I think I know what you are thinking: “Hell yes we do!” Okay, perhaps not all of you are thinking those exact words, and before you toss me over a tall bridge, allow me to explain myself. My ability to rant at times has been known to give me that malcontent aura, but bear with me. We, as horror aficionados, were first introduced to the mysterious “Shape” in the Shatner mask back in 1978, and we’ve never looked back…but should we?
To some of us the jump-suited enigma has entertained us to a level that few cinematic madmen have managed to accomplish over their run of on-screen slaughtering. I’ll briefly dive into each entry in this franchise and give a small bite of my slightly jaded (and utterly useless) opinion for you all to laugh at. These complaints in no way echo the feelings, thoughts and beliefs do not necessarily represent Wicked Horror or the site’s staff. Just consider me a guy that’s trying to validate the need for another go-round with the man they call “Michael.”
We kicked off this Autumnal slash-fest with John Carpenter’s classic, and just like that the fuse was lit on the kill-cannon. What followed after the release of the original was a bevy of memorable (and a few forgettable) films that followed the framework of the sub-genre. The original entry has become a staple in my holiday viewing lineup, and it only adds to the mystique when the colored leaves have fallen onto the lawn & street – it’s just that epochal.
Rick Rosenthal’s time in the director’s chair, coupled with Carpenter & Debra Hill’s writing & production assistance, the masses were given a continuation piece that seemingly acted as a conclusion of sorts. However, we all know that in horror films the killer truly isn’t over and done. I’ll leap over Halloween III: Season Of The Witch for obvious reasons…no disrespect, Mr. Atkins.
After a 7 year absence we were treated (sarcasm) to Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers, and all I can say about this one was that it had its moments, yet was not the gift we’d been waiting for. I likened it to getting punted in the Yule Log by Santa Claus on Christmas morning – painful & disheartening. Initial responses from audiences were positive, but after a couple short weeks at the box office, it was as if the shine had worn off.
So what to do when a film franchise appears to be in steep decline, creatively? You’ve got it – you make another one! That’s exactly what took place damn-near a year later in 1989 with Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers. Doing damage with his sidekick, The Man In Black (no, not Johnny Cash), this one honestly had a fun ending but it looked like the well was, once again, running dry.
With Part 5 flopping harder than my last marriage, we stared heavily into the black eyes of the “Thorn Trilogy” conclusion and Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers was the focal point.. Were we ready to be force-fed another chapter in this storyline and maybe grasp some sense of clarity? Who was assisting Michael all this time? What were The Man In Black’s true motives? Why did I pay full price at the theater to watch this mess? If not for the Producer’s Cut sometime later, I would have ranked this much lower on my list.
Like that poor horse that keeps getting whooped long after its demise, we were treated to Halloween: H20 in 1998. Adios, Jamie Lloyd! Your story has effectively concluded whether you like it or not (insert facepalm). But I mean, come on – we’ve got Jamie Lee back in her iconic role, Josh Hartnett with the bowl-cut from hell, and LL Cool J – do I really need to entice you further?
What’s that you say? Not enough rappers with your horror? How about I trade up your LL for a Busta…Rhymes that is (oh my lord, I can’t believe it got to this point). Yep – Halloween: Resurrection was dumped on the slab a mere 4 years later, and we all got a live stream stroll through the Myers homestead, courtesy of Dangertainment. Anyone remember what I said about Part 6 being a colossal mess? Well, move over Thorn, cause this chicken-fried mutha has definitively taken the top-spot. I’ve watched this mess a collective two times: once in the theater and once on DVD. I’m confident in my decision never to press play on this debacle since.
Now here’s where fans of The Shape have been divided since 2007: singer/director Rob Zombie offers up his “re-imagining” of the character & his surroundings. Presented in a hyper-stylized & gritty MTV-like display that fans have either come to love or despise, which showed in both initial and final box-office numbers. I’m still one of those rare-breeds that didn’t have a concrete foot in the ground on this one, but I understood Zombie’s standpoint on how he wanted the character to have a bit more certainty in his construction.
As far as the second piece to Mr. Zombie’s re-imagining? Well, it appeared that the mushrooms had clearly taken over, with the white horse & Dr. Loomis’ unnerving & detestable persona swerve from film #1 to film #2. Pluses for this presentation were encased in the sheer brutality of Myers’ rage, but there wasn’t much more to hold over the altar of positivity here, that’s for sure. Here is now what I prefer to call the next entries of the franchise as “the continuation of the reconstruction of the dissolving of the story line after the original.” Confused yet? Me too…but stick around, as it’ll get better (I hope).
2018 offered Michael’s fan-base a look at a locked-up psych patient, frayed at the seams due to the sands of time, but ready to strike at a moment’s notice. When the man in the Dickies was cut loose from his shackles, there was plenty of blood, guts, teeth & snot to carry in buckets. Ample viscera for the gorehounds, yet slightly bereft in the plot-department. At least we got a kick-ass Jamie Lee Curtis to chew on, which helped blow the doors off of the box office, and set the tone for Halloween Kills.
Now we’re at the point of the article where I become unapologetic in earnest. Exactly where do I begin with this film? Could I roll on about the fact that the script was complete & utter crap and that it appeared to be nothing more than a bold-faced cash-grab? Fans who wanted a plausible story line were subjected to hokey-carnival soap-boxed performances and insanely moronic thought patterns from its cast. Anthony Michael Hall’s performance was overblown at best, Curtis was relegated to hospital room occupancy, and I’m still waiting for the town’s sheriff to locate his testicles.
Added to the indignity, the powers-that-be at Corona Central forced this one to pull double-duty in both select theaters & Peacock streaming. A move like this can signal cinematic purgatory for any film and basically tells the tale of a presentation that didn’t look like it took its potential too seriously. My biggest mistake was watching this one over & over again, trying to make sense of the idiocy I was ingesting. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment, and forgiving of the results, especially when Michael starts to carve stupid people up, and there were bountiful examples of just that.
When the “final” film Halloween Ends reaches audiences, I can only hope that the title enacts a sense of intactness. It’s what fans deserve, and have yearned for after all these years and timeline-skipping without concession. At the end of it all, I really hope I didn’t put anyone off with my skewered take on these movies. I do have a deep appreciation for the character and the chaos he brings to the table, but I feel like each subsequent film took a giant step downwards. Regardless of what the future brings, I want all of you to storm the theaters & stream the hell out of the latest movie when it breaks. We as horror fans need to let the masses know we’re not going anywhere and we’ll never cease to exist.