It's Halloween season, y'all. Not just because it's almost trick-or-treating time, but because a classic horror franchise is coming back from the dead (again), and Jamie Lee Curtis will be going up against Michael Myers (again). We're getting another Halloween!
David Gordon Green's 2018 iteration (conveniently titled Halloween) will be the 11th entry, which means there's a lot to go over, though Halloween canon is so wonky that we should probably question whether or not any of this matters... Oh well!
I am so excited — so excited that I might just have to rewatch the entire Halloween series and write down every dumb thought I have about all 10 films.
You know what? I'm gonna go ahead and do that, from John Carpenter's original 1978 Halloween to Rob Zombie's Halloween II in 2009. That's 31 years of Michael Myers to devour, and there's no better time to do it than now.
So, here are all 230 thoughts I had while watching the Halloween series. I'm also adding some video clips, just in case you don't have time to watch the whole series again and would like some context added to my thoughts.
1. There is no better opening to a horror film than the slow zoom in on the pumpkin in Halloween. It's so simple and effective, as if it was specifically made to be iconic. Also, putting the credits here helps the tension in the first person scene to follow. It would be super distracting to see young Michael's hand grip the knife, and then have "STARRING DONALD PLEASANCE" flash up in the middle of the screen.
2. I first saw this movie when I was in the fourth grade, and soon after, Halloween became my favorite horror franchise. And no scene stood out to me more as a little kid than Nancy Stephens' nurse character getting attacked in Loomis' car. That hand splintering the glass of that window haunted me for years.
3. Loomis talking to his nurse in the car is a pretty good exposition dump. That said, Loomis' entire character is built around his obsession with Michael Myers. Almost everything he says in the first movie is exposition about Myers. And while I appreciate his efforts to stop Michael, I would not want to encounter him at a bar: "Finish that drink and let's go talk about THE EVIL THAT I SAW FOR 15 YEARS."
4. The first few shots of Haddonfield that we get are great. Nothing too fancy, and no people saying obvious stuff like "MY, HOW GREAT IS IT TO LEAVE IN THIS PEACEFUL, SMALL TOWN, HUH, NEIGHBOR THAT I TRUST INHERENTLY?"
5. "Lonnie Elamb probably won't get out of the sixth grade." Laurie Strode talking mad trash about middle schoolers with Tommy Doyle is something that I love. Her character is so much more than "the smart high school girl that's still a virgin." Same thing when Laurie makes fun of Annie's outfit after she spills something on her clothes. Producer Debra Hill wrote most of the dialogue for the women in Halloween and her contribution is so underrated.
6. Tommy Doyle gets bullied and then gets tripped, falling over onto his pumpkin and smashing it. But how did he get that pumpkin in the first place? He wasn't carrying it to school. Did the teacher just hand them out? That's kind of rad. Not to make light of a young boy losing his treasured squash plant, but I'm just interested in the school curriculum that allows the distribution of fall-themed vegetables.
7. Did anyone find the guy that Michael stole his coveralls from, or is that dude still rotting in some tall grass? Also, why coveralls? Michael is super economical. He doesn't have to worry about mixing and matching a shirt and pants. The coverall is easy to put on during the one day a year that you do anything.
8. Annie's "I hate a guy with a car and no sense of humor" is the single worst line reading in the entire Halloween franchise. That said, Annie quickly becomes the most entertaining of the three main girls in the movie. Also, she's super quick to confront the guy that Laurie "thinks" is stalking her. Badass. That's a friend that you want to have.
9. Sheriff Brackett doesn't get a ton to do in these movies besides follow Loomis around and tell him that he sounds crazy. Super cool to see him show up in so many early John Carpenter films though (Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, Someone's Watching Me!, Elvis, The Fog, Escape from New York.)
10. The cemetery caretaker telling Loomis about the massacre in Russellville is such a good mood builder. Sets up this universe as one where unexplainable, awful things happen. Though I imagine that, by the end of this journal, I'll be raving a fan theory about how it's somehow connected to the Cult of Thorn.
11. We don't just follow Laurie through a montage of various character establishment scenes, we follow her through a regular day of her life. That's so neat and so rare, especially when you consider that most slasher films only give you a scene or two to establish that a character is funny/smart/athletic, etc. before slaughtering them.
12. Michael Myers eats dogs. I always forget about that. And then this gross little detail is followed by Loomis' "I met this six-year-old child..." monologue. It's the last Michael Myers info that we'll get for the rest of the movie. Thus, the rest of the movie becomes not about who Michael is, but what Michael does. In the script for Halloween, Michael is not even a "who." He is simply referred to as "The Shape."
13. Tommy Doyle's comics honestly sound pretty awesome. I would read "Laser Man." Looking forward to his solo debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2040.
14. Lester, the dog that annoys Annie, literally smells dead dog on Michael. That's why he's freaking out about what's outside. I've never considered that before. Poor buddy.
15. Ben Tramer's last act in life is learning that Laurie Strode has a crush on him. He then promptly puts on a Michael Myers-esque outfit and then gets hit by a cop car and burned alive in Halloween 2. His high school senior superlative will be "Most likely to have the most ironic demise, like, ever."
16. It bugs me so much that no one is actually watching much of The Thing (the original, not Carpenter's later remake) in this movie. They go make popcorn and carve jack-o-lanterns and pick up Lindsey and then go back to finish the movie. But they missed half of it! Yeah, I admit that I'm being a ridiculous movie nerd here, but I just don't see how they ever plan to enjoy their classic horror films if they don't even watch most of them.
17. This movie should be shown in every film lighting and cinematography class in the world. I will always be in awe of the way John Carpenter uses Michael's mask like a sort of horrific lamp in the dark.
18. Okay, Linda's friend Bob definitely just said "And then we rip Lindsey's clothes off" when describing what they're going to do together. But Lindsey is the little girl! What an awful creep! That dude absolutely deserved to be picked up and stabbed to a door. Ugh. I hate him.
19. The third act of this movie is basically a montage of shots that will embed themselves in the annals of horror movie history - Michael carrying Annie's body into the house, Bob getting stabbed to the wall, Michael under the sheet with the glasses on top.
Also, on that first one, John Carpenter using the music coming from The Thing on TV to intensify the mood when Tommy sees Michael carrying Annie is so ingenious. So much cooler than modern horror's constant insistence on "We'll take this nursery rhyme/innocent sounding old song and just play it slower when we need things to be spooky."
20. "Hey, Lonnie. Get yo' ass away from there." Good to see that that jerk Lonnie Elamb's Halloween night is not going well either.
21. Michael admiring Bob's body as it's stuck to the wall is another great touch. Separates the Halloween franchise from the Friday the 13th series where Jason just kind of crushes heads and then tosses the bodies to the side. For being such a, well, "shape," Michael Myers really knows how to give mass murders that personal touch.
22. Dr. Loomis is terrible at noticing important cars. If Michael had simply parked his car on a different street, this movie would be four more hours long, and 3 of those hours would be shots of Loomis looking in the wrong direction.
23. "The Shape Stalks Laurie" sounds a lot like the JAWS theme, with those repeated notes. I really, really love it, and it'll be fun to find out just how often versions of it get brought back throughout the series, if it gets brought back at all.
24. One of the tensest parts of the movie is when Michael is crossing the street to get to Laurie, who can't get the door open and is trying to wake up Tommy. Such a good use of space. The movie relies heavily on stuff being in the dark to gets its scares across, but it always makes sure that you know where exactly the non-Michael stuff is. Again, not something that you see a lot of anymore.
25.The sequence where Laurie in the closet while Michael bursts through the doors above her is so visceral. It's scenes like this that make a relatively non-gory movie like Halloween feel ten times more violent than it actually is.
26. I love that Loomis waits to shoot Michael until Michael puts his mask back on. Imagine how many times he has seen that face, and how many times he has considered the evil of it. Yet, he still can't bring himself to kill Michael until Michael "transforms" back into fully being The Shape.
27. And thus Halloween ends with a shot of Michael Myers' house and his heavy breathing and the theme on top of it. A perfect ending that still gives me goosebumps.
28. Overall, the original Halloween is not perfect. There are some moments of clumsy acting that weigh some scenes down, and the sheer fact that the movie was used as a blueprint for the next forty years of slasher films makes it feel irreversibly dated, even if that's not Halloween's fault. That said, it's a wonderful, wonderful movie that has so much to teach modern horror filmmakers.
Halloween II (1981)
1. Halloween II starts with the final scenes of the original, with a synthy cover of the Halloween theme playing during it. Also, different sound effects for Loomis' gun. That's a weird thing to change. Were the original gunshot sounds copyrighted? Were they just not gun-ey enough?
2. While I like the "Mr. Sandman" thing that plays over the end as kind of a "Haha, Laurie really got the dream man!" joke, playing a few seconds of it before abruptly switching to the actual movie, in the beginning, is very jarring.
3. "Is this some kind of joke? I've been trick or treated to death tonight."
"You don't know what death is."
And with that line, Loomis, played by kindly, 62-year-old British gentleman Donald Pleasance, finally becomes a true '80s action hero.
4. Nice to see Jamie Lee Curtis get top billing in this movie. Sadly, she doesn't get a lot to do, and spends most of the movie either lying in bed, looking bewildered and confused, or stumbling around, looking bewildered and confused.
5. The pumpkin opens up to reveal A SKULL. Really sets itself apart from the first film as a movie that has...more skulls.
6. There are so many dogs barking in the background of the early Michael Myers scenes of this movie. Again, this is partially because dogs are a good judge of character, and Michael Myers is an objectively terrible person/shape thing. However, this is mostly because that dude has killed two dogs so far and smells like dead dogs.
7. The girl getting stabbed, followed by the blood spurting up onto her chin, firmly entrenches Halloween II as an '80s slasher film. So much of this feels like it's trying to be both a Halloween movie AND a Friday the 13th movie.
8. The kid having bitten into the razor blade and having to hold a towel up to his face kind of put me off trick or treating forever. I WILL EAT BAGS OF MY OWN CANDY THAT I'VE BOUGHT DIRECTLY FROM TARGET, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
9. And so ends the ballad of Ben Tramer, the man with the worst idea for a Halloween costume in film history.
10. Jimmy has a crush on Laurie, and you'd think that he'd play a bigger part in the action. But no, he mostly just looks at Laurie and then slips in blood and knocks himself unconscious. The only character with an active role in this movie is Michael, really. Loomis comes close, but he's just following Michael around the whole time.
11. Loomis gives a CliffNotes version of Michael's backstory to another policeman once Sheriff Brackett yells at him and then exits the movie entirely.
12. Are we supposed to assume that Myers walked all the way to the hospital? If he doesn't indeed have some kind of teleportation power, that means that he's just walking past Radio Shacks and K-Marts, hoping that no one stops to question the obscene amount of human and dog blood that he's covered in.
13. Budd's song about "pie" is the exact thing I mentioned earlier about horror films not really building up characters but instead focusing on certain cartoonish character traits. I have no idea what Budd is actually like, but this song illustrates that he's dirty and says pervy things a lot, which is apparently enough to go on before he gets murdered.
14. There's a long sequence that follows the night guard character as he investigates the hospital. He eventually takes a hammer claw to the head. Reminds me of the officer in Friday the 13th Part 2 that, after a long sequence, also gets a hammer claw to the head. Both came out in 1981. Neat.
15. Loomis, standing outside of the old Myers house, gives another version of the "I met this six-year-old child..." speech from the first one. Though the original Halloween only came out three years before AND was a huge success AND this movie started by replaying the last three minutes of it, Halloween II seems constantly convinced that you know absolutely nothing about Michael Myers or what is going on.
16. I do like all of the shots of the deserted hospital corridors. However, this movie's atmosphere tends to switch on and off every few scenes.
17. This movie is mostly remembered as the one where everyone learns that Laurie is Michael's sister, but even here, it feels really halfhearted, like the filmmakers aren't even truly sure that they want it in the movie. We get a single flashback, some dialogue about it, and boom. Giant, series-altering twist accomplished.
18. Budd and Karen sneaking off to the hot tub to get to a passionate first base is the introduction of the classic "Let's sneak off and get killed so that the main characters still won't know what's going on" trope into the Halloween series.
19. Karen kisses Michael's hands before realizing that it's actually Michael and not Budd and that hand must taste so gross and I'm sorry, but I'm just not over this dead dog thing yet.
20. Did Michael draw a picture of a family in crayon, stab a knife through it, and then write "SAMHAIN" in blood on the wall BEFORE the events of this movie? Is that what he was up to while hanging around Tommy Doyle and the school in the first film?
21. Also, immediately after the discovery of the drawing and the knife, Loomis is "ordered" back to Smith's Grove, the mental asylum where Michael was apparently "raised" by the evil Cult of Thorn. I don't want to say that I'm a huge fan of the Cult of Thorn thing that shows up more heavily in Halloween 5 and 6, but it doesn't come totally without precedent. See, I told you. THE FAN THEORIES ARE COMING, Y'ALL.
22. Dr. Mixter getting the syringe in his eye, followed by Janet getting a syringe to the head. Not as simple as the ol' strangle 'n' cut from the first movie, but definitely brutal.
23. Nurse Jill gets a scapel to the back and before Michael raises her up. In Halloween H20, Adam Arkin's character basically gets the same treatment. Callback? Ya know? Probably not.
24. This film does a pretty good job with playing with the score of the first one, especially "The Shape Stalks Laurie." It feels more bombastic here, and a little messier sometimes, but it's still effective.
It also does a good job with maintaining a pace that feels true to the original — a lot of slower sequences that give the terror some time to breathe. This kind of thing gets fewer and farther between as the series will go on.
25. Laurie manages to shoot Michael in both of his eyes. So if you're wondering how she's so good with a gun in the 2018 Halloween, it's apparently a running theme in this franchise.
26. Not a lot of this movie is memorable, at least not in the same way that most of the first one is, but the image of burning, trudging Michael is undeniably awesome and has always stuck with me.
27. Overall, Halloween II seems like the obvious slasher film evolution from the first film. There's more blood, more bodies, and a more explosive ending.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
1. I haven't seen this movie in years, though I've been meaning to. Recently, there's been sort of a movement online that proclaims this to be one of the best Halloween films. That's much higher praise than when I was a teen, and the only thing I heard about it was "BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE MICHAEL IN IT."
2. I love these opening credits. Kind of reminds me of the opening credits of Batman (1989), where the valleys that you're gliding through are eventually revealed to be the edges of the bat symbol. Except here, it's a pumpkin, so it's the spookiest "Oh, this is a shape" reveal of all.
3. The score is done by Alan Howarth and original Halloween composer/director John Carpenter. You know, even with a lot of modern horror films using 80s-style synth to create a nostalgic, throwback vibe, only John Carpenter has ever managed to sound like John Carpenter.
4. Nancy Kyes, "Annie" from the original Halloween, plays Tom Atkins' ex-wife in this movie, and I'm not sure how old we're supposed to think she is. She's basically dressed like Mary Todd Lincoln, so I think the movie is implying that she's old and crotchety while Tom Atkin's character is still playful and awkwardly slapping nurse butts. However, that doesn't really work, considering that Nancy looks pretty much like the teenager she played in Halloween.
5. In Halloween III, you see the trailer for the original Halloween in a bar. Aside from all the wall breaking, I wish there was an empty bar that I could watch Halloween in right now. Yes, I'm currently writing this at 7:31AM, but that changes nothing.
6. Tom Atkins' Doc Challis character is constantly having to talk his ex-wife down over the phone. He's all like "I GOT IMPORTANT STUFF TO DO. I'LL TAKE CARE OF THE KIDS LATER," as he buys beer and goes on an impromptu road trip with a dead man's grieving, attractive young daughter.
7. WELP. He's making out with the dude's daughter now. Eat it, EX-WIFE. I'll take the kids trick or treating LATER.
8. It's telling that this is the only Halloween film with a definitive male lead. The others either have a female lead or a male/female co-lead. Most Halloween films are based around a faceless man tracking down a female survivor, as another dude (usually the faceless man's psychologist) runs around and yells at people, not really accomplishing much.
9. "Relax. I'm older than I look." I know that line is meant to be sexy, but, ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
10. The special effects make up on the woman in the hotel's face after she's been shot by the Silver Shamrock chip's laser is both extravagant and horrifying.
11. The other nurse is doing a favor for Challis in exchange for "dinners." Is there anyone in this entire movie that doesn't want to sleep with Challis? I half expect this movie to end with Challis making tender, satisfying love to the head of the Silver Shamrock factory, thus avoiding the apocalypse through pure eroticism.
12. Dan O'Herlihy as the evil Cochran is by the far the best role in the film. He's so charismatic and so good. I just want to watch him give speeches and laugh broadly about things for 90 minutes.
13. The Silver Shamrock "1 more day 'til Halloween" thing is a super inventive way to build tension. In a movie that has a lot of ups and downs, I really dig it.
14. I really like seeing what different filmmakers think androids are filled with. In Alien, they're filled with this milky white substance. In Halloween III, it's a yellow honey mustard sauce.
15. The giant, monolithic stone in the middle of the warehouse lab with all of the sparse computers and technicians around is such a cool set design choice.
16. Along with the Silver Shamrock theme, the kid getting his head melted by the pumpkin mask is the most iconic part of this film. I've seen clips of it on countless "horror movie marathon" trailers, and it's still creepy to this day. Also, the rattlesnake that pops out of the mask looks furious. He is not a fan of being a side character in Halloween III.
17. The montage of the kids in different states and cities coming home to watch the Silver Shamrock thing is also very foreboding and very cool.
18. If I had seen this movie in high school, every theater audition monologue that I would've given from then on would've been Cochran's "You really don't know much about Halloween" monologue.
19. In the first film, they used the music/background noises from The Thing to enhance the mood of a Halloween scene. In this, they use the score from the original Halloween playing on a nearby TV to enrich the atmosphere of a Halloween III scene. So glad that this happened again.
20. The ending to this movie is kind of all over the place, but I do appreciate its dedication to the art of mutilated robot parts grabbing at Tom Atkins.
21. Overall, I'm not really on Team "Actually Halloween III Is One Of The Best Ones." I think it's a very average movie that has a handful of very, very cool-looking moments and a terrific score. I'd put it around the middle in my ranking of the series.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
1. For a long time, I didn't know that there was a Halloween 4. Thus, the Halloween fan fiction that I wrote started with "Halloween 4" and it had the tagline "DRINK. DANCE. DIE." It featured Michael Myers attacking a prom that was taking place in October for some reason. Now, is the movie better than my fan fiction? Eh...yes. Yes, it most certainly is.
2. I dig the start of this movie, with the shots of the rural, creepy farmland in the fall. Then we immediately move to the nervous, foreboding scene in the hospital, followed by the attack in the ambulance and the doctor getting a thumb through the forehead. After a seven-year Michael Myers absence, this film definitely brings him back in style.
3. They basically have the hospital attendant do a promo about the return of Michael Myers. Gets the necessary info out of the way without it feeling like bloated exposition.
4. I really like the look of bandage-head Michael. I wish he'd kept that for a while longer because the worst part about Halloween 4 is the mask. It's abysmal, and the scene where it keeps being illuminated by the lightning strikes does not do it any favors.
5. My in-fiction idea is that it's a knockoff mask. Like, after Halloween and Halloween II, the makers of the original mask would probably think "Well, we can't keep making these. We'll get bad press if we're known as the producers of the mask of the most infamous serial killer in the midwest." But that wouldn't stop knockoff products from being shoved into every dollar store and CVS Halloween section in the country.
6. Whether it's his role as Ernst Stavro Blofeld or Dr. Loomis, Donald Pleasence looks super cool with a facial scar.
7. The mechanic falling down to freak out Loomis isn't especially gory, but it is chilling. In fact, the entire scene at the auto shop is really, really well done. When Loomis turns around because he senses Michael's presence, and then offers to let Michael kill him if he'll leave Haddonfield in peace, I get goosebumps.
8. The kids at school are chanting "JAMIE'S AN ORPHAN," because Haddonfield has the worst school district in the country.
9. Danielle Harris' role as Jamie Lloyd is a super good example of child acting. I wish more modern blockbusters would take note of it, rather than trying to get the kid to be as insufferably cute as possible before having them scream at CGI dinosaurs.
10. The psychic link between Jamie and Michael will always be my jam. Reminds me of the link between Miki Saegusa and Godzilla in the '90s, Heisei-era Godzilla films.
11. The car full of cheerleaders invites Loomis for a ride, only to peel out and leave him at the last second. He then catches a ride in the most rusted truck in history, being driven by an insane priest. The dude cannot catch a break, though he seems to be fine with the priest's company.
12. Does Loomis have a job? Or is he just a full-time Michael Myers whisperer now?
13. Halloween costumes in movies are so elaborate. When I was a kid, I wore a gorilla mask and a sweater for about three years straight. I can't remember if it was my parents' idea, or if my King Kong phase just went on that long (And I think it might still be going.)
14. There's a relatively long wait until Myers starts hacking his way through Haddonfield. And by "relatively long," I mean that, in modern films, he probably would've killed most of the town around 15 minutes into the movie.
15. The death I most remember from the last time I watched this is the electrical engineer getting tossed into the machinery. Feels especially Friday the 13th-ey.
16. The "fall" in this movie has a big discrepancy. Like, the trees are still really green, but the sidewalks are covered in dead leaves of different colors. Filming took place in April, so this makes sense.
17. I'm interested to see where this subplot about all the drunk rednecks from the bar embarking on an impromptu Michael Myers hunt is gonna go. So far, they have unleashed about thirty rounds at a bush that shook once.
18. Turns out, they shot the wrong guy. You know what? I'm not that shocked.
19. I wish I could get an idea of the layout of this house that everyone has barricaded themselves in. But it's dark and the place seems enormous. A step down from the relatively normal house that was filled with ominous shadows and corners in the first film.
20. Kelly, in the middle of a massacre situation, wishes that the power would come back on so that she could have some "MTV while we wait for the cavalry." That's like saying "Man, I hope that I die in the next 30 seconds of this movie" towards the camera. And then Michael impales her with a shotgun.
21. Michael doesn't grab a butcher knife until the last act of the movie. Big change from Halloween II, when he broke into someone's house at the very beginning of the movie, just so he could retrieve his trademark knife.
22. I like when Halloween movies do a quick montage of places that Michael HAS been to show where he COULD be.
23. One of the coolest kills in the series: Michael, in the back of the truck, breaks the driver's side window and digs his hand into the neck of the driver. Brutal.
24. At the end of this movie, Michael, hanging on the roof of the car and then cartoonishly flying through the air after being hit by it, kind of turns into Mr. Bill.
25. Overall, this is probably one of the better Halloween installments, despite the mask being garbage and the thing about Jamie having a connection to Michael not really being set up well. I liked it more than I thought I would, though.
Halloween 5 (1989)
1. Ohhh, man. The opening credits are mixed in with quick flashes of glistening blades and knife sounds. This is definitely a horror movie that's gearing up for the '90s.
2. But then we see that the knife is just stabbing a pumpkin. You got us good, movie credits.
3. As Halloween II started with the last few minutes of Halloween, Halloween 5 starts with an abridged version of the ending of Halloween 4. Just in case you forgot about the ending of a movie that came out literally last year.
4. Michael escapes into a river, and you know the old Hollywood saying: If you want to keep up the mystery of a silent, invincible killer, you show him fumbling around in a river at the very beginning of his movie.
5. An old hermit finds Michael and, apparently not up-to-speed on the last ten years of news, decides to keep a masked Michael Myers in his abode for an entire year.
6. We first see the "Cult of Thorn" tattoo on his wrist here, along with a clear shot of Michael's new mask. It's not as bad as the last one, but it obviously doesn't fit in the slightest. The neck rubber is all flappy, like he's still trying to grow into it.
7. In the last year between Return and 5, Jamie and Michael's connection has progressed so that Jamie can apparently see everything Michael is doing. Again, I wish they'd done more to build this up in Return, but oh well.
8. When the police walk up to Rachel to reassure her about her dog, comical fart and horn sounds play. I'm not kidding.
9. Michael has gone from killing multiple dogs in the first film to just letting them out of the house in 5. It's an improvement, I will say.
10. Donald Pleasence talks about "hell" and "evil" and "Michael Myers" with such conviction. By this point in the series, he's mostly around to rave and then confront Michael in the third act, but he's just so good at it.
11. Mike, with his leather jacket and "YOU'RE KILLIN' ME, BABE. NO WAY WE'RE VISITING A LITTLE GIRL IN THE HOSPITAL" attitude makes him my least favorite Halloween boyfriend. I'd take Budd from Halloween II before him, and Budd was the worst.
12. Okay, so Loomis has done nothing but shout at this traumatized little girl. A nurse had to ask him to calm down. I hope that it's intentional that, in each film, he grows more and more obsessed and more and more insane.
13. So, Loomis visits the "Myers house" and, man, is it not the original home. It doesn't even try to look like the original. It's a totally different house, which kind of implies that Loomis has gone so nuts that he's storming into the wrong houses and just begging Michael to show up.
14. There's a bunch of shots from over Michael's shoulder as he stands behind bushes and trees watching people. And it doesn't really work because, again, the mask looks like it's trying to turn into a floatation device.
15. The sequence where Tina gets in the car, not knowing that Michael is the driver, has gone on for what feels like forever. This movie feels like it has a handful of cool ideas, but it can't quite structure itself properly and it constantly bogs itself down in goofiness.
16. They just had the second "Oh no, it's Michael Myers....wait, it's just a guy wearing a Michael Myers mask!" fake-out in two movies, and the third overall in the series.
17. And now the second "Oh no, it's Michael Myers....wait, it's just a guy wearing a Michael Myers mask!" fakeout in a single movie. That makes four. Jesus, Halloween 5. Get it together.
18. Michael is now trying to run down people in a car. This franchise has come a long way in just five movies.
19. Loomis has gone from believing that Michael is pure evil, and a shell of a human being, to saying that Michael is full of rage and is killing to get rid of that rage. I think I like the first one better.
20. There's even a thorn symbol on one of the walls of the Myers house. Who drew that? Is Michael just finger painting his cult symbols? That's really gonna hurt the resale value.
21. Loomis is just chatting with Michael, who has his knife raised in front of his chest like an idiot. Of course, he eventually slashes Loomis and tosses him, but again, it's like the movie has all of these ideas and no way in mind to pull them off effectively.
22. Oh, he did kill the dog. And he kept it in a surprisingly well-kept attic area. Never mind about the compliment from earlier.
23. Jamie asks to see Michael's face, and he cries openly. He then gets mad and throws a wooden box in a tantrum. Loomis later shoots him with a tranquilizer gun after setting up a Wile E. Coyote net trap in the house.
24. And then, the Man in Black, who has spent the entire movie walking around town, kills all of the police officers in slow-motion, and helps Michael escape from prison. It's a fitting ending, if only because the rest of the movie is so all over the place, too.
25. Overall, Halloween 5 feels about an hour longer than it is. I don't hate it, but I think there are a lot of problems with how they decided to put it together. Feels like kind of a wasted opportunity. I know that I probably can't be too harsh on a slasher franchise that's five films in, but I love this series, and I really want it to be good. On to the next one.
Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995)
1. I haven't seen this movie since my grandma rented it at Hollywood Video back in 2001. She had no idea what she was getting into, and I thank her for that.
2. The hints that we got from Halloween 5 that the Halloween series would burst into the '90s with music video esque camera work and editing have come to fruition.
3. STARRING AND INTRODUCING PAUL STEPHEN RUDD. Is he doing the opening narration about Michael Myers' backstory? That's cute. These movies are desperately concerned with you having forgotten about what's going on in them.
4. So, this new remix of the Halloween theme is about the furthest we've gotten from John Carpenter's original, but I kinda dig it. I also like the fact that, after two straight movies, they've finally nailed down a mask for Michael that's not embarrassing.
5. So, only a few minutes into this thing and we already have a Myers chase scene. He's impaled a woman's skull on a spike and twisted a dude's head around. It's the first time since Halloween II that this series has decided "You know what? No slow opening. Let's just get this Myers kid in the game."
6. We hear a radio program about people who are attracted to Michael Myers. This probably sounded edgy and ludicrous in 1995, but I bet if I look hard enough, I can now find a few "MICHAEL MYERS IS DADDY" Twitter accounts.
7. I'm going to get tired of this "scene transition by way of knife flash and echo-ey noise" thing pretty fast.
8. So, we're getting a lot of exposition through the radio program. Apparently, Michael Myers has killed the Haddonfield economy and turned it into a ghost town. I really like this detail because it makes sense. I would not move anywhere that has the advertisement "Beautiful midwestern town. Great place to raise your children. Possibility that you and your whole family will be killed by an unkillable psychopath that returns every fall."
9. And Michael has escalated from chasing down people in a car to participating in an actual car chase. I would say that's silly, but after watching six of these movies in a row, I honestly kind of expected it.
10. Michael impaling Jamie Lloyd on the farming equipment is definitely brutal but feels unearned. This was her trilogy, and the movie is just like "We got this Paul Rudd guy, so WE'RE GOOD."
11. So, we gave Rob Zombie so much grief for his depiction of a dysfunctional family, and how ridiculous it all was in terms of where the franchise had come from, but the father of the main female protagonist Kara just hit his child.
12. I totally forgot about the fact that Paul Rudd is supposed to be this haunted man that was attacked by Michael as a child and has spent years waiting for him and obsessing over him. I just thought that he one of the typical "Good dude that gets caught up in Michael stuff" person that the series is full of. I don't know if he pulls it off, but at least it's a little more interesting.
13. Paul Rudd is currently sniffing blood in the sink of a public restroom. The star of Ant-Man, everyone.
14. A callback to the first movie that I actually appreciate: Tommy, who dropped his pumpkin in the first film, runs into a little kid and makes him drop his pumpkin.
15. The scene where Michael is chasing the mom has a funny moment: She tries to escape outside of the house that she lives in, but spends a few seconds looking surprised when she runs into the fence... of the house that she lives in.
16. Paul Rudd is now teaching Kara about runes. It feels a bit out of place in the Halloween series, but when you consider the fact that many slasher films have one detail too many "He's returning to kill us in the daytime... BECAUSE HE WORSHIPS THE MOON," this isn't that bad.
17. Another tie that this one has to Rob Zombie's Halloween: in the sixth Halloween, Barry Simms, the weird radio DJ, leads a Halloween party. In Rob Zombie's Halloween II, Uncle Seymour Coffins, the weird horror host, leads a Halloween party.
18. Michael picked the abusive Dad up with his knife (a fave tactic of his), rams him into an electrical box, and shocks him so hard that the Dad's head explodes. That's both karma AND science.
19. Car chase aside, this is the first film since Halloween II that feels like it really nails Michael Myers and the way he moves and reacts.
20. Now they have like a metal version of "The Shape Stalks Laurie" playing and I AM FOR IT.
21. Man, the reveal that Loomis' old friend Wynn is actually the organizer of the Thorn Cult is not well done. We see them talking for about one and a half scenes and then we're supposed to believe that it's a huge betrayal. But he just got here!
22. The end of this movie kind of falls apart, mainly because of all of the cutting and reshoots and rearranging that's been done. I'm watching the Theatrical Cut, but the Producers' Cut, while weirder, makes a whole lot more sense.
23. This is the second film in a row where Michael gets tricked by the ol' "Come here and get your family member so you won't expect us trying to beat the crap out of you in a second" maneuver.
24. Paul Rudd beats Michael's face in until he bleeds yellow goo. And then we hear Loomis scream off camera. The end. What happened? No idea. Oh well. Sorry, Donald Pleasence. You work at a place for years, break your back for them, and when you're done, they give you a watch and a pat on the back and don't even open the door for you on your way out.
25. Overall, this movie isn't bad. However, the theatrical cut, while trying to be more of a standard slasher film than the producers' cut, just can't escape from its weird, cult-and-runes building blocks. It's a movie that desperately wants you to believe it's a different movie.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
1. Yeah, the H20 thing takes a bit of thinking, but I hate that they felt the need to make the title longer with "20 Years Later" just to explain the first half of the title. It'd be like naming a movie "Batman: 'Cause He's A Man That Dresses Like A Bat, See?"
2. I always worry that I'm exaggerating how unlikable Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character is in this. I always feel like I'm gonna rewatch this and think, "You know, he's just being a weird teen. He's really not that bad." And then I watch him and man, he sucks.
3. We get a Loomis-soundalike narration AND some cops discussing Loomis' past AND a little bit about Laurie Strode through old newspaper clippings. It's like a Russian Nesting Doll of exposition.
4. Getting Jamie Lee Curtis back is a big deal. I think she was asked to participate in Halloween 4 but didn't because she wanted to establish herself more as a non-horror actress. But here (and with Halloween 2018) it seems like she really embraces it. I like that, and I'm so glad she gets more to do here than she did in Halloween II.
5. When I was a little kid, I thought Adam Arkin's boyfriend character was played by Ben Stein.
6. This is the second Halloween movie retcon, ignoring the last three films. The first? Well, they showed Halloween on TV during Season of the Witch, thus rendering it as either a fictional story or a very accurate documentary.
7. This is the jab of LL Cool J's one-two horror movie punch of the late '90s. In the next year, he'd go on to be in Deep Blue Sea.
8. How often do people drink full glasses of straight vodka in real life? I'm not a big vodka straight guy (though I do enjoy cranberry vodkas and vodka lemonades, don't @ me) but movies would have you believe that a regular person's drink of choice is just 5 shots of vodka poured into a glass with no ice.
9. I'm always surprised by how the basic durability of Michael Myers seems to change from movie to movie. In Halloween 4, he got punched by a teen and didn't react in the slightest. Here, a punch from Josh Hartnett almost puts him on his a**. Is it a discrepancy, or does Josh Hartnett's character just hit like a tank? For real, I've seen bullets do less to Michael than that haphazard punch.
10. I love the scene where Laurie sees Michael through the window.
11. I wish I had more to say about this movie because it's good, it's just not very interesting. I guess that's what happens when the previous three Halloween movies all tried for these weird plotlines and all had varying degrees of success. Here, the filmmakers and the cast are doing pretty well and, well, that's about all I can say.
12. The climax, after Laurie's boyfriend gets killed and it's just Laurie and Michael, has always felt really abrupt to me. Like it seems like they probably filmed more, but then cut it out.
13. I adore the scene of Michael flipping the tables back to try and find Laurie underneath them. It was cool to me in the 5th grade and it's cool to me now.
14. Laurie hijacks the ambulance, rolls it over on Michael, and then cuts his head off with an ax. Again, this movie feels so lean in comparison to the last two Halloween movies, especially. So streamlined.
15. Overall, this is one of my favorites. I don't have much to offer in terms of commentary but just know that if you don't feel like rewatching the original again, H20 is really serviceable and feels way shorter than it is.
Halloween Resurrection (2002)
1. And here we go. The end of the original series. I haven't seen this movie all the way through in over a decade, so maybe I'll discover that it's a lost gem, unappreciated in its time due to how subversive and thought-provoking it is.
2. Or maybe it'll suck. We'll see.
3. The first Halloween film of the 2000s has the "quietest" opening credits of them all. Just the cast and crew and a version of the Halloween theme playing over it.
4. The opening of this movie pulls the double duty of both explaining the plot of the franchise and then having to reveal that H20 didn't really end with Laurie cutting Michael's head off, but the head of a dude that Michael incapacitated and shoved his mask on.
5. Now Laurie Strode is in a sanitarium. And honestly, I kind of wish the whole movie was like this. Strode, spending years silent (just like her brother), and finally fortifying the sanitarium in preparation for Michael's imminent return. Basically, the first 15 minutes of the movie expanded to 90.
Sadly, we get "Michael attacks a reality show" instead.
6. The mask in Resurrection isn't bad. However, it feels like it's been altered to make Michael look more openly evil. Instead of the pale nothingness of the first mask, we get the mask equivalent of a villainous mustache twirl.
7. Laurie asks Michael "What took you so long?" Well, it's only been about four years since y'all's last meeting. Last time, he took 20. Not that this ruins anything, but Michael's actually being pretty timely.
8. And Laurie Strode dies. It's supposed to be a big moment, but considering she gets about four lines total in this movie, it's just the franchise tying up loose ends and trying to make it acceptable that Michael's now just content to kill the cast of a horror-themed The Real World.
9. Remember that "I want to watch MTV" line from Halloween 4? Imagine a whole movie that's made up of lines like that, except this time it's about the internet and the entertainment industry. That's Resurrection.
10. Busta Rhymes being so excited about kung-fu movies that he feels frustrated when someone knocks on his door and interrupts him makes up for every over-acting moment he has.
11. Once again, the fact that this movie was filmed in spring cuts the legs out from under the fall feel. Every tree and bush is green, while dead leaves are thrown in from the side and across the ground.
12. I hope that the thing about the condiments smelling fresh is explained later. Because otherwise, it implies that Michael regularly restocks his pantry with new herbs and spices.
13. I saw this movie in middle school, and like most movies that include big party scenes, it definitely set me up to be disappointed by high school gatherings (And by the number of parties that I was actually invited to.)
14. The only person with less to do in this movie than Jamie Lee Curtis is Tyra Banks. She sits and watches screens and then later dies. And she and Jamie Lee were the biggest faces on the poster!
15. Oh, she also drinks wine with Busta Rhymes, which is the dream.
16. Another callback to the first: The lead protagonist gets locked in a closet and someone's arm breaks through the door to get to her.
17. Also, why does Michael have such a high popped collar? Dude looks like frat boy Dracula.
18. What is the point of showing that there are all of these tunnels under the Myers house? Why does Myers need a bed or a stuffed toy with nails shoved in its eyes? What does this add? It doesn't change the fact that, now, apparently, Michael eats rats off of plates, lives in a basement on a mattress, and carries around the Hot Topic version of a teddy bear.
19. Michael has decapitated two people so far. I feel like that's notable-esque.
20. Another callback to the original, with Michael stabbing a dude to the wall. But this time, he uses THREE KNIVES instead of ONE. This ain't your grandpa's Halloween! Though you'll wish it was!
21. "TRICK OR TREAT, MOTHAF****." There it is. The line that should've been on the poster.
22. And boom, Michael's eyes open and the movie hints that there's totally gonna be a ninth Halloween. Ha. Got you good, movie.
23. Overall, Halloween Resurrection isn't a titanic failure, but after the first 15 minutes, it is the Halloween franchise on autopilot.
Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007)
1. It's time for the most divisive Halloween film. I feel like people have kind of made peace with RZ's Halloween II because of how weird it is, and how obvious it is that Rob Zombie gonna Rob Zombie, but the first one is probably gonna remain the most infamous horror reboot of all time for a while. Am I a fan? Yeah, a bit.
2. So, the beginning of the film definitely isn't subtle, as it's mostly a family yelling obscenities at each other until the film mercifully switches locations. A lot of people have told me that this is grating and awful, but I've had people who had terrible childhoods tell me that it wasn't too far off from what their lives were like.
3. The kid playing young Michael, Daeg Faerch, does an okay job in this movie. What's especially effective are his growls and screams that he emits when he gets down to killin'.
4. I think Malcolm McDowell is a great choice for Loomis. He's got such expressive eyes and switches back and forth between caring and obsessive really well.
5. Man, the musical choices for this film are all over the place. It's definitely a post-Tarantino arrangement, but the Halloween films (and in RZ's work as a whole,) there seems to be less irony. And I appreciate that, until, well, something like "Love Hurts" plays and totally takes you out of the movie.
6. The most effective death scene in the movie is Michael killing the bully with the branch. The makeup effects and the way it keeps cutting to the trees are super memorable and I only wish that the murders committed by Adult Michael had this much mood or impact.
7. So, the sister's boyfriend is the first person to wear the iconic Myers mask in this series. Though, I've always wondered what stores would even market that particular mask as? "Pale Dude"? It's definitely not the William Shatner mask it was based on. Or is it a William Shatner mask that got messed up during production and just never got the recall? I really feel like this binge-watching journal is doing important work.
8. The scenes of Loomis trying to reach Michael are genuinely disappointing, mainly because we know how all of this ends. The first half of Rob Zombie's Halloween is not bad filmmaking. I think it can be rough in places, but it's the second best movie that he's ever made (after The Devil's Rejects.)
9. However, Michael stabbing the nurse in the throat with the fork is legitimately unnerving. That scene has always stuck out to me as Zombie really nailing what he set out to do.
10. Michael escapes the sanitarium and runs into Big Joe Grizzly, played by the iconic Ken Foree. I love this character. How did he get that nickname? What makes a person look at porn magazines while they're taking a burrito dump in a truck wash station? Also, he puts up a pretty good fight with Michael, despite literally being mid-turd.
11. It's always been dumb to me that Michael finds his old mask and knife underneath the floorboards of his house. Wouldn't the police take that with them? Or did Michael put them under the floorboards before the police arrived? Did he plan to come back years later? Am I supposed to have so many questions?
12. The second half of RZ's Halloween is a lot like John Carpenter's Halloween, except with more cursing and more people smashing through things. Michael is less of a "shape" in this movie and more of a bulldozer, just proving that Haddonfield's construction crews are consistently inept.
13. I always found it weird that Laurie never figured out that Michael was her brother in this movie. I know that RZ's Halloween gets criticized a lot for explaining Michael's backstory, but to Laurie, he's still just an unkillable fiend chasing after her for no reason. Really makes you think. Maybe.
14. It's also a weird choice to keep the Annie character alive for the second movie. I mean, don't get me wrong, Danielle Harris is awesome and I wish she was in most horror movies. But her role in these two movies is to get beaten nearly to death in this one, and then get beaten all the way to death in II.
15. I also dig the fact that Loomis hangs out with Laurie for a while. They're the two main characters, and in the original films, they were in the same room for about five minutes.
16. Michael crushing Loomis' skull makes me wonder if that's what turned him into such a jackass in II. I'm no scientist, but I feel comfortable with saying that that's the reason. The books and the fame didn't go to his head, he just has skull shards in his brain. See? Now he's almost sympathetic. Almost. Almost.
17. I think RZ probably knew that people would complain about the slow intensity of the original being replaced by his faster pacing, and that's why he made the scene of Michael stalking Laurie around the house feel like it lasts for a year.
18. I dig the ending of this film. She shoots Michael in the face, we see some baby pictures, and that's it. That could be the end of the series. I'd be fine with that, honestly.
19. What I don't care so much about is the Myers family home videos playing over the credits. I get why they're there, but they don't help.
20. Overall, I like this movie, even though the first half is loud and jarring, and the second half is loud and poorly paced. But as an attempt to give the Batman Begins treatment to the Halloween franchise, and compared to Resurrection, it's a mild success.
Rob Zombie's Halloween II (2009)
1. We're finally here. The last movie.
2. So, I'm not sure what to think about the hospital sequence. It's revealed to be a dream sequence, which is kind of an "Aha! You thought we were just gonna remake the original Halloween II! Fooled you!" But it does have a lot of great special gore effects.
3. Man, I love both of the actors that play the morgue van drivers, but their dialogue is so Rob Zombie'd that I'm glad when they're sliced out of the picture.
4. "COW! COW!" The van hits a cow. I'm not sure how often cows get in the road, considering that fences indeed exist, but as long as it means I don't have to hear any more of this dialogue, I'm fine with it.
5. So, I don't hate Michael's ghost mom showing back up. I don't like it, but I also think it kind of plays with the idea that Michael, after being shot in the head by his sister at the end of the last movie, is experiencing hallucinations. So that means both Michael and Loomis are acting this way due to head trauma. Neat theory, me!
6. Brad Dourif, despite the fact that he's mostly known for playing guys like Chucky and Wormtongue, is so good as the caring dad here. I would watch Cat Ballou with you, Brad Dad.
7. Remember when I talked about Loomis being sympathetic? I take it back.
8. So, the dream imagery in all of this feels like a test run for RZ's Lords of Salem. Though I do kind of like the aesthetics here more, mainly because it's Halloween season stuff.
9. I wish Laurie's friends got more to do here. They're mostly around to give Myers a higher body count (which he doesn't need because he murders most of the cast of this movie.)
10. Man, I always forget how gruesome the death scenes at the strip club are. The bouncer gets his head stomped on, the owner gets his arm broken and the bone sticks out, and the stripper gets her face smashed into the mirror/wall. Wayne Toth's makeup effects are the star of this film.
11. Oh hell yeah! It's Margot Kidder!
12. Laurie trying to explain to her therapist what's going on, but she can't quite get it out, and she just gets more and more frustrated with herself until she starts yelling at the therapist is so sad. I think Zombie makes a sincere effort to look into what Michael Myers-induced PTSD would be like, but it's so layered in his hellbilly style that it gets lost.
13. And now Michael has his best look in both of the Zombie films: the torn mask. I think it looks awesome.
14. Weird Al has shown up and Michael Myers just flipped a car over. Halloween II ain't so bad, y'all.
15. I remember seeing Brad Dourif with the rifle in the trailer and getting so, so hyped for this movie. And then he doesn't really get to do anything with it despite being the only cast member from both films that survives.
16. Loomis becoming a good guy all of a sudden is really abrupt. However, I do like the fact that he and Michael and Laurie all kind of die together.
17. I've said it once and I will say it again: If I was a seven-foot gargantuan psychopath murderer, and I could only say one word, it would probably be "DIE!"
18. "Love Hurts" returns, this time in a cover form. You know, I really liked this version of the song back when Halloween II came out, and now? Eh, it's whatever.
19. Overall, I think Halloween II is pretty solid, even if its message and theme and plot and, well, most things about it get drowned out by Zombie's sensibilities. But the Zombie Halloween films are not failures. I'm glad that he did his own thing rather than try to stay faithful to the John Carpenter movies. I've seen a lot of half-baked references to the original (with the second half of Zombie's first film being the worst perpetrator) and I would much rather have the wildness of RZ's Halloween II than anymore "Hey, I watched the first Halloween, too!" scenes.
20. I totally forgot to talk about the deaths of those redneck hunters. That dude got his eyes slashed out! Sick! Rob Zombie's Halloween II might be one of my favorite Halloween movies.
21. I'm not sorry.