, pick then trendy teens actors and a rapper to act in it and then fill it with ideas ripped off from modern horror films to appeal only to teens. 

You get this sorry excuse for a film.

I really cannot fully get across how bad this is. From the BS way they have Michael survive H20, that spites on that whole far superior film, unceremoniously killing of Laurie in the films introduction, to the plot, the awful editing and live camera scenes, the acting..... this is just saw god dame awful I just.....

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This film has not an original bone in it's body as it tries to rip-off Scream, Urban Legend and the Blair Witch Project. Almost all it's kills are likewise stolen from other film or have been done better in this very franchise. 

That said the only time I was having anything close to enjoyment watching this thing was when these annoying morons got killed.

And do you know what I could have forgiven it all if this film didn't do what it did to Michael.

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Michael look in the film is actually ok, the mask eye holes are still a little to big but are small enough to obscure his eye in some shots. For some reason it has make-up on?! Michael seems a bit stronger in this film as he's able to cut someone's head clean off in one swing and knock someone across the room. He's as stealthy as ever but unfortunately he's handed the plot connivant, idiot ball quit a few times in the film and it seems even worse given the IQ of the people he's dealing with. He's made to look stupide or uncoordinated in a number of situations, foe example when get's stuck in Laurie's trap or has someone jump on his back, he starts swinging around like a loon rather then just stabbing them. While most of the stuff in the Myers home had been placed, these an underground space that Michael has been livening in. Here we see a doll with needles in it's eyes and other stuff that seem to hint that Michael is like Jason or Leatherface i.e. he's child like, which pretty much flies in the face of what we know of the character. More bad attempts at ripping off other films. There's also some half eater, still alive and very fake looking rats Michael's been munching on but considering he ate a dog in the first film I can let that slide.

But it's at it's worst whenever Buster Rhymes is ever on screen.

 

Seriously the man makes an already bad film worse and the idea he can beat up Michael by using moves he learned just from watching kung fu movies is easily one of the films lowest points.

And if the film couldn't sink any lower Michael is beaten by getting electric cables rammed into his genitals, which actually causes him to make some haunted house style ghost scream, then falls on to some other cables and get electrocuted while his home burns down. Fortunately he survives, however the series didn't. 5 & 6 may have been bad and even caused the franchise to go on hold for a few years but this movie truly killed it. While the franchise would get it's remakes along side it's fellows a few years later, it would be 15 years befor another true entry in the Halloween franchise would be made.

So in summery I really, really hated this film, hated it so much I really struggled to type anything about it.

On a side note, I remembered that this was the first Halloween movie I ever watched. No wonder I had a low opinion of these films, this abomination poisoned my mind against the franchise!

 

Edited by The Shape

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Wow, just saw all of this! Great thread and awesome research into the franchise!

 

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Chapter 8 - Halloween (2007)

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"His eyes will deceive you; they will destroy you. They will take from you your innocence, your pride, and eventually your soul. These eyes do not see what you and I see. Behind these eyes one finds only blackness, the absence of light. These are the eyes of a psychopath." - Dr. Loomis

Remakes and reworkings are nothing new. For a prime example look no further the Dracula, which off the top of my head has more than 6 versions of the original novel translated film. However there are two types of remakes, those that are a genuine attempt to do the story better or to put a new spin on it or there are those that are just remakes for moneys sake. Unfortunately many of the remakes of 80's slashers from 2006 onward fell into the later category. Quite a few were produced by Platinum Dunes, while the main idea was to give upcoming directors a shot at the big time, this was often done by propping them up on the reputations of much beloved horror films to insure that they made money no matter what.

Now none of the these films ever surpassed the original but I will say that not all of them were bad.

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Of all of them, The Hills Have Eye's remake and it's sequel were probably the most successful, both the original and the remake actually have identical scores on imdb. This is likely due to the fact that while the new films stay faithful to iconic scenes and some of the themes from the original but dose enough of it's own thing to keep intreasting. These are the only two of all the remakes that can stand on their own two feet in my opinion.

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Another successful but less good remake was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it's own sequel. The good point's about these films are its cinematography, the sets, the way it's shot and the always wonderful  R. Lee Ermey. What let's the film down it the lack of atmosphere the original had, the more generic character, the fact that Leatherface's family is more normal, Leatherface himself has less character and the film tends to play by genre trops the original didn't which makes it feel a little less original. The sequel was an unnecessary but surprising ok film that was better then the first as it was not tied to the story of the original and could do it's own thing, although it still suffered from many of the same problems as the remake. 

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Unfortunately thats about as good as it got as many others were average at best and awful at worse. Friday the 13th was a generic film that practically did nothing new. A Nightmare on Elmstreet had the same problem but the wasted potential of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy made it worse. The Amityville Horror was a waste of time and made almost funny by the fact that since the original was released, the events the movie was based on have been debunked. Black Christmas is just disgusting, not just in its pointless gore but also in it's narrative which includes underage incest rape. As for House of Wax, while I give it credit for trying something different, it's just made so badly. The only thing anyone ever seems to like about the film is that Paris Hilton gets killed in it.

There are other but I have yet to watch them.

Plot from the Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_(2007_film)

For clarity the version I saw was the Director's Cut.

Lets get this out of the way, I don't hate this film. There's a lot to like here and I get Rob Zombie's vision for it and the character of Michael Myers. What I think the problem is, is that Zombie either didn't understand Halloween or became to caught up with his ideas. The entire first act that depicts Michael's life as a child and how it contributed to the birth of a killer is very good, the problem is that it doesn't fit the original idea of Michael as The Shape. As I've stated for this whole thread, what makes Michael great is the mystery around him in the first film. While I think this is far better then suddenly having him act emotionally with no prior build up, it is humanising him. Another issue is the fact that pretty much all characters are unlikable or have some noticable unlikeable traits. The best example are our three primary character Laurie, Loomis and Michael's Mother. All well acted but Laurie is a far cry from the bookish, strong teen from the original as she often acts like her fellows rather then standing a little apart. Loomis has the intreasting development of going from a hip and trendy psychiatrist to a man deeply disturbed by this patient who defies everything he knows, yet he's also the kind of asshole who sells out and makes money off of sensationalising a former patient and his victims. Michael's Mother comes off as well meaning but clearly too naïve in regards to her son both when he's killing of animels is reported and especially after he murdered members of his family. The film also turns up the violence to 11, which is fitting for the tone of the film but in strong contrast to anything that came befor. As for it's recreation of moments from the original, it's mixed. Some scenes are done really well such as Michael's stalking of Laurie while others like Loomis's confrontation and shooting of Michael feels overly dramatized.This film is not only trying to fit in the backstory of Michael but also concept that Laurie is his sister. This means that it leaves no time for really building suspense and can feel rushed at times.

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Michael's design, as you've all seen through this thread, has never really changed much. A slightly different mask is about the most he's ever really gotten befor. This time however there's been quite a bit changed. While he did get a little bit taller in some of the other films due to the actors portraying him, here Michael is now an impressive 6'8 feet tall. Compare that to the original actor who was only 5'10.

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Design wise he's seen with a variety of different masks in this film, both as a  child and adult, ranging from a clown mask  inspire by the original, to a variety of cardboard and paper masha ones he created while incarcerated with the one standing out the most being the orange, pumpkin like one he wore during his escape and finally to this films version of the classic mask.

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This mask is just great, looking very much like original, it appears in it's undamaged state at the start of the film. Michael hides the mask after murdering his family and retrieves it upon his return home 15 years later. Overlooking the fact that a latex mask couldn't last that long in the elements, the mask has a wonderful aged look. The latex looks decaying with the mask having a mottled, almost diseased apperances. The many cracks, splits and bits missing add to the affect. The hair is messy but swept back and the eye holes a perfect, obscuring the eyes most of the time although they can been glimpsed now and then depending on the lighting. It's one of my faviorts.

Clothes' wise Michael as an adult is seen in hospital cloths with a gown, which combined with his pumpkin mask give him a very unique and disturbing look all it's own.  His primary attire is again overalls although these are some of the most dirty and grubby he's ever worn, which really compliment his new mask. 

If I could sum up this version of Michael in one word t would be rage. While described as being filled with rage in prior films, it's here were at it's most outwardly displayed. This is mostly shown through the sheer excess of violence he can and dose apply. From repeatedly beating someone with a stick, stabbing his sister 16 times, knocking people heads against walls over and over, as you can see ol Joe Grizzly go that treatment with his hand and ripping a women's throat out. The security guard who was kind to Michael gets it pretty bad, being bashed against numerous walls, drowned in a sink and then getting his head crushed with TV. Power wise, this Michael is a blend of the original film and it's more grounded sequels. Most of what he dose to others doesn't hint at to much overtly supernatural however the man suffers a deep stab wound and is shot multiple times yet continues to function normally, only stopping after being shot in the head. Stealth wise it's same old same old and thankfully while he is more volante then befor, he hasn't lost his intelligence. There also a display of that way of toying with his victims here to, and not just in remade scenes such as when he dresses up as a ghost. Befor he attacks the security guard he makes as if he's going to give up and later sets up a corpse with a jack o lantern on it's head so it will be the first thing Laurie sees when she walks through a door. One odd bit here is that instead of killing one of Laurie's friends he simple seems to brutalise her a bit then leaves her laying in the doorway by the strung up boyfriend. This is unusually risk taking for the character and I'm not sure if this was some new way of taunting his victims or a strange act of mercy. There is also a great moment here were Michael, who was hiding behind the door when Laurie came on, walks behind Laurie (who's calling the police), passed her injured friend (who is contuse) and seemingly stops to examine his handiwork with the boyfriend's body. It's one of the simple little moments that give silent charactesr more depth and I wish the film had done more thinks like that.

Again if we just role with Zombie's depiction, young Michael shows a lot of signs of being deeply disturbed. The torturing and killing animels is a fairly common early warning sign but there's also his seeming disconnect with the people around him, the fact then when he dose get emotional they are extreme and his over fascination with masks is already apparent. When he dose start to kill there also a clear sadistic side to his actions as seen with his first victim, he stops to observe his handiwork, and when he kills his stepfather, Michael deliberately looks into his eyes as he dies. A very intreasting hint of other issues Michael may have is seen just befor he kills his sister. Michael doesn't attack her instead he, for lack of a better way to put it, starts feeling her up. Stroking her legs in an almost gentle fashion, which she doesn't take notice off at first, thinking it's her boyfriend. Now one could look at this as Michael simple toying with her like his other victims, past and future, but he doesn't attack her right away when she dose notice him. He only dose so after being hit and shouted at by her. What this "could" imply is possible sexual feelings towards her. I mention this solely because nothing quit like it happens again in the film although it dose harken back to the 1978 versions original script that had Michael gain some form of sexual gratification from his actions as an adult.

After being taken to Smith's Grove, Michael at first seems to disconnect himself from the events of what happened. However as time passes and after hearing what was ment to be well meaning advice from a security guard about "learning to see through the walls" and "living inside your own head", Michael starts making masks to, as he put's it, hide his ugliness. Wither this was a sign that Michael is coming to terms with what he did is unknown, but he also started to act abnormally. He would become silent and unresponsive for long periods, with his "normal moments"  becoming fewer and shorter. Even his own mother struggled with him at these times as Michael wouldn't talk much and while he initially acquiesced to her requests to take of his masks, he later would refuse to do anything unless the mask was put back on. Possibly Michael's acceptance of his actions had unfortunately lead to the desaturase affect of him accepting and give into the darkness within him as well. Eventually his condition becomes premiant and he starts to become truly dangerous once more, he stabs a nurse in the eye due to a simple slight and when his mask is take off he goes ballistic. 

After that day Michael seems to become unresponsive once more and spends his days simply making his masks. He doesn't even react when two security guards decide to rape a new female inmate in his room. He only attacks them after they start messing with his masks. However once he's killed them, he then escapes. One minor problem I have with this is that Michael is later depicted as acting with the intent of finding his sister and possible waiting for Halloween to do so, but it never felt like that during this point. Michael doesn't seem to act on any form of signal or plan, he just kills the guards and then realises "Oh I can escape now".

His murdering of the security guard who has taken care of him for 15 years is both heart-breaking and very true to the spirit of the character. The Shape is ment to lack any humanity and dose not form bonds with others. Even Loomis, who he has spent just as much time with him, is given no mercy and almost get's his skull crushed. What is intreasting for this version is the fascination with his little sister. The one item he has kept with him all these years is a photo of her as a baby. After finding her Michael proceeds to kill anyone she has a connection to, both adopted family and friends, and after catching her, take her to their old home were he has created a shine in the basement with his sister's grave stone, a jack o lantern and one of Laure's friend's bodes. He then takes of his mask and shows her the picture, trying to inform her in his way they are related but she has no idea what he wants. What that is is never stated but Laurie was the only person he didn't kill that night 15 years ago, she's the only one he cared for genuinely besides his mother and now Laurie is all he's got left. Maybe he just wants them to be a family again. But after she stabs him, he seem to loose that last bit of humanity he had left and instead sets his mind on killing her.

Another intreasting note here is that there is a scene were Michael simple stands behind a child who's watching TV and dose nothing to her. Again it's one of the good character moments and it brings up a point. Michael in the original two films never hurt a child. In the Thorn Trilogy while he is trying to kill his family members who are young, the only child outside them he ever hurt the one with Jamie who he  hit with his car. In the H20 timeline he doesn't hurt children wither. While it doesn't seem to be an iron clade rule, it's an intreasting little quirk.

There's a very clear line that you can draw between the original Michael and Zombie's one. One is a unknowable force of evil, the other a boy who became a monster. I personally think this film would have been better if it had not been a Halloween remake. That said it's a lot better then many of the other remakes out there and I rank it alongside the Hills and Chainsaw as one I will chose to watch.

Edited by The Shape

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Chapter 9 - Halloween II (2009)

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For clarification the version of this film I watched was the original cut, although I have some memory of the uncut version for comparison.

Plot Synopsis at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_II_(2009_film)

Were to begin here... Well like last time I understand what Zombie was going for here. It's an attempt to explore Michael psychology, as well as concepts of family, trauma and coping mechanisms. The problem is that he dose so in a way that confuses the audience. What I mean is that while you can see the points if you try to analyse the film for a bit, if you just watch it's too vague for it to really shine through and this combined with the movies problems just stops it being good or as intelligent as it might have been.

Having a good chunk of the films first act be a long dream sequence can work, the problem is that nothings done with it. It plays out as any other time Michael's on the clock and it's only point seems to be telling us Laurie was traumatised by what happened... well no duh! Given what we see of the character later, we can tell she's got issues because the films about as subtle as a jackhammer on the subject, so why are we wasting our time on this. It doesn't even tie into the psychic connection Laurie starts to have with Michael later in the film, which itself comes out of left field. Also on the subject of the first act, while I know Zombie has no problems with using profanity and rather twisted themes in his films, I can honestly say that having constant childish profanity as well as a truly tasteless and utterly pointless discussion revolving around the subject of necrophilia at the beginning of your film is a shore fire way to put all but the most degenerate members of your audience in a very negative mindset.

The problems most of the caste suffered from are unfortunately exacerbated in this film, making vertually everyone apart from the Sheriff and his Daughter totally unlikable.

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Oh poor Laurie, this film did you no favours. Remake Laurie as I stated befor just didn't feel like Laurie at times, due to her acting more like the stereotypical teens around her. While I understand perfectly that traumatic events can change us for the worst, the way this films goes about it only distances Remake Laurie from likability. In both cuts of the film Laurie is now an edgelord who hangs round with people even less likable their her previous friends. Past this, we have an odd case were the original cut is superior in my opinion, for while we can see that Laurie is in a dark place she still exabits some of her old self underneath the pain and rage, while in the uncut version she's a vile, foulmouthed person who flies into fits of venomous, verbal abuse at the slightest provocation and sometimes with none at all. This is made about 100 times worse by the fact that the person who is often on the receiving end of  her spiteful tongue is her friend Annie, the one who was brutalised by Michael and saw her boyfriend stabbed to death. Not only has Annie been though a similur ordeal to Laurie, and thus is the one of the few people who can truly sympathise with her, but she and her dad welcomed Laurie into their home after her parents deaths. While I'm not saying this is impossible, some people really do become like this after traumatic events, it still makes her totally unsympathetic. On a different note, much like Jamie from the Thorn timeline, Laurie develops a psychic connection with Michael in this film, the main difference is that she can not only see what he dose but also begins to share the same in his madness. While this could have been very intreasting, much like the last psychic connection it's coming strait out of left field.

As for the Loomis, well he's turned into a snobbish asshole who sinks so low as to publish a book that contains all the details on Laurie's relationship with Michael. This is a multi-fold betrayal, firstly Laurie had no idea of her past so this very damaged girl's pain is made infinitely worse, while never explored in the film it also could have a very negative affect on her socially since she is related to remorseless serial killer and it's a betrayal of the Sheriff, who knew who Laurie was but had kept silent for her benefit, only breaking his vow after learning what Michael's objective may have been from Loomis. This in turn drives a wedge between Laurie and her new family. Fortunately this Loomis gets his very disserved comeuppance.

Also I find it very unlikely that in the resulting media storm that would have kicked off after Michael's killing spree, none of the details about Laurie and Michael kinship came to light sooner.

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What can I say that these images don't convey!? Homeless Michael here is easily the worst the character has ever looked!

Overlooking his latest in hobo fashion dress sense, what they have done with his mask and face in this film is a travesty. As I stated befor what Michael looks like under the mask should not be something of intreast or really shown because it's superfluous to the character. Things were already taken a bit to far in Zombie's remake but here practically everything about Michael's design that makes him iconic has been removed or disfigured. It's akin to the awful costume redesigns many comic book heroes suffered through in the 90s. On a continuity issue, his mask shows no sign of were Laurie shot him at point blank range!

Its all made even worse by the fact there is a far better look design of the character in the film' dream sequance!

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Character wise Michael is even more pointlessly brutal here, far from the efficient killer he once was. The prime example of this is the fact he stabs people excessively, in fact almost to the point of parody.

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Power wise he now has super healing suggested by the lack of a even a scare on his head were he was shot. That said he dies from being shot twice, impaled and stabbed repeatedly. He also get's a pretty impressive strength feat here, as he flips a car over, with the occupant inside, by himself.

So what Michael's been up to for all this time. If his look didn't suggest it already, he been ruffing it in the woods outside of Haddonfield. Why hasn't he gone after Laurie all this time. Well according to his visions he is waiting for the right time, which just so happens to be on Halloween. The fact that Michael only comes out to play on Halloween has always been odd, despite it being intrinsic to his character. Most films don't try to explain it, even in the original its left to vague speculation as to why Michael suddenly decided to kick off after 15 years, and those that did at least made some sense, even the convoluted Curse of Thorn makes some sense in it's own context. This however has got to be weakest reason ever given.

The symbolism of the white horse and his mother work with the Michael Zombie envisioned. He entire character revolves around his twisted childhood and it's evolved further here. Befor he still loved his sister and mother despite the darkness within himself, only turning on Laurie when she rejected him. Here Michael's opposing desires seem to have blended into a dark fantasy to reunite his family, in death through the medium of his rage. Laurie, due to their connection, is also dragged into this fantasy and if the ending of the movie is any indication, may take Michael's place.

Perhaps the worse thing this film did was have Michael talk, with his first and only word since the evil within fully claimed him is "Die". Had this been classic Michael I'd hate this more then I do.

Overall this is easily one of the weakest films in the franchise, which is a shame given how much I ended up liking Halloween (2007). Ranking it, well despite how much it dose wrong it never sinks to the levels of disrespect Resurrection did. This film and Halloween 5 have similur problems, hell they even have plot points and events. Of the two I'm going to have to say I like 5 more, for while it is not great and Halloween II gave me more to talk about, 5's missteps just don't feel as aggreges on comparison. 

Edited by The Shape

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