Horror Series: Halloween

Horror Series  Halloween

 

I could never appreciate this series of films until I got married and my husband got me to watch this set of films.  Now I love them.  We recently completed our series by buying Halloween 4 and 5 on Blu-ray.

 

Halloween (1978)

 

This is the movie which started the series and is the mother of all slasher films to come in the future.  Created on a very low budget by horror master John Carpenter and Debra Hill, this movie tells the story of Laurie Strode, played by, Jamie Leigh Curtis in her first film role.  This, combined with The Fog, Prom Night and Terror train earned her the title of “scream queen” It is a well deserved title.

 

The film is set in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois.  On Halloween night in 1963, six year old Michael Myers stabs his sister, Judith Myers, to death with a kitchen knife while wearing a clown Halloween costume.  Fifteen years later he escapes from the Smith Grove psychiatric hospital where he has been a patient since the murders.  He returns to stalk Laurie Strode and her friends.  While at the hospital he was under the care of  Dr. Samuel Loomis, played by the consummate actor, Donald Pleasance, in an amazing coup by the films producers.  He was the highest paid actor at $20,000 for a few days work.

 

The film culminates in Michael, trapping Laurie in a closet and Loomis shooting Michael 6 times in the chest making him fall over the balcony of the Strode home.  The camera pans to the ground and it reveals that Michael is not there.

 

“I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the *devil’s* eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”

 

This movie has a great opening tracking shot showing the action from the POV of Michael Myers as he  enters his home from the outdoors , walks up the stairs and stabs his sister.  I love this shot. John Carpenter has said that this is one long tracking shot filmed with an unmounted camera.

 

The score for Halloween was written by John Carpenter himself, in 5/4 time.  John Carpenter plays the bongos and based the score on this rhythm.

 

 

Halloween 2 (1981)

 

This is the second film in the series which picks up right where the first film left off on that same Halloween night.  Laurie Strode is in the hospital and Michael follows her there.  In this sequel, we learn that Laurie Stode is Michael’s younger sister.  Michael peruses her in the hospital and she barely escapes and is driven away in a ambulance  as she has visions of Michael burning.

 

It’s a pretty simple plot which sheds some light on why Michael Myers came after Laurie and her friends.

 

 

 

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. (1982)

 

All I can say about this film is WTF?   Why did they even make this film?  The very thing that makes these films popular is absent from the plot.  Exploding masks, really??  I’ve only watched this movie once, although I do own it, and maybe that’s why I think it sucks.  Perhaps I am missing nuances that I could gain from further viewing. You tell me.

 

From Wikipedia

“On Saturday, October 23, shop owner Harry Grimbridge (Al Berry) is chased by mysterious figures wearing business suits. He collapses at a filling station clutching a Silver Shamrock jack-o’-lantern mask and is driven to the hospital by the station attendant (Essex Smith) all the while ranting, “They’re going to kill us. They’re going to kill us all.” Grimbridge is placed in the care of Dr. Dan Challis. Another man in a suit (Dick Warlock) enters Grimbridge’s hospital room and kills him, then goes to his car and kills himself through self-immolation.

 

Dr. Challis and Grimbridge’s daughter, Ellie, investigate the incident leading them to the small town of Santa Mira, California, home of the Silver Shamrock Novelties factory. Hotel manager Rafferty (Michael Currie) reveals the source of the town’s prosperity is Irishman Conal Cochran and his factory and that the majority of the town’s population are descendants of Irish immigrants. Challis learns that Ellie’s father stayed at the same hotel. Other hotel guests are shop owners Marge Guttman (Garn Stephens) and Buddy Kupfer (Ralph Strait), Buddy’s wife Betty (Jadeen Barbor) and their son Little Buddy (Bradley Schacter). All have business at the factory and eventually meet gruesome ends through the Silver Shamrock masks and the men in suits.

 

A day after arriving in Santa Mira, Challis and Ellie tour the factory with the Kupfers and are alarmed to discover Grimbridge’s car there, guarded by more men dressed in suits. They return to the hotel but cannot contact anyone outside the town. Ellie is kidnapped by the men in suits. Challis breaks into the factory to find her and discovers that the men in suits are androids created by Cochran. Challis is captured by the androids and Cochran reveals his plan to kill children on Halloween night. The Silver Shamrock trademark on the masks contains a computer chip containing a fragment of Stonehenge. When the Silver Shamrock television commercial airs on Halloween night, the chip will activate, killing the wearer and unleashing a lethal swarm of insects and snakes, killing those around the wearer. Cochran explains his plan to resurrect macabre aspects of Gaelic festival Samhain, which he connects to witchcraft.

 

Challis escapes and rescues Ellie. They destroy the factory and Cochran, then flee the town. While driving away, Challis is attacked by “Ellie”, causing him to crash his car. He finds that she is an android copy and destroys it in a brief struggle. On foot, Challis returns to the filling station, where Ellie’s father had come to eight days earlier, and contacts the television stations, convincing all but one to remove the commercial. Challis screams into the telephone to stop the commercial as the film abruptly ends.”

 

 

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

 

Yes as the title indicated this is indeed the return of Michael Myers after than nonsensical Season of the Witch. Donald Pleasence returns as Samuel LoomisMichael Myers has been in a coma after surviving an explosion at the end of Halloween 2.  Michael learns that Laurie has died in a car accident and that she has a daughter, Jamie, (who is conveniently forgotten about in Halloween: H20) who is living with her foster family in Haddonfield. He escapes

 

After school, Rachel and  a new teenage Lindsey Wallace, (Where is Tommy Doyle?) take Jamie to buy ice cream, a Halloween costume and Michael has already arrived to Haddonfield, and almost attacks Jamie in the drug store. That night, Rachel and Jamie go trick-or-treating and Michael goes to the electrical substation and murders a worker by throwing him into live high voltage parts, plunging the town into darkness.  Rachel discovers her boyfriend Brady cheating on her with the Sheriff’s daughter, Kelly, and loses Jamie. After being chased by Myers, Rachel meets up with Jamie and both are found by the Sheriff and Dr. Loomis who warns them about Michael.

 

Jamie is perused by Michael   and many people die.  Jamie, in the end wearing her clown costume follows her mother, who is in the bathroom drawing her bath, and she puts on the mask and stabs her mother to death.

 

I quiet enjoyed this movie.

 

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

 

This installment takes place exactly one year after the events of Halloween 4.  Jamie is in a children’s psychiatric hospital unable to speak due to the trauma of last years events.  Michael or rather “the shape” has returned to murder his niece, Jamie. A few red herrings and a never explained “stranger” or “man in black” and Michael Myers is temporarily subdued, taken to the police station for holding and he is discovered by Jamie to be gone at the end of the movie.

 

I thought that this movie was kind of a stinker.  I heard it was rushed into production without a solid script and it shows. I did’t like the the Myers house wasn’t the same as it was in the first film.

 

Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later

 

This film is a direct sequel to Halloween and Halloween 2 which is why Jamie never exists in this installment of the series.  It is 20 years later and Laurie after having faked her death, is living with the horror of events of that Halloween night. Laurie partially believes that her brother is still alive and will one day return.  Laurie has a son, John are living in Northern California and Laurie is the headmistress of a exclusive boarding school.  (Janet Leigh makes an appearance as the schools secretary)

 

Michael finds Laurie and proceeds to stalk her, wanting to end her life.  The first murder occurs at Laurie’s son’s Halloween party.  Laurie comes face to face with Michael and her and Will decide that they will kill Michael Myers once and for all.

 

Laurie stabs Michael multiple times causing him to fall over a balcony. She approaches his body and pulls one of the knives out of his chest. She slowly raises the knife high above her head, preparing to bring it down on Michael and kill him, but before she can deliver the final blow, Ronny suddenly appears, apparently having survived the accidental shooting, and grabs her. He manages to restrain her from attacking the seemingly dead Michael and drags her out of the cafeteria.

 

The police come and put Michael’s corpse in a body bag, loading it into a coroner’s van. Laurie, knowing that Michael is very hard to kill and not believing that he is really dead, grabs the axe from earlier and an officer’s pistol and steals the coroner’s van with Michael’s body in the back. While driving away, Michael sits up and escapes the body bag, trying to kill her again. She slams on the brakes, throwing him through the windshield. She then tries unsuccessfully to run him over. The vehicle tumbles down a cliff but she escapes, while Michael gets trapped between it and a tree. Laurie recovers the axe and walks to where he is pinned. He reaches out to her, apparently seeking forgiveness and compassion. At first it seems she will accept this, and begins reaching out to him, but then she slowly pulls her hand back and with one swing decapitates Michael, finally killing him. Michael’s head, still concealed by the mask, rolls down the hill.

 

This film is considered as the official ending of the series.  The plot point of Laurie faking her death explains her death in Halloween 4.

 

Halloween Resurrection (2002)

 

This film builds upon the events of H20.  In this sequel a group of people are in a reality show in which they have to spend the night at the Myers house which is going to be broadcast online.

 

From Wikipedia

“Three years after the events that happened in California, Laurie Strode had been sent to a psychiatric hospital after it is revealed that she had beheaded a paramedic instead of Michael; the paramedic had located the body of Myers in the dining hall of Laurie’s school, but Myers had attacked the paramedic, crushed his larynx so he wouldn’t cry out and forcefully switched clothing and his mask. Myers then goes into hiding for the next three years.

On October 31, 2001, still in captivity, Laurie pretends to be heavily medicated, behaving as though she had extreme dissociative disorder. In fact, she hides her pills and prepares herself for the inevitable confrontation with Michael. Meanwhile a security guard named Willie finds his boss’ decapitated skinned head in the washing machine and is then killed when Michael slits his throat. When Michael finally appears, Laurie lures him into a trap, as she attempts to kill Myers, she second guesses herself, to make sure that it is really her brother this time. Myers takes advantage, and stabs her in the back on the roof. She then kisses him and finally says, “I’ll see you in hell” and falls to the ground to her death. Michael then returns home to stay. His mission is complete after over twenty years of searching and hunting Laurie down.

The following year on October 30, 2002, Michael is living in a section of tunnels below his childhood house. Six college students – Bill Woodlake, Donna Chang, Jen Danzing), Jim Morgan, Rudy Grimes, and Sara Moyer – win a competition to appear on an Internet reality show directed by Freddie Harris and his assistant, Nora Winston, in which they have to spend a night in the childhood home of Michael Myers. Their mission is to find out what led him to kill. Sara’s friend Myles “Deckard” Barton watches the broadcast during a Halloween party. On the day of Halloween, they start to search the entire house for something that can provide a clue to Michael’s past, and decide to separate into three groups to cover more areas. The event goes horribly wrong as Michael returns home, and kills Charley the cameraman by stabbing him in the neck with a camera tripod. Later on, Bill is stabbed in the head, Donna is impaled on a metal spike, Jen is decapitated, Jim’s head is crushed, Rudy duels with Michael and is pinned to a door with 3 knives and off screen, Nora is strangled with a cord and stabbed in the stomach. All these people die, and Myles realizes the deaths are real while the rest of the party claims they are staged. When Myles starts helping Sara get out the house, Freddie runs into her and also helps ‘kill’ Michael. Michael survives and stabs Freddie. When Sara fights Michael with a chainsaw, she cuts some sparking wires which start a blaze. After this, Freddie arrives and fights with Michael and electrocutes him, then manages to save Sara’s life as she is trapped under tables of heavy wires. Michael’s house is burned to the ground as Freddie and Sara flee.

In the final scene of the movie, Michael’s body is sent to the morgue. As the coroner opens the body bag, Michael’s eyes suddenly open showing that he is still alive and a scream can be heard.”

The Myers house  again isn’t the same as in the first movie which is disappointing.  How hard would it have been to recreate the same house?  This movie was enjoyable for me.

 

Halloween 2007

Rob Zombie’s version of the original Halloween was very good in my opinion. This movie delves deeper into Michael myers backstory which explains how he came to stab his sister that fateful Halloween night in 1963

 

Halloween 2 (2009)

I didn’t enjoy this movie at all.  I walked out of the theater wanting my money back.  After such a good Rob Zombie remake I thought that this movie would be stellar, but I was really wrong.

 

 

Advertisements

Say something nice or say nothing at all

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s