A full-throated endorsement for the most recent movies in the 'Halloween' series
Today is Halloween, so it’s time to give my full-throated endorsement of the most recent movies in the Halloween series, a trilogy of sequels to John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher film.
These new movies have not been well received, though the first one, 2018’s Halloween, got the most positive response. It’s also the most conventional of the three, which gives us a pretty good indication as to why the full trilogy has been maligned. This one takes place 40 years after Michael Myers’ original rampage, and he’s been in a maximum security psychiatric hospital since. Of course, now he escapes, and gets back to the murdering. Director David Gordon Green shoots the movie intelligently, and he begins to plant the seeds of a theme that runs through all three movies—namely, that we all think we’re the main characters of the story we’re living, and oh my goodness are we wrong.
I wonder, though, if Green just got a little bored with the conventional slasher movie, or if he had something else on his mind the whole time, because the second film, Halloween Kills, pretends to be a basic slasher, but is very much not. Green stages the murders in the movie directly and lingers on them far longer than we’re comfortable with—they are not the “fun” kills people want from a slasher movie, they’re deeply unpleasant. I don’t think he wants us to have a good time. He also stuffs the film with a ton of ideas, many of which just get in the way and hurt the movie, but hey, at least he’s trying something.
And especially in that it all leads to this year’s release, Halloween Ends, which is a truly weirdo take on the whole thing, and also very funny, and it even completely leaves Michael Myers aside for huge stretches. Which I loved. The camerawork and editing are surprising and thrilling to watch, and Green has no interest in pleasing people who just want another slasher movie. And why should he? There are a dozen other Halloween films if you just want to watch “another” one. Green doesn’t always connect in this trilogy, but you gotta love watching a guy take such big swings.