Movies & TV / Columns

The Good and Bad of Halloween Kills

May 6, 2022 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Halloween Kills Michael Myers Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The Good and Bad of Halloween Kills

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

So I finally saw Halloween Kills, the sequel to the mega smash hit Halloween reboot/sequel/whatever from 2018. I missed it when it played in movie theaters and when it streamed exclusively on Peacock and didn’t pick up the DVD when it went on sale this past January. I didn’t really care for the 2018 movie (check out my thoughts on the 2018 Halloween here) and while I knew that I would, eventually, see the sequel I wasn’t all that jazzed about it. Halloween Kills could wait.

Months went by, and then I found out that Halloween Kills was on HBO and HBO Max (is it right that the movie didn’t get the usual “new movie on Saturday night” placement on HBO and instead debuted on the premium cable channel on a Thursday? Someone said that on Twitter). And it looked like that both versions of the sequel were on HBO (at least on my cable’s HBO On Demand). I figured right then and there that I should just go ahead and get the movie out of the way. So I put the movie on (I put the “extended cut” on by accident, or I should say that my cable box decided that that was the one I was going to watch) and settled in for the sequel.

I wish I hadn’t bothered. I wish I had just said “fuck it” and watched something else.

Because Halloween Kills is, was, and always will be fucking awful.

Just absolute flaming garbage.

When the “extended cut” was over I waited a day and watched the theatrical version. That version was also garbage, but it was slightly shorter, so it was slightly better. But that’s like trying to compare a ten pound bag of diarrhea and a nine pound bag of diarrhea. Yes, one bag has slightly less diarrhea in it so it’s better because there’s less of it, but it’s still all diarrhea. Who wants to be around that?

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Now, I thought about doing a full on “Why Halloween Kills sucks” article, but I decided against it because there were a few things that I thought the movie did right/well and I wanted to talk about them. So I decided to use the “The Good and the Bad” idea that I’ve used for, among other things, Friday the 13th/Jason fan movies and Wonder Woman 1984 (check out what I thought about Never Hike Alone (a href=> here and WW84 here). There’s more in the “Bad” section than the “Good” section. Way more.

And so, without any further what have you, what’s good and what’s bad about Halloween Kills?

Warning: This review contains spoilers

The Good

The soundtrack and opening theme: One of the very few good things about the 2018 movie was the soundtrack by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies, and the trio’s Halloween Kills music is excellent, too. From the opening theme onward it’s a rush of great synth enhanced music and is a pleasure to listen to on its own. The opening theme is, much like the 1981 Halloween II theme by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, moody, atmospheric, and will send chills up and down your spine. That choir vocal sound gets to me every time I hear it. If only the movie could live up to its soundtrack.

The closing credits theme by Ghost is also pretty good. I would have liked to listen to that song in an actual movie theater with a killer sound system.

They brought back Will Patton’s Officer Hawkins: I would have been totally okay with Officer Hawkins dying in the 2018 movie if he didn’t go out like a punk, but since he was taken out by Dr. Sartain with a fucking pen knife I objected. That was no way for a character played by Will Patton to go out. Thankfully, Hawkins isn’t dead, and he will likely play a primary part in the upcoming third movie Halloween Ends. Maybe he’ll end up having a proper relationship with Laurie Strode, which would be awesome as Patton and Jamie Lee Curtis have tremendous chemistry. And maybe in the third movie Hawkins will get the chance to do something substantive and not go out like a simpering fool. I don’t have much hope of that happening, but there’s a small part of me that thinks it’s possible. They did bring him back, after all.

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The guy who plays Dr. Loomis in the 1978 flashback: Tom Jones, Jr., the movie’s construction coordinator who was recruited to play Dr. Sam Loomis, really looks like Donald Pleasance circa 1978. And that’s amazing because, in the fleeting moments that you see Loomis in the 1978 flashbacks, you’d swear to God that that was, in fact, Donald Pleasance brought back to cinematic life via some sort of CGI chicanery. It isn’t, though. It’s a real guy. I’m not sure about the voice. I assume that was manipulated to sound similar to Pleasance, but the look? Holy shit.

Big John and Little John: As portrayed by Scott MacArthur and Michael McDonald, Big John and Little John are a gay couple who live in the old Myers house in Haddonfield. We see them try to enjoy their Halloween evening by listening to music and watching a movie, but they are the victims of a prank where local teenage hoodlums fake a horrendous injury (razorblade to the mouth) so they can steal the couple’s Halloween candy. The Johns get the last laugh on the little bastards, though, as they freak the kids out by telling them all about Michael Myers, the killer that used to live in their house, and how he killed his sister Judith.

Hey, if you’re going to be a bunch of little assholes be prepared to be scarred for life. The little shits.

Unfortunately, that was the last interesting thing the Johns get to do in the movie as Myers eventually shows up and, just like with everyone else in Haddonfield, Myers just mows through them. It would have been cool if they both got in a few good shots before being brutally murdered, but then Halloween Kills isn’t that kind of movie. Why give interesting characters something to do when you can just kill them and move on?

The Bad

The flashback to 1978 makes no sense: One of the things that David Gordon Green and company wanted to do in the 2018 Halloween was show what happened right after the events of the 1978 Halloween, mainly how the cops captured Michael Myers. Green and company didn’t do it because John Carpenter told them it was unnecessary and that, in the end, it didn’t really matter. Just get on with your story. That’s good advice unless you have some exceptionally good reason to show how Myers was captured after the end of the original Halloween. Green decided to show all of this in the sequel and failed to come up with a good reason for including it. So why do it?

I have no idea. Was it to show that the Haddonfield cops and authorities were incompetent back in 1978, especially a younger Officer Hawkins and his partner? Was it to show that somehow Myers became a relentless buzz saw killer right after the events of the 1978 movie, where he was a brutal killer but was more of a spooky phantom? Was it done simply because they had Tom Jones, Jr. and Green really wanted to have a super brief scene with Dr. Loomis? I don’t really know. My best guess, considering the way the scene ends, is that it’s meant to show that Myers is ultimately a random killer and that he can start and stop at random (he just seems to stop his rampage and is then arrested). But all of that could have been handled by one of the main characters briefly explaining that idea in two or three lines of dialogue. In the big scheme of things, it isn’t all that important to witness.

Movie quadruples down on being in the same “universe” as the 1978 Halloween and then continues to ignore everything that made that movie that movie: In the 1978 Halloween Michael Myers was a brutal killer but he wasn’t ripping people to shreds with his bare hands. He was a phantom type killer, hiding in the shadows and whatnot before striking. He was also a bit of a trickster and a weirdo (the hiding behind bushes thing and the whole “wearing a bedsheet” thing). In the 2018 movie we don’t see any of that. Instead, Michael Myers is a relentless buzz saw, killing things left and right in the most brutal and bloody ways possible. He is not the same character. And he is even more not the same character in Halloween Kills. So what the fuck is going on here?

None of it makes any sense. And we still don’t know if he’s just a guy who is really hard to kill, which is what Green and fellow screenwriter Danny McBride emphasized again and again before the release of Halloween (2018), or if he’s meant to be vaguely supernatural. The big hooha speech Laurie gives in the hospital attempts to hint that, maybe, there is something else going on with Myers beyond just being a guy who is hard to kill, but that’s all it is. A speech that hints at something but isn’t definitive in any way whatsoever.

So, again, what the fuck is going on here? Who and what is Michael Myers supposed to be? Do Green and company know or are they just going to continue not getting into it?

And why isn’t Myers bleeding to death from losing those two fucking fingers? Shouldn’t blood be gushing out of those stumps?

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

How did Michael Myers not die from smoke inhalation while inside the burning house?: A regular person likely wouldn’t have survived being in the basement of that burning house for any length of time, especially with the massive fire that we see. Are we supposed to believe that Michael Myers, the regular guy who is hard to kill, is just really good at holding his breath for long periods of time? And, shit, why didn’t any of the flames jump onto him and burn him alive? He survived simply by chance?

What horseshit.

Bringing back original movie actors to play the same characters and then doing nothing with them: Halloween Kills brings back Charles Cyphers, who played Sheriff Brackett in the original Halloween, as well as Lindsey (Kyle Richards) and Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), which is cool and all, but the movie doesn’t do anything interesting with any of them. I’m going to guess and say that because she survives the events of Halloween Kills that Lindsey will get to do something interesting in Halloween Ends, but I can’t be totally sure about that. I won’t be surprised at all if Lindsey gets killed within the first five minutes of Halloween Ends simply because that’s what Gordon and company want to do (it will be a surprise! No one will see it coming!).

As for Brackett and Chambers, you see them briefly, they say some stuff (more on that shit in a second), and then they’re brutally murdered. What was the point of doing any of that? To give the actors another paycheck for a day’s work or whatever?

What a complete waste of time.

Leigh Bracket repeating the “Everyone is entitled to one good scare” line: Brackett does this during the big mob beatdown of Michael Myers towards the end of the movie and it’s just so fucking stupid. Yeah, I know, Cyphers says the line in the original movie but so what? Why is it necessary to have him say it again in this movie? So the Halloween franchise nerds in the audience will shit themselves because Chuck Cyphers said the line that he probably writes above his autograph at conventions?

What a complete waste of time.

Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy Doyle: When it was announced that Anthony Michael Hall would play the adult Tommy Doyle in Halloween Kills I was curious about what direction they were going to go with the character. Were they going to go “funny” with the character, as AMH is known around the world for his teenage comedy parts (National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science,), or were they going to go more serious with the part? They ended up doing the serious thing, with Hall’s Tommy Doyle as a sad sack who was seriously traumatized by his encounter with Michael Myers back in 1978. Doyle’s entrance into the movie is fine, singing in a bar while recounting his trauma and then deciding to confront his trauma head on when he finds out that Michael Myers is back in Haddonfield. So Doyle sort of gathers a posse and comes up with a plan to get Myers and take him out once and for all.

That almost sounds like it could be a “male” Laurie Strode kind of deal, doesn’t it? And, man, it would have been fucking sweet if they actually went that way. They didn’t, though. Instead of being a guy who might put up an actual fight against Myers, Doyle is a perpetual fuckup who never once is a threat to Myers. Doyle is like everyone else in Haddonfield: inept and incompetent.

So why have Tommy Doyle in the movie if you’re not going to do anything cool or interesting with him? And why drag out Hall if you’re not going to give him a chance to do anything other than be a “name” actor for Michael Myers to kill? Because that’s all that really happens. Doyle, like Brackett and Marion, are just characters from the original who are still around and who are horribly murdered just because. It makes no sense and all of the sense in the world.

What a complete waste of time. Jesus, how many times am I going to have to write that when talking about this movie?

Lonnie Elam deserved better: When the movie begins we see a young Lonnie Elam (Tristian Eggerling) terrorized by Michael Myers on Halloween night in 1978. We then see an older Lonnie (Robert Longstreet) join up with the “let’s kill Michael” posse and it looks like he might be able to confront his trauma from when he was a kid and sort of overcome at least one of his problems. We also see him interact with his teenage son Cameron (Dylan Arnold), who ends up joining in the fight.

So Lonnie goes into the old Myers house to confront Michael and you think, hey, the movie has spent a little time with Lonnie and his story, maybe we’ll actually get to see him go at Myers and fight/gain the upper hand for a second/do something. What we actually get is Lonnie killed off screen and then stuffed into a small space. So what was the fucking point of all of that? Why don’t we see any of this stuff happen? I mean, we see Cameron die, why not Lonnie? Why did we spend any time with Lonnie if that’s all that was going to happen?

Again, what a complete waste of fucking time.

The violence in the movie is ridiculous: I was not a fan of the brutal violence in the 2018 Halloween because it didn’t really fit with the “this is a sequel to the 1978 original” thing. Sure, if you’re doing a sequel to the original, a nearly bloodless horror flick that relies on suspense and mood more than anything, you might want to amp up the violence a bit in the sequel. That’s what Carpenter did with the 1981 Halloween II when he added some bloody/nasty scenes to the movie that director Rick Rosenthal made. Halloween II was definitely more violent than Halloween but the violence didn’t necessarily feel out of place. The 2018 movie amped up the violence to a massive degree and featured blood and gore galore (Michael Myers rips off a guy’s jaw, for instance) and it all felt wrong. Where’s the suspense? Where’s the mood? What the fuck is this shit?

Halloween Kills amps up the gore even more and it’s all so absurd. And it isn’t absurd in a fun way. It’s absurd because it’s stupid. And when you consider that, again, Halloween Kills makes damn sure you know that the 1978 movie is part of this universe, it makes the violence seem even worse and more unnecessary. None of this happened in the first movie! None of it! So why the fuck is it happening now?

And before anyone says “But that’s what slasher movies are supposed to be, bloody and nasty,” please go watch the 1978 original again and explain how that movie and this movie can exist in the same universe. Not all slasher movies are chock full of gore and ridiculous violence. Halloween isn’t Friday the 13th.

And before anyone says “But the original Halloween timeline had Myers ramming his thumb into a guy’s forehead and ripping people apart off-screen,” you’re right (all of that happened in part 4) and none of that felt out of place, either. It was a slight escalation. Part 5 dialed things back, and then part 6 went full on Friday the 13th with the theatrical version (the “producer’s cut” is more in line with the slight escalation idea). All of that shit took five movies to get there. Halloween Kills is doing the exploding head before it gets to the thumb through the forehead.

When it comes to a Halloween movie, restraint is your friend. It really is.

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Completely wasting Lenny Clarke: And by “completely wasting” I mean the movie doesn’t have him do anything funny or give him a good line or anything like that before he’s butchered by Michael Myers. He’s just in the movie, you sort of recognize him, and then he gets killed. The producers could have hired any random actor to play the part of the old man who gets killed. Anyone. Why hire Lenny Clarke if you’re not going to have him do a wildly inappropriate joke of some sort? Or a mini-rant?

Do I have to say it again?

The whole “mob attacks Michael Myers at the end and then stops when Myers falls to the ground” thing: Does this movie really want everyone to believe that the mob that has been frothing at the collective fucking mouth for the whole movie is just going to stop beating on Michael Myers once they’ve shot him and smashed him with a baseball bat and whatnot? There’s absolutely no fucking way any of those people would have stopped once they knocked Myers down to the ground. They would have continued shooting and smashing and beating him. Someone would have stabbed him in the back of the fucking neck and tried to decapitate him. That woman with the iron would have crammed that thing up his fucking ass. But they do stop. And then Myers Hulks up and kills everyone. What a bunch of fucking horseshit.

But weren’t they all chastened after they caused Lance Tovoli, the escaped mental patient who everyone briefly thought was Michael Myers, to jump to his death? Didn’t they want to take a moment to make sure the Michael Myers they had on the ground was the Michael Myers? No, they wouldn’t do that. After all of the “Evil dies tonight” shit they were never going to stop until they had a fucking severed head in a mask they could play volleyball with. But the movie doesn’t follow through on that. The mob stops, Myers gets up, and everyone dies.

What fucking garbage.

Jamie Lee Curtis has nothing to do: Jamie Lee Curtis, once again playing Laurie Strode, spends the entire movie in the hospital. She has some nice scenes with Will Patton. And that’s about it. In the extended version she gets to do a badass walk down a hallway in slow motion while brandishing a knife, but the theatrical version doesn’t have that happen. It would have been nice if she had more to do than the last time she appeared in a hospital in a Halloween movie. I know that had she led the mob posse Michael Myers would be hamburger right now. I wonder how long it will take for Myers to kill her in Halloween Ends? Do you think she’ll get to survive that entire movie or will she die in the first twenty minutes?

Who cares about the face of Michael Myers?: The face of Michael Myers is broadcast on TV but the screen goes out of focus so we can’t see his face head on. And we only get to see his face from a fleeting distance towards the end of the movie. And there’s that moment where he puts on the mask right before the mob beatdown and you barely see parts of his face. We didn’t get to see his face clearly in the 2018 movie, either. If he’s a regular guy why go through all of the effort to hide his face? To preserve the mystery? Who gives a shit?

The movie’s cinematography looks like shit: Halloween Kills is an ugly movie to look at. I’m going to venture a guess and say that’s mostly due to the movie taking place entirely at night, but that’s no excuse for such a slick Hollywood horror flick to look like hazy garbage. It hurts my eyes thinking about what this movie looks like.

The ending: I know that the death of Karen is meant to be shocking. It isn’t. It just feels like another body to put on the growing pile of carnage caused by Michael Myers. And, sure, there’s all that bullshit about “Karen dies in the same spot that Hawkins’ partner died at the start of the movie” and we’re supposed to be weirded out by the idea that Myers looks out the window, etc., but it’s all just nonsense. It means nothing. The movie barely spends any time with Karen to begin with. If the series wanted to kill her the franchise could have waited for Halloween Ends and built it up. The movie doesn’t do that, though. Again, Karen is just another body for the pile. And that’s a goddamn shame.


So what’s going to happen in Halloween Ends? Will we get to see one final, real deal confrontation between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers? Will Allyson get to battle Myers and avenge her mother’s death? Will the movie explain how “regular guy” Michael Myers is essentially Victor Crowley from the Hatchet movies but without the personality? All we really know is that the third movie is going to involve some sort of time jump. Beyond that we don’t know anything.

Will Halloween Ends be the end of the Halloween franchise? No, but maybe, hopefully, it will be the end of the dumpster fire that is the David Gordon Green Halloween movies. Hopefully we’ll get better Halloween movies once Ends comes out. The world doesn’t deserve another Halloween Kills.

Halloween Kills fucking sucks. It’s absolute garbage. I hate that I watched it twice. It’s a complete waste of time.

I can’t wait for Halloween Ends. Ha!

Rating: 2.5/10.0


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