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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Special Edition: Why the New Halloween Sucks

November 7, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Halloween Michael Myers

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Special Edition: Why Halloween (2018) Sucks

Hello, everyone, and welcome to a special edition of the internets movie review column that is really, really, really upset and annoyed with the new Halloween movie, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. And so, in this Special Edition, I explain why I think the new Halloween movie, Halloween (2018), sucks.

Yes, that’s right. I said it sucks.

Why Halloween (2018) Sucks

Halloween2018Poster

Intro

Going in, I really wanted to like the new Halloween, Halloween (2018). We hadn’t had a new Halloween movie in nine years and it was time for a modern classic slasher killer monster like Michael Myers to make a comeback. The movie was being produced by Blumhouse, the masterminds behind the awesome The Purge franchise. If the new Halloween was half as good as any of The Purge movies the world would continue to be an okay place to live in. The prospect of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride writing the new Halloween, with Gordon Green directing, seemed kind of weird (did Blumhouse plan on making a “funny” Halloween? Did the world really need that?), but everyone was willing to see what they could do with the franchise and the story and the character. I know I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. And, on top of all of those things, John Carpenter was set to be involved in some capacity. He would be a producer, he would provide some input into the script, and he would likely perform the new movie’s score. A new John Carpenter score? Halloween (2018) needed to happen as soon as possible. Oh, and Jamie Lee Curtis would be coming back, too.

But what the heck would this new Halloween be, exactly? A sequel? A reboot? Some sort of movie we hadn’t thought of yet? Well, as we eventually found out, this new Halloween would be a sort of sequel to the original movie that came out in 1978. Everything that came after that original movie would be ignored. The big twist at the heart of the original Halloween II, that Laurie Strode was the sister of Michael Myers, would no longer be the case. And the new Halloween, this new sort of sequel to the 1978 original, would also be called Halloween.

The new, official, real sequel to the original Halloween would also be called Halloween? How the hell did that make any sense? I mean, yeah, for marketing purposes calling the new Halloween movie Halloween made a kind of sense. The movie going public knows what Halloween means so there would be no confusion in the marketplace when the movie eventually came out. It was ridiculous, sure, but it made a kind of sense. Okay. Fine.

So we all waited for the new movie. We waited to find out what the heck the story would be. We waited to find out, outside of Jamie Lee, would be in it. And we waited to see if Gordon Green and McBride knew what they were doing. Would this new Halloween be special or would it be just another Halloween movie?

Well, Halloween (2018) opened to massive business all over the world, was number one at the North American box office two weeks in a row, and, as I write this, continues to do serious box office. The movie going public seems to like it. The new movie also garnered decent reviews from both mainstream critics and the horror movie nerd press in general. How often does that happen? Halloween was back.

So what the hell was wrong with me that I didn’t like it? Why did I think this new Halloween movie was an abomination of epic proportions? Why did I think this new Halloween was so damn terrible? Why did Halloween (2018) suck?

Reasons

It doesn’t know what kind of horror movie it wants to be: As the “true” sequel to the 1978 original, you’d think Halloween (2018) would be a straight up slasher movie that apes what made the original such a classic. Unfortunately, Halloween (2018) really isn’t a slasher movie. It has slasher elements in it, sometimes, but it isn’t a true slasher movie (there’s no real sustained stalking or slashing or even suspense). It isn’t a classy “true crime” thriller, either, despite the whole “true crime journalists covering the Haddonfield massacre forty years later” bit that starts out the movie. Halloween (2018) is just a movie with some potentially scary stuff in it and a movie where stuff just happens. It has some creepy atmosphere in it, but, there’s no consistency to any of it. There’s just stuff happening. Is that what you want out of a “true” Halloween sequel? Stuff happening? I know I don’t.

There’s no real sustained suspense: I know I already mentioned the lack of sustained suspense, but it needs repeating because, at its heart, the original Halloween was all about building suspense. If (2018) is meant to be the sequel to that, why isn’t there an abundance of suspense? Why am I not on the edge of my seat from the start of the movie until the end? There are only two real moments of suspense in the entire movie. The first one is the big hooha “one continuous shot” where Myers, back in Haddonfield proper on Halloween night, goes from house to house killing people. You do wonder, as Myers moves, how many people he’s going to kill. The second moment of suspense is towards the end of the movie, in Laurie’s house in the woods. Where is Myers going to pop out and attack?

But what about the bathroom scene where Myers kills the female journalist? That could have been a moment of true suspense if we all hadn’t seen the sequence a million times in the trailers and commercials for the movie. As it exists now, it’s just something that happens.

You can’t really have a real deal Halloween movie without suspense. Most of the sequels that no longer exist in the franchise canon knew that and basically succeeded. Why can’t the “true” sequel try to do the same thing?

The opening titles sequence: What the fuck is going on here? Why is that pumpkin inflating? Is that supposed to be scary or freaky? It isn’t scary at all. Is it supposed to be funny because it looks so damn ridiculous? It’s just confusing. It would have made more sense to just do a reverse of the 1978 original’s opening titles sequence, slowly pull out of the inside of a pumpkin to reveal the movie’s title. Or, shit, just copy, note for note, the opening titles of the original? At least the music still works.

The mask is given too much power: Rob Zombie’s Halloween and the Friday the 13th reboot both made a big hooha deal out of the killer’s mask, finding the mask/”discovering” the mask, and manufacturing an “iconic” moment. In Halloween (2018), Michael Myers actually goes after the journalist that has his “original mask” from 1978 so he can retrieve it. Why? I get why the movie has to get Myers into the mask, but why “get him into the mask” in the first place? Why not just have him have the mask when he starts killing again? And, shit, the mask Myers wears in the original is just a mask he stole. There isn’t anything specifically special about it. It’s just a mask. So, if it’s important to get a mask on Myers after he’s escaped Smith’s Grove, why not have him do what he does in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, steal a similar looking mask from a store? That makes more sense to me than Myers fixating on his old mask. I really don’t think he’d give a shit if he had the original mask or not. He’d just want a mask.

Am I the only one annoyed by this manufactured iconic moment crap?

Halloween2018MichaelMyers

Michael Myers is muddled: Co-screenwriter Danny McBride said, in multiple interviews, that he and Gordon Green planned on having “their” Michael Myers be a real guy and not some supernatural entity that can’t be killed. That isn’t the Myers that John Carpenter and Debra Hill created back in 1978. That Michael Myers could be supernatural, or at least vaguely supernatural. I mean, he’s shot six times at close range and he falls out of a balcony onto the hard ground below. A normal human would be, well, dead after all that, or seriously incapacitated. Myers just disappears. Where the hell did he go?

Well, according to (2018) Myers was captured after all of that and returned to Smith’s Grove. How the hell did that happen? How the hell did he surrender? Did the cops shoot tranquilizer darts at him or something? After all of that, Myers then spends 40 years in a mental hospital where he doesn’t interact with anyone or anything. He’s just there.

When Myers escapes, he kills a kid, something he didn’t do in the original. Is Myers now so angry and pissed off that he will kill anyone and everyone that crosses his path? If that’s the case, why isn’t he mowing down the trick or treaters that run into him while walking the streets of Haddonfield? Why didn’t Myers kill the crying baby during the “one continuous shot” moment? If he’s now an out of control buzz saw, shouldn’t Myers be killing everyone?

And why isn’t Myers a phantom anymore? When you watch the 1978 original, that’s what Michael Myers really is. A phantom. Why change that? Because he’s been in prison for decades? Why should that matter? Didn’t Dr. Loomis imply that Myers had “inhuman patience?” Why would he stop having that if he’s incapacitated? Why wouldn’t he just revert back to that mode until “the right time?”

And if Myers is a real guy, how can he rip out someone’s jaw? Can real people do that if they’re not on drugs and shit? Strong people can probably do something like that, but there’s no indication that Myers has been pumping iron while in Smith’s Grove. Hell, there’s no indication that he even eats food. So how can he still be huge and strong and rip people’s faces off and be a “real” guy?

I really don’t understand this Michael Myers at all.

A total lack of interesting kills: Okay, so Halloween (2018), the “true” sequel to the 1978 original, isn’t going to do the whole “suspense over everything else” thing, and its real guy killer is also an unstoppable masked killing machine that no one can fight off. Why isn’t he killing people in interesting ways? Why is he just walking up to people and stabbing them and moving on? There’s only one real interesting kill, and that’s the bit where Myers stomps a guy’s head in. Otherwise, Myers is either stabbing people or breaking their necks. That gets boring fairly quickly, especially when no one can really fight back against him. Doesn’t Myers have a bit of trickster in him in the 1978 original? Where did that character trait go after forty years? Did he grow out of it?

Dr. Sartain: My God, Dr. Sartain. He took over as Michael Myers’s doctor when Sam Loomis died off screen, and apparently over the years he’s developed a fondness for Myers and what Myers represents, whatever that is. Sartain is the one who sets up Myers’s escape because he needs to see Myers complete his attack on Laurie Strode in Haddonfield or some bullshit like that. It almost sounds like Sartain is the head of a one-man Thorn cult, doesn’t it? I thought we were all supposed to hate that.

I just have a hard time believing that Sartain would do anything except try to help the police and eventually die at the hands of his patient. I don’t think he would have a pen knife, kill a cop, or stage a goddamn bus crash/prison escape. That just makes no sense. Wouldn’t the authorities do an investigation of what happened and eventually find out that Sartain is the one that did all of it? Why would he risk his life and career just to see Michael Myers “in his element?”

Why does the Sartain character have to have a twist? Why is that necessary?

Dr. Sartain is just bullshit. He shouldn’t have even been a character beyond Smith’s Grove.

Will Patton deserved way better than he gets: The great Will Patton plays Officer Hawkins, a Haddonfield cop who was there the night in 1978 that the cops captured Michael Myers. He becomes one of the lead cops looking for Myers when he escapes again in 2018. He knows Laurie Strode. They’re friends. And when the shit starts hitting the fan big time in Haddonfield, Hawkins teams up with Laurie to take out Myers and protect the town. Hawkins doesn’t get to stick around until the end, though. Instead of going one-on-one with Myers, Hawkins gets stabbed in the neck by Dr. Sartain, pushed out of his police car, and then Sartain runs over him just to make sure the audience knows that Will Patton’s character is dead.

What nonsense. Hawkins should have stuck around until the end. He should have been the last guy to confront Myers before Myers enters Laurie’s bunker. Hawkins shouldn’t have been killed totally out of the blue. Will Patton deserves way better than that.

I’ve always liked Will Patton. I thought he was great on Falling Skies and in the various movies I’ve seen him in. Good guy or bad guy, star or bit part, Patton always brings his A-game. He has good buddy chemistry with Jamie Lee Curtis, their characters have history, so why not use that in an interesting way? Why kill him as part of the unnecessary twist with Dr. Sartain?

Will Patton deserved way better.

The ending is bullshit: So Laurie’s house is essentially a big trap that Laurie built to eventually kill Michael Myers because, at some point, she understood that the Boogeyman would come back to get her. Laurie, along with her daughter Karen and granddaughter Allyson, manage to get Myers down into the basement of the house, lock the basement, and then set Myers, the basement, and the whole house on fire. Michael Myers is now dead.

Which is just so much bullshit. Michael Myers isn’t dead. Don’t be surprised if we find out that Myers escaped the fire somehow and is back to kill more people in the eventual third movie called Halloween II. And don’t be surprised if Allyson ends up becoming the next killer, as the camera lingered on her hand holding the knife that Myers used up until he “died.”

Is it safe to assume that what they’re going for here is a “passing evil to another person” thing, sort of like at the end of Halloween 4?

Why didn’t Laurie create a basement trap where she could drop a couple of grenades inside and blow up Myers? I’m pretty sure that’s possible to do.

Conclusion

Halloween (2018) is a disaster. The story makes no sense, it has a muddled monster, and it’s not special. It’s just a movie that has some potentially interesting ideas and atmosphere. It looks good. It just isn’t good. It’s a massive disappointment. But it’s still making money as I write this, and will likely continue to make money for some time to come. And I’d imagine that when it hits iTunes, streaming, and home video it will make even more money. Halloween (2018) is a phenomena. There will be a sequel. And I’ll end up seeing it because I’m a fucking idiot.

I mean, I’m happy that a Halloween movie is successful. Its success could lead to more big deal horror franchises and more opportunities for horror movie makers across the board. I just wish that Halloween (2018) was a good movie. It isn’t. It’s terrible. It sucks. I wish it didn’t but it does.

How could Halloween (2018) have been improved? A simpler, more streamlined story would have been a big help. The story could have had Laurie be more proactive in going after Michael Myers on the bus (why not have her cause the bus crash in order to kill him, her plan is botched somehow, and the rest of the movie is Laurie trying to track Myers down and kill him? The whole point of that movie would be Myers is pure evil but he doesn’t remember Laurie so killing him doesn’t matter all that much). Or the movie could have been all about Laurie, alone in her house in the woods, and Myers shows up one day, totally out of the blue, and it’s a cat and mouse game between the two. No kids, no teens, no bullshit. It’s just 80 minutes of Michael Myers going after Laurie Strode.

Those are just two ideas. There are probably other good ideas out there that would have made for a better Halloween (2018). We won’t see them, though, at least not now. We’re going to have to live with the Halloween (2018) that we have.

Well, I’m going to have to live with the Halloween (2018) that we have. I’ll survive. I don’t know about you.

**

The stuff I liked in Halloween (2018)

Halloween

Jamie Lee Curtis does a fine job as a damaged and paranoid Laurie Strode. She sure knows how to wield a Winchester pump.
Judy Greer is awesome as Laurie’s estranged daughter Karen. I would have loved to see more of her life and how she’s dealt with the fact that her mother is a survivalist nutjob who, in the end, was right about the Boogeyman.

Jibrail Nantambu is hilarious as Julian, the little kid that Virginia Gardner’s Vicky babysits. And Gardner does a good job as Vicky. She should have had a bigger part and been allowed to put up more of a fight against Michael Myers in Julian’s house.

The soundtrack by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel A. Davies is amazing. The slightly reworked “Halloween theme”/end credits theme sounds awesome in a movie theatre with booming sound. It also sounds pretty damn cool via earphones.

**

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Next Issue: The Debt Collector starring Scott Adkins!

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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

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