alternatively: there’s no better way to face your trauma than by shooting it directly in the face.
So I don’t really know what I was expecting with the newest Halloween movie, but it certainly wasn’t the innovative, fresh take on an old franchise that I got.
I assumed this film would be centered around Michael escaping once again, killing a fresh new batch of victims with a quick cameo from Laurie Strode, and don’t get me wrong, it of course came with the familiar beats that I’ve come to expect from slasher films.
Some stupid fools somewhere keeps the killer alive for some asinine reason, which later allows him to escape in the most ridiculous way possible, he goes on the murder spree until his eventual apprehension or death. And thus the cycle continues. Halloween 2018 though, brought an interesting concept to the table; what succeeds the final girl?
In 1978, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) went face-to-face with Michael Myers, an escaped patient that had killed his sister many years prior, and who, on Halloween night in 1978 managed to kill a handful of Laurie’s friends and nearly Laurie herself, before he is shot multiple times by Dr. Loomis.
Forty years later, Laurie is no longer a wide eyed teenager; she is a hardened old woman, living in a fortified house in the middle of nowhere. The night has taken its toll, and while the world keeps turning for everyone else, for Laurie, Halloween will never end.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen a horror movie that has represented what it’s like to live with longterm trauma, and in a way that is believable. Laurie has lost not only her friends during that night, but her relationship with her family.
Her daughter rightfully resents her for permeating her childhood with terror and paranoia, and her granddaughter outright tells Laurie to “say goodbye to Michael and get over it.”
In the end of course, Laurie is rectified for putting her child through the traumatic years of preparing for a threat but I don’t believe that this warrants her a pass for the treatment of her child.
In one of the earlier scenes of the movie, two british journalists venture to Laurie’s house under the guise of wanted to hear ‘her side of the story’, and by the end of the interview, in which they ask her extremely personal, extremely triggering questions about losing her child and halloween night 1978, outright suggest that she be the one to interview Michael Myers. The thing that has haunted her for a huge majority of her life and has prevented her from forming any sort of healthy relationships with friends or family.
The suggestion of ‘facing your trauma’ isn’t much appealing to Ms. Laurie Strode; she wants to blow her trauma away with a shotgun through the chest.
Laurie has centered her life around this night. She is armed to the teeth with guns and weapons; visitors need to be buzzed in through the gate guarding her house, and her lawn is armed with floodlights.
She has police radios in her car, and keeps tabs on Michael constantly. When Michael is being transported, Laurie sits in her car nearby, drinking and shaking and fingering the trigger of her gun.
After that, she attempts to celebrate her granddaughter’s honor roll status, to integrate back into regular life after seeing the looming monster that has haunted her for four decades, and she completely breaks down.
And if Allyson, Laurie’s granddaughter, wasn’t traumatized before Halloween night, she certainly is now; within the movie’s runtime her boyfriend cheats on her, she is unwillingly kissed by a person she considered a friend, Michael Myers comes through and brutally murders three of her buds and her father, and on top of it all she becomes a backseat passenger in a chase for Michael Myers.
Dr. Sartain apprehends him after killing the officer that wanted Myers dead, and throws him right in the backseat with her.
In the final act of the movie, Laurie attempts to take on Myers by herself. She is unable to, and her daughter, Karen, lures Michael into a trap and shoots him point blank in the chest.
They lock Michael in Laurie’s basement, and she pulls a switch, setting off gas in the house and lighting a flare. The three women stare down at Myers as he burns alive, an extremely substantial scene in the movie.
When Laurie could not conquer her trauma on her own, she enlists the help of her daughter and granddaughter, and the three generations of women watch their worst nightmare burn.
It’s a nice scene.
And, implying that the brunt of their fears has been vanquished, they can leave those ashes behind and start anew.
The Myers Effect
Another interesting aspect of Halloween was how just being in the vicinity of Michael Myers’ alone can have an effect on people. Dr. Sartain is “the new Loomis” (Laurie’s words not mine) and has admittedly read all that there is to read about Michael Myers and Halloween 1978.
Even after years of working with Myers, and not hearing a word uttered from the man, he is fascinated with him, and will fight tooth and nail for Michael to be apprehended unharmed.
He goes so far as to stab and kill a police officer, and when the deed is done, Sartain dons Michael’s iconic mask and states, with awe, “so this is what it feels like”.
There’s other little pieces in this film that I’m a fan of. In the third act, Laurie falls out of the window and Michael presumes that she is dead, an echo from the iconic ending scene of the 1978 film, only for him to look back and see that she is gone.
I love the fact that the producers did not attempt to pepper in sympathy for Michael Myers, as so many horror films attempt to do nowadays. Michael is evil, and there’s really no rhyme or reason as to why he does what he does.
And this is the section where I complain
And there’s a couple of things that I didn’t really care for, like the strange depiction of mentally ill patients and that hospital courtyard that looked like it was lifted straight out of a Clive Barker film.
I also was not a fan at all of the british journalists from the first act of the movie, although I kind of get that they only served as victims of Myers’ new killing spree and to give the movie a reason for Michael to get his mask back, but I feel like they ate up a bit too much screen time.
Overall it was a pretty enthralling film with a bit of hopefulness at the end that I hadn’t expected. Fuck ‘facing your trauma’, because there’s nothing more satisfying than watching that fucker burst into flames after you’ve stabbed it in the chest.
And, if they do make anymore Halloween movies in the future, hopefully Laurie Strode won’t be turning up anytime soon, because I think this was the best conclusion that her character ever could’ve received.