Halloween Kills: Rapid Reactions

Just finished watching Halloween Kills on Peacock. Some immediate thoughts:

*I knew going in that the film would pick up right after the events of 2018’s Halloween. What I wasn’t expecting, and became fascinated by, was an early flashback to 1978 that picks up with the ending of the franchise originator. Events are considered from different angles, and holes in the storyline are filled in in quite interesting fashion.

*There are a lot of connections to Halloween history here, from the featuring of older versions of characters such as Tommy Doyle, Lindsey Wallace, and Leigh Brackett, to the importation of the iconic masks from Halloween III: Season of the WitchDr. Loomis also makes welcomed appearance here (woven so organically into the scene, you have no trouble believing that’s Donald Pleasance up there on the screen).

*Michael’s escape from the inferno that Laurie left him trapped in at the end of the previous film involves a bloody rampage through the first responders to the blaze. I-camera presentation of the slaughter through the viewpoint of a downed fireman’s face-shield creates a neat variation on the masked vantage point (young Michael’s murder of his sister Judith) in the first Halloween.

*Like its immediate predecessor, Halloween Kills offers some fine moments of comic relief, here in the form of a gay couple (the current occupants of the Myers house) who square off against a bratty pack of trick-or-treaters.

*Halloween Kills is a film very much about Haddonfield and Michael’s long-term effect on the community. That these people who have been victimized and terrorized by Michael’s evil assaults for so long would take to the streets seeking cathartic carnage just felt terrifically plausible. It also seemed a perfect reflection of the way Americans hasten to act these days. Of course, the vigilantes are overly rambunctious, and the situation soon goes sideways in spectacularly tragic fashion, but the emphasis here is on the psycho killer’s damaging legacy rather than on trumping up the grossly-outnumbered Michael by making the Haddonfield populace seem monstrous in their own right. All told, one of the best angry-mob scenes ever filmed for a horror flick.

*I’ll admit, I suffer from Jamie Lee fatigue, and wasn’t all that eager for another faceoff between her Laurie Strode character and Michael. But the film does a clever job of undercutting expectation and deemphasizing the connection between the two long-time nemeses. By decentering Laurie here, the film makes the scenes she does appear in that much more compelling.

*The commitment to telling a uniquely-angled story instead of rehashing a stale formula makes this one of the most satisfying entries in the entire Halloween series, and one of the smartest slasher films to be released in a long, long time. I wasn’t blown away by the 2018 movie, but Halloween Kills is aptly titled. When it comes to serving up entertaining horror fare, this film positively kills it.

2 thoughts on “Halloween Kills: Rapid Reactions

  1. Great take on the film. The more I sit with it, the more I am tilting positively. I was a bit taken aback by all the chaos. But I tend to think the chaos is what you would feel on that night, with everyone running in so many directions.

    • I agree. I thought, too, that having this massive herd of Haddonfielders was nice script-flip of the typical isolated-victim scenario.

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