For this screening report I went to see Halloween in theaters. This Halloween is a sequel to the original in the franchise and pretty much wipes the slate of failed sequels clean with a deserving finish to Jamie’ Lee Curtis’ character’s story. In Halloween, we find Laurie Strode, who was attacked my Michael Myers in the original, 40 years later facing Michael Myers again after he escapes a bus transfer from a locked-up facility and this time, he becomes the pray.
Halloween has always been a horror movie franchise and it qualifies to be one for many of its soon to be discussed properties. Halloween qualifies as a slasher film because of its menacing monster like villain that intends to kill everything he sees. There’s also a huge theme of victimhood being played into the movie which is also where this movie really outshines the rest in this time period because of its twist on victimhood due in part to Laurie Strodes’ strong character where she was the victim and now is hunting the monster that terrorized her years ago. This movie also has many dark scenes which plays a huge part in qualifying it as a horror movie because of its dark, sinister locations that leave characters to feel vulnerable in the sense that evil doesn’t have to be lurking in an area you’ve never been, no it’s in your own backyard.
Halloween also has many technically simple visual shots that also pay homage to how low budget the original film was and gives new audiences a relatable experience to those who watched the original film when it came out decades ago. There’s also this theme of audiovisual aesthetics that really play into the suspense driven scenes. A synth-type music eerily supports the scenes and pays a homage to the original soundtrack that was used to scare audiences of a different time period, which have also been used in recent years especially with Netflix’s Stranger Things and is widely praised because of how effective and retro it was in the original Halloween.
Now, starting with Michael Myers, I absolutely love his character for just how simple they made him. He’s a killer, and just so happens to be in this specific town that he feels needs to be killed. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot of context for his character and you don’t even get to see what he really looks like under that mask too! Talk about frightening that mask is emotionless. It’s almost like the story is trying to say that Michael is symbolizing evil itself, and that evil has no specific face and that it can be anywhere and happen to anybody no matter if you’re a good person or bad. Claude Levi Strauss talked about masks and said that” the facial disguise temporarily eliminates from social intercourse the part of the body that reveals personal feelings and attitude”. Even a mask with no emotion on its face is scary because of its ambiguity and hides the true intentions of the person wearing it. I don’t know if that person under that mask a threat is or not. Vagueness is creepy when it comes to the human form and really plays a huge part on why and how Michael Myers terrorized audiences for years.
Personally, I truly feel this movie not only affirms its genre’s ideology according to its original form but also changes/corrects many misogynistic themes present in the slasher films born after the original Halloween movie. Its conservative in its technical form with it looking like a low budget movie just like the original but is revisionistic with its changes to a stereotypical story of a slasher film victim. This film is a lot like J.J. Abrams take on Star Wars where this film copies a lot of what made the original great and some might say improve on the formula to make it even greater. Usually in slasher films, the victims are helpless and can only run and hide and for some reason just can’t seem to win in any one to one combat. Victims in slasher films are also at fault for their victimization where they went where they weren’t allowed to go, did things they weren’t allowed to do (drink, drugs, sex etc.) and oblivious as well.
Women were also objectified with their nude bodies being shown for raunchy scenes to entice audiences and also used as bodies to a monster that kill them in visually disgusting or pleasing ways. Which leads me to my next point, that the monsters became the heroes, not the victims that escaped or survived. With lots of movies following Jason from Friday the 13th, his movies became about “glory kills” and people would come to see him kill people in new exciting and gruesome ways with his weapons or hands. Just as Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street would kill people with crazy special and practical effects. Audiences in this day and age are raised in an age where school shootings are pretty much a monthly occurrence. It’s easy to see why they don’t find these kind of horror movies scary because of all the real ways they could’ve escaped, protected or attacked the monster that characters in the movies didn’t do. But that’s also why this new Halloween movie is so revisionistic in slasher film traditions.
This movie is a long, overdue correction for this type genre because of its part in changing who the audience is rooting for. The audience doesn’t want to see this monster kill this woman that is ready to fight back, but instead gives them a strong character to root for against a monster that is beloved and has only been watched for the last decade to murder characters that just don’t matter.
But Laurie matters and guess what? She is a woman; a damn strong woman too and completely obliterates what a stereotypical victim is supposed to be like. Laurie on the other hand, is smart, determined and maybe even fearless. She fought this monster once, a victim, vulnerable and now has metamorphized into a hunter chasing its prey. In the ending of the original movie, Michael is shot off a balcony and disappears after the doctor looks over the edge to see where he fell. In this new movie after Michael throws Laurie out of a window, Michael looks over the edge to find that Laurie also disappeared just as fast as he did in the original. I love how they added this to the movie and really shows just how scary Laurie can be in her own sense. Michael Myers is reacting surprised in this movie. It’s something that is so glorious to watch because of the many years these slasher icons have been built to do whatever they please with their victims, it always goes to their own favor and they always get glorified as icons because of this fact.
But in this movie, it doesn’t go as planned for Michael. Once his helpless victim ended up being quite the opposite. Laurie Strode was once the prime example of the victim, defining the formula for following slashers to use but now leads as a new example of wat the victim can become and creates a brand new formula that audience’s and women can rally behind, I find this movie to be really important for the slasher genre and for horror films alike and I hope for the future it allows other characters to have some justice for once and hopefully become the hero of their own story of survival and not to forget terror.