The Modern Halloween Trilogy – Consumed by it’s Own Legacy?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN dear readers! Hopefully, this is published on the day itself, but with my editor/publisher moving shortly this may just be a reminder of the Spoopiest TM season of the year! (Editor Note: I published it on time!)

As mentioned in a previous post, every October I try to catch up on horror movies both new and old during my SPOOKTOBER movie marathon! Unfortunately, this year wasn’t much of a “marathon” as years previous. With travel, dating, and rugby duties rearing their nasty heads – all fun but not a lot of nights home with Stouty (my cat for those unaware!). HOWEVER, it is a slow time at work so I figured I could sneak in some thrillers during my mornings before meetings kick off, and after perusing HBO Max I was reminded FULLY that I never got around to see Halloween Kills, the second in the newest installment of Mike Meyers terrorizing a small town in Illinois. After a quick – and admittingly puzzling – view, I ended up with a Friday night free for the first time in months and thought I’d head to the theater live to see the final installment – aptly named Halloween Ends – armed with nothing but a diet coke and a Jimmy Johns sandwich.

And after those two, I had questions. A LOT of questions. But similar to the works of DGG (love me my abbreviations), I thought I would go back to where it all started and give my thoughts on each piece of the Trilogy! Join me as I wander the streets of this spooky small town and remind you of the horrors of adapting a dormant franchise!!

NOTE: Since there are about 100 different people on YouTube who can explain the convoluted story-lines and the “how-we-got here”, I figured I’d leave the history of the franchise for them and dive into the movies individually.

ALSO be wary, SPOILERS AHEAD!

HALLOWEEN (2018) – Currently Not Streaming

Note the dates in the title as this is not the first or second movie with this title. Regardless, I remember liking this movie quite a bit!

I saw this when I was still in KC and still destroyed the cost/benefit ratio of the AMC + subscription (their answer to movie pass). When I first saw the trailer, I thought it was INCREDIBLY stupid to see Jamie Lee Curtis with a lever-action rifle going to town on a bunch of mannequins. After seeing it live, ironically it was the best part of the movie!

Early spoiler alert: this was the best of the three by a LONG shot. I felt like it had some great kills (what a culture, amirite), a fair amount of humor to lighten the dark tone, and a creepy ending that left wide open implications for the following two films. “But Big Tuck!” you ask as you post something about Kayne on Twitter in your other open tab “This sounds like a GREAT movie! Why have people not stood up for this new masterpiece”? Well let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It felt a little long, had some very weird turns with some characters (aka the doctor being EEEVILL!!!!), some wonky character dialogues and…well I guess that’s kind of it.

I hopped over to my Letterboxd account to see if my recollection is as hot as I thought it was….and I didn’t rate it. I guess this was before my ADHD REALLY kicked in, so now I can give it the rating it deserves from someone who doesn’t really love or jive with slasher movies….

RATING: 3.5/5+

HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021)HBO MAX

AND how the mighty have fallen!

The second chapter is absolute, INSANE. IIRC I think this was supposed to be some sort of Allegory for the BLM movement and protests during the CARONA virus lockdown, but honestly that feels like a COMPLETE stretch. This is Halloween: Mob Mentality edition, with the children from the first film rising up and reminding/inspiring the hapless locals that EVIL DIES TONIGHT (if you drink every time that is said you WILL go blind). Honestly, I think you actually have to do the homework of watching the ORIGINAL Halloween to do the homework for this one, which is ironic since it pretty much explains the entire plot of 2018 in the opening flashbacks. It’s also the height of irony that everyone blames Laurie Straud for being the reason why this masked vigilante is stalking the town AGAIN, when they seemingly spend every night getting hammered at the local watering hole and reminiscing about the survivors from the night some 30 years ago.

Sure, there are a couple fight scenes that are brutal with MM going to town on people who choose to attack him one at a time, showing a zen like resolve while their friends are being slaughtered. OH! And it starts off with this truly bizarre flashback to a revisionist history of the OG, that sets up the importance of a character from 2018 who I was SHOCKED to find out wasn’t even in the first one. Would have been a really interesting twist to bring back ANOTHER legacy character, but I guess it was just to provide a reason for dialogue in the MANY scenes of Laurie and the local cop chit-chatting while recovering from their wounds.

Luckily it’s a pretty short watch; beyond that I can’t really say that much great about this installment….except EVIL DIES TONIGHT!!!

RATING: 1.5/5

HALLOWEEN ENDS (2022) – Probably On HBO Max

Deep breath Ho boy.

Okay TLDR this gets a half star more than kills…unfortunately the level of insanity does not change.

DO NOT be fooled by the trailer(s?) for this one. While this may be a Halloween movie, this IS NOT a Michael Myers movie. He spends 4/5 of the movie hiding in a sewer, living off rats and maybe homeless people? Instead it focuses on a new bad boy, Corey (yes, for keen eyed viewers THAT Corey ???!?!?!), and how one event in his youth turned him into not only a pariah but someone who can inherit EVVVILLL. It honestly feels like a completely different movie or script stapled onto this last installment.

So the good:

  • The precredit scene is very effective. It’s almost like a short film, with a full story being told in an EXTREMELY creepy fashion. Honestly once that gets put up on YouTube that’ll be enough to just watch and skip the remaining 90 minutes.
  • There’s some interesting direction here, and parts of it reminded me of Drive of all movies! There is a sort of believable romance here, between two people ostracized by the town they call home for events in their past.
  • There is a section of the movie where HUGE SPOILER Corey ( YES THAT COREY!!!!) rips the Mask off of Michael and takes up his mantle, stalking the people who wronged him and the woman he loves. It’s appropriately creepy, well paced, and feels like an ACTUAL Halloween Movie.

AND the bad:

  • Character choices and ensuring dialogue are pretty bad, sometimes leading me to laugh out loud at an almost empty theater. Even the teens who were there….didn’t seem like they were in on the joke. They were probably to busy taking videos of the 34 year old man by himself on a Friday night watching HALLOWEEN ENDS!
  • True to the title, Michael Myers does get put away for good, which I will admit is a fair ending. Want to know what’s not? Parading him through town tied to the top of the car like the train riders did in Spider-Man 2!!
  • Here’s a fresh idea: WHY NOT JUST MOVE FROM HADDONFIELD??? As someone who lives in the midwest, I can assure you that there are plenty of towns nearby with similar costs of living where you won’t get accosted by your neighbors at the local Shop n’ Save about horrors that are effectively outside the realm of your control.

Some of the film content creators I respect have mentioned that this was the “different” one, the one that in 10 years people will look back on as a masterpiece of some sort. I guess time will tell for Halloween Ends, but for me this was another classic example of too many writers in the war room.

RATING: 2/5

OVERALL:

I guess my biggest feeling here is disappointment. In the sequel/Hollywood machine, in the butchering of a classic horror movie, and of the millions of dollars the 2nd and 3rd chapters ran up in ticket sales. To be completely honest, I think they could have stopped after Halloween (2018), which in retrospect was very well done and had the most coherent throughline and themes of the 3. Obviously, in this day of IP that’s clearly not an option, and I’m sure there will be another at-bat with this series in just a few years.

Until then, next year when it’s cold, the leaves are rustling down your street, and the wind is telling you to have a weekend in with your friends and/or loved ones, going through the new trilogy wouldn’t be the worst thing you could do. For instance, you could subjugate yourself to….

HOCUS POCUS!!! – BONUS REVIEW

THIS MOVIE IS STONE COLD UNWATCHABLE (except for that cat) AND ANYONE WHO THINKS ITS A GOLDEN GEM FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD NEEDS TO UNSUB FROM DISNEY PLUS!

RATING: 1/5

– Big Tuck will, in fact, not watch Hocus Pocus 2, on a date or otherwise.

(Editor Note: Please review Hocus Pocus 2 next)

Sam Tucker

Sam "Big Tuck" Tucker is a film reviewer with a passion for Noires of all kinds and occasionally dips his toes into story-rich single player games. When not flipping through streaming platforms and trying to track down the classics on JustWatch, he is a fellow host of the Magic: the Gathering Channel CMDTOWER (www.cmdtower.com) and enjoys everything outdoors in Charlotte. Find him on Twitter @bigtucktweeting.

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