Trading Places: Halloween Review
If you know me on any personal level you know that when it comes to horror movies I am the patron saint of Michael Myers. The original was released 2 years before I was born and since I was in single digits I have watched the Halloween movies and it is the one horror franchise that I hang my hat on. When it was announced that Danny McBride and David Gordon Green were writing a new Halloween and that it would be a direct sequel to the first movie, including tossing out John Carpenter's own Halloween 2 (which Carpenter has gone on record saying he is not a fan of), I was understandably intrigued.
So now through various sequels we are in 3 separate realities when it comes to Michael; the original, Halloween 2 with other sequels 4, 5 and 6, then the second reality comes after Halloween 2 with H20 and Resurrection and now we have a third with 1978's Halloween and 2018's Halloween as a direct follow-up. Confusing? If you are a horror movie or comic book fan it is normal. Also, I am not counting Zombie's 2 films as another reality. They are more of a coke driven lucid dream. I like the first but the second can fuck the fuck off.
Halloween does a great job of mixing old horror tropes with modern takes. Yeah there are still girls that babysit in 2018 and they invite their friends over to get high after the kid goes to bed and of course it is podcasters that start a new murder spree dredging up old crimes. The film walks a fine line between homage to the past while looking at the present and possible future. Michael and the Strode family are forever linked and now it has passed from Laurie to the next 2 generations.
The gore is at the right level for a modern horror movie. It ranges from simple stabbings to gruesome head crushing while never venturing into "torture porn" territory that some horror offerings think they need.
Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie is the best representation of what a real person would have went through after such an event. She has failed marriages, estranged from her daughter and granddaughter and has extreme agoraphobia. The murder of her friends when she was a teenager has completely fucked up her life as it should have. But here is the thing about Laurie Strode; while she has allowed Michael Myers to take over every aspect of her life, she has sacrificed all of that willingly in preparation for him coming back. Sure, it may never happen, but if it does she will be ready. She is scared yet resolved, affected yet unyielding. So when the day comes that he does come for her she knows she will become the hunter. And that plays out in the movie superbly.
John Carpenter famously returns to do the soundtrack and proves he as adept as ever creating a tense setting. The Halloween theme is prevalent throughout but he interjects new creations using bass and keyboard sounds that show he still has not lost anything in 40 years. Director David Gordon Green said his involvement was integral and the soundtrack is the strongest case for that.
Carpenter did not think he was changing movie history when he made a low budget horror film 40 years ago. Who could have ever thought that what was supposed to be a film made quickly to do a short theater run and maybe make a small profit would be what kicked off an entire genre of movies? Now luckily with the love and care of Danny McBride and David Gordon Green fans new and old can see why Michael Myers and Laurie Strode are forever linked in the lexicon of cinema and pop culture.
No Halloween fans will ever toss away the sequels. They are there for good or bad. What this Halloween does it give the perfect bookend to John Carpenters original film. It is the definitive sequel and give Laurie and Michael the ending they deserve.
Thank you Kenny Powers.