One of the problems in today’s discourse — on anything, be it politics, pop culture or even what the best tasting fast food might be — is mired in the fact that not only does everyone have an opinion, but everyone now has a way to broadcast that opinion. So for the next few weeks, you’re going to see a wide variety of opinions on this movie, whether it’s from people who are assured that it’s the worst movie in the series — if not the worst movie ever, if you believe some people — to the best sequel to the series and a film that takes “big swings” to actually make a surprising entry in a series of films that has already hit 13 with this new release.
Watching this movie last night and then reading the social media discourse that resulted, I was left with several questions:
Is different better?
Is this arguably a good movie?
Building on that, is this a good Halloween movie?
Has anyone working on this movie — with the obvious people like those who were in the actual movie — ever seen the first Halloween?
Have they ever seen a movie before?
Speaking of that movie, I am old enough to remember just how upset people were when it came out. Sure, it’s been critically reevaluated — something that others feel will happen someday with this movie — but at the time, it was beyond hated.
There are some that say that this movie will be much like the third installment, one that people will come around to liking, an acquired taste that eventually people will discover that they really do like.
The problem is that that takes us back to the argument that I started three hundred words ago: nobody changes their mind any longer. No one argues a position. That’s because positions are predetermined and no one debates. They just soapbox and refuse to listen to anyone from any other side.
Halloween Ends is not.
It’s a movie made by five writers, all of whom came to the first story session with their own ideas of what the story would be about, then got into a fight and their mothers had to be called in, who told them that they were all special but they needed to learn an important lesson in working together by trying to get all of their ideas to work in one idea.
Here are the many movies that make up Halloween Ends:
- The town of Haddonfield has been haunted by the murders that have happened there over the years and as a result, people have started killing one another and themselves. This idea stops after the montage that introduces it.
- Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) accidentally kills a kid he’s babysitting and stays within his small town, dealing with the anger and resentment of the people who live there. He finds love — doomed, tragic love — with someone who might understand his pain, Allyson Nelson (Andi Matichak), who survived the death of her parents at the hands of Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle).
- After stating that the sequels were all horrible movies, a team of filmmakers take a whole bunch of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and have Michael Myers/The Shape (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle) hiding out in a storm sewer along with some homeless folks, not to mention the black convertible that comes directly from that movie. Despite never being related to Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), he still recovers and hunts her down, even though she has moved to a new house that is not his childhood home, nor is it near the magical window that was suggested to be why he killed in the last movie.
- An evil radio tower has beamed the messages that has caused Michael Myers/The Shape (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle) to be a killer for forty years begins to influence a teenager who hangs out at the radio station, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), and he takes on the powers and abilities of the killer. According to leaked scripts, this was actually where the movie really was going, as the radio tower was added to Halloween Kills via CGI and spoken about in the commentary track as integral to the mythology of Haddonfield. Supposedly, this movie was going to have Michael killed by being impaled on the tower twenty minutes into the movie and his powers going into Corey.
- A confused young man named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) is unsure of his sexuality and expresses his uncertainty through violence. Despite a potential relationship with Allyson Nelson (Andi Matichak), he keeps heading to the cruise spot on town, bringing other men to watch Michael Myers/The Shape (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle) have their way with them, then bringing him to the outside world where his impotence keeps him from having sex with a nurse (Michele Dawson), leaving him pawing at a glass window while The Shape easily penetrates her. Also at times it seems that through poor filmmaking that Michael is riding on the back of his motorcycle. Also also he lives with a mother (Joanne Baron) who belittles and slaps him when she isn’t kissing him full on the lips and works for his junkyard-owning father (Rick Moose) who just wants to watch Hard Target and is given to saying things like, “I hope you find love, son.” PS: When this line was said, I laughed like Max Cady for a full minute. A loud, joyous, braying laugh at one of the absolute worst lines in the history of movies that I have seen, one so poorly placed that it had to be satire if intended and sheer ineptitude if not.
- A soap opera about the town of Haddonfield, a place that unlike any of the other versions of the story only has one convenience store, one bar and one restaurant. There, everyone will come into conflict with one another:
- Mrs. Allen (Candice Rose), the mother of Jeremy, who accidentally died when Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) kicked him off a stairwell while babysitting him. She has never changed her clothes for at least two years, still dressing in the same flapper costume she was wearing that same Halloween. Or worse, she still celebrates Halloween and still wears the same costume that she wore the night her son died and both ideas are both very dark and also very dumb.
- Mr. Allen (Jack William Marshall) who is trying to forgive Corey for the death of his son and keeps trying to pick him up on the way from work and worries that he has no idea what to say.
- Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards) — note not Lindsay Wallace as the initial credits misspelled — the survivor of the Michael Myers murders when she was a kid, which made her lifelong friends with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) when she isn’t working her two jobs: door to door Tarot reader and owner of the only bar in town.
- Allyson Nelson (Andi Matichak), the survivor of a series of murders that killed her parents, boyfriend and friends, but who now works at Haddonfield Memorial — man, is Fright Rags going to make a million bucks selling those scrubs or what? — and is vying for a promotion that instead goes to a nurse (Michele Dawson) who is sleeping with their boss Dr. Mathis (Michael O’Leary), who has his whole home wired for Alexa and plays “Tell Me with Your Eyes (Just Be You)” by Rob Galbraith before he does some horizontal mambo with the much younger redhead nurse. She also might be in love with Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) despite meeting him once yet she shares that she has always had a psychic connection with him. She kind of wants to leave town but feels responsible for her grandmother.
- Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is an older women who has finally moved on from the death of her friends forty years ago and the death of her daughter by embracing therapy, getting sober and working to become a positive influence in the life of her granddaughter Allyson Nelson (Andi Matichak), which includes setting her up with a young man named Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell). She also is in love with Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton), a police officer who has also been impacted by the events of the past and now studies Japanese and yearns to see cherry blossoms. However, she’s haunted by people in the town who have not forgiven her, like Sondra (Diva Tyler), who was put in a wheelchair by Michael Myers/The Shape (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle), who also killed her husband when they were just trying to eat cheese, drink wine and fly a drone inside their house.
- A gang of miscreants led by Terry (Michael Barbieri), whose father does not love him. They are all members of the toughest kids in town, the Haddonfield Marching Band, as we have already learned through all of the now non-canon sequels that the children of Haddonfield are the absolute worst human beings who will remind you that your uncle was the boogeyman and smash your pumpkin. He is joined by Billy (Marteen), who looks like Ninja from Die Antwoord, Stacy (Destiny Mone) and Margo (Joey Harris).
- WURQ The Verge, is the only radio station in town. It’s run by Willy the Kid (Keraun Harris), who not only owns the property but is mean to anyone who stands on its grounds and is given to incite paranoia in the town by talking loudly all day long. He enjoys eating Chinese food and has a secretary who looks like a mail lady.
All of those movies have been thrown into a film that has basically a Michael Myers cameo, strobing moments that nearly broke my brain, sleepovers in an abandoned house between a meet cute couple where one of them killed a kid, a decent scene in the junkyard between Corey and his tormentors, a supposed extended role for Kyle Richards that lasts as long as Michael is in this movie and a plot that’s more Christine than Halloween (Corey’s name comes directly from that movie, he works in a junkyard and he has the exact same outfit on as Arnie when you first see him in that film).
Jamie Lee Curtis claimed that this movie would be “shocking” and “make people very angry.”
I mean, that seems like a reason to make a movie. That said, I’ve always loved Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 because the audience expected more of the same and got exactly what Tobe Hooper and L. M. Kit Carson wanted to unleash upon filmgoers. The difference, again, is that that movie is actually well-made and has some things to say.
This is the third movie in a trilogy that has no right being a trilogy. The first tries to erase the sequels while having moments from all of them. The second turns Michael into Jason, starting with him killing an entire brigade of firefighters. And then there was this, which again, is a whole bunch of movies fighting to figure out what they want to be.
There are so many people saying this is brilliant because it subverts what should be expected. Now, for those that want Laurie Strode’s story to end on her own terms, this movie is a success. To me, the series is not about her, but about the darkness that exists within small town America exemplified by a masked killer that has no emotion and no reason for what it does.
The idea that one mistake sends Corey stumbling down the left hand path to evil is a good one. It’s an idea better given to another film and perhaps not one associated with this franchise. Actually, the John Carpenter and Debra Hill idea of ending the franchise with the second movie and having each new installment be self-contained was a very good one.
Green claimed he was done with horror and then Blumhouse asked if he wanted to remake The Exorcist, which is the real horror here.
Look, I get it. After making thirteen of these movies, what do you do? But this one — there’s no suspense. There’s no stalking. There’s no simplicity, as the first movie is a very basic thrill ride that keeps delivering watch after watch. This learns no lessons from that film.
Some other notes:
- At the end of the movie, everyone in Haddonfield has a big procession with The Shape’s body tied to a car, then dumps him in an industrial grinder like one of those YouTube shredder videos. If you just moved to this town, wouldn’t you be like, “What is going on? Why are these people driving a body to a junkyard? Who said this was OK?”
- The black sheriff and little mouthy kid from the first one all came back and only I clapped.
- Blah blah they used something close to the Halloween 3: Season of the Witch font.
- Laurie’s book has the worst title ever: Stalkers, Savior and Samhain. Except that, you know, that scene where Samhain is on the chalkboard is no longer canon.
- Laurie is still learning how to use that microwave, huh?
- This movie is seriously the most fan service sledgehammer BS ever. That awkward grocery store scene with the Muzak version of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” was embarrassing filmmaking.
- That “Love lives today” graffiti on the bridge was dumb too.
- You can stab an angry young man in the throat and he won’t die, but a seventy-year-old man can still kill him.
- This movie flirts with the supernatural nature of the mask and never decides to explain it.
- Seriously, why does everyone in town blame Laurie for Michael?
- Activia mist give you superpowers because Laurie somehow survives a knitting needle in the neck.
John Carpenter gets more money to buy weed and video games.
David Gordon Green gets to keep making movies.
Jason Blum confirmed there will be more films, because Malek Akkad has a clause prohibiting Michael Myers to be killed. You know, despite him getting shredded like documents not headed for Mur-A-Lago.
As for me, I have to write an apology letter to Rob Zombie and Busta Rhymes.