In 1978, John Carpenter’s chilling classic “Halloween” introduced viewers to one of the scariest slow walkers of all time: Michael Myers, a ruthless murderer of older sisters and teenage babysitters.
In the original film, Myers escapes from a sanitarium after 15 years in captivity and does what any psychotic serial killer would do on Halloween night: puts on a horrifying mask and walks slowly from house to house killing horny teens! The sole survivor of the massacre is Laurie Strode, played iconically by Jamie Lee Curtis.
The new “Halloween” takes place exactly 40 years later and, intended to be a direct sequel to the original, cuts all the earlier franchise installments from its cinematic universe. Laurie has grown up to become a paranoid survivalist with serious PTSD whose life revolves around the possibility of squaring off with Michael Myers once more. Lucky that she prepared, because Michael escapes (again!) while being transferred between mental health facilities the very night before ― dun, dun, dun ― Halloween. Needless to say, Michael wants to put a lot of sharp things into a lot of people, and Laurie most of all.
Laurie has spent decades waiting for this reunion, and her daughter (Judy Greer) and granddaughter (Andi Matichak) are along for the ride. By the end of this equally terrifying and campy thrillfest, it’s hard to tell who is hunting whom.
So will “Halloween” make you pee your pants? Did Laurie cause Michael’s escape? Does Michael Myers secretly kinda want a baby? Is this movie offensive to journalists? HuffPosters Priscilla Frank and Bill Bradley break down all your most probing questions below.
Priscilla Frank: Hi, Bill! So tell me, are you a fan of the original “Halloween” movies? What were your expectations for this one?
Bill Bradley: Justice for LL Cool J. When I heard they were erasing all the sequels with this new movie, I was like, “Wait. What?” What about LL Cool J’s aspiring author/security guard Ronny from “Halloween H20”? Did his steamy novels finally make it big? Did he start writing about Michael Myers instead? If LL Cool J is gone, does “Deep Blue Sea” still exist in this universe? So many questions still unanswered.
Are you a horror/“Halloween” fan? How would you describe the movie in one word?
Priscilla: I have only seen the original, so I was pretty oblivious to the lack of LL Cool J–ness in this version. I liked the original “Halloween” a lot. There’s something so terrifying about how minimalist it is. A mask, a knife, a home. All you need to really create hell on earth! And the soundtrack mimics that simplicity. I watched the original at home (because I was not born when it came out), so I was nervous about seeing this one in the theater, where everything is scientifically 1,470 times more scary.
In one word, I would sum the movie up as … squishy, because of all the murdering.
Since you seem to be more of a hard-core “Halloween” fan than I, I have a question for you: Does the same guy play Michael in this movie as the original?
Bill: Priscilla, you are the braver person. Home for me is so much scarier for watching horror, because that’s where I live. I try not to watch scary movies in my room because I know at some point I’m going to wake up and want water or something, and there’s gonna be a ghost there. I just don’t want to deal with it. I probably would not have watched this “Halloween” at home unless it was daytime, so a theater was much better for me because when the movie gets squishy, it’s not just me who’s like, “Aaaah, his face just exploded!”
One of the original people who played Michael Myers, Nick Castle, did play him in this movie. And this is totally irrelevant, but he was also one of the writers on the Robin Williams classic “Hook,” so, you know, bangarang for him.
Priscilla: What a multifaceted talent. OK, so we start off the film with two investigative journalists trying to make a podcast about Dr. Evil himself, Michael Myers. What did you think ― being a Very Serious Journalist yourself ― of their characters and their toilet-y deaths? Is this film anti-journalist? A commentary on fake news, perhaps?
Bill: Thank you. I am very serious and a journalist. Also, the minute they said they were podcasters, I knew they were dead. I think it’s more anti-podcaster than anti anything else. This world is too dark for a couple of idealistic Michael Myers–mask–carrying iPod jockeys. Obviously you’re going to die in a toilet. So naive. They do help us catch up with Laurie Strode, though. How’d you feel about Jamie Lee Curtis’ new and improved Laurie?
Priscilla: I have to say I was a little disappointed that neither of the podcasters’ heads went into the nasty toilet. I thought that was coming.
I fucking love Laurie! It was so fun to have the prey of a horror movie be a different archetype from the beautiful, fragile, good girl running for her life. Instead, we get this tough, frazzled, damaged, survivalist grannie who is bloodthirsty for Michael as much as he’s thirsty her. I loved everything about JLC in this role, from her buff arms to her frizzy bob to her bizarrely terrifying mannequin collection.
So, of all nights to transfer Michael Myers from one mental health facility to the other, they choose the night before Halloween. WTF? Doesn’t that seem a bit risky? Do you think that the doctor didn’t realize what night it was or that part of him wanted Michael to escape?
Bill: The mannequins were the scariest part of the entire movie. Who keeps a room full of mannequins in the house? They are certainly going to come to life one day.
I theorize the doctor was behind the breakout. He just wanted to be alone with Michael in this weirdly intimate way. I mean, who moves a bus full of prisoners around Halloween? Especially with a notorious mask-wearing mass murderer on board. Probably on the first page of the prison handbook it says, “Don’t do that, ya doofus.” It doesn’t add up. Doc was definitely in on it.
What’s one shocking/squishy moment that stood out for you?
Priscilla: Definitely the squishiest moment was when Michael stomped the doctor’s head into oblivion. The excitement of that scene made me giddy, in a way that almost made me understand the thrill Michael gets from killing. (Almost!!!) I also really enjoyed the running frustration of him not saying a word the entire movie and the viewer never getting to see his real face. It hammered home this idea that Michael is not a person but a bogeyman.
What are your thoughts on Michael’s humanity? Do you feel that his acts of cruelty qualify him as a thing or an animal more than a person? There was that one moment where he walks by the crying baby in the crib and doesn’t kill it, and I was like, aww, he’s a good guy! (The bar is so low, amiright, ladies?!) Why do you think Michael didn’t kill that baby? Too easy? Or does he have a ticking biological clock somewhere deep down inside?
Bill: If I’m being honest, I think the baby was a mistake. I mean, the family probably wanted it or whatever, but it was a mistake to have in the movie. The whole thing about Michael is he’s this scary unfeeling evil in a William Shatner mask, and sure, maybe he walks a little slow. But eventually he’s gonna catch up. And now you’re telling me you’re safe as long as you’re a baby?
The director actually commented on that moment and called it the “one ethical choice” Michael makes. But why have him make it at all? You don’t need to show him killing a baby. JUST DON’T HAVE THE BABY. Unless that baby is going to grow up to be the next Jamie Lee Curtis. “Twenty years ago, that bastard came into my room and just let me be, the bastard!”
The baby, for me, was the thing that I liked the least about the movie. What about you?
Priscilla: Hmm, I think my least favorite part was when Dave got 10-31-18 tattooed on his shoulder. What reason could there possibly be to immortalize that date for all time? It didn’t even look like he and Vicky were going to have sex that night, per her “dry hump” comment. Let’s never forget the random night we smoked weed and dry humped? This is why you shouldn’t get a tattoo as a teenager.
Were there any characters you wanted to see suffer a grisly death who made it out alive?
Bill: What? You mean you don’t get random dates tattooed on your shoulder? OK, can we talk about Cameron? The cheating boyfriend who somehow makes it out alive? Why is this guy still here? Didn’t Michael have a thing for killing nonvirgins? News alert, dude! That guy’s a walking reminder to get free STD checkups.
But let’s focus on something positive. Which character would you call the MVP?
Priscilla: I thought Laurie was such a joy to watch. She was hilarious and in the scariest moments gave me confidence, as a viewer, that she had this shit under control. I also thought Julian, the little kid who Vicki was babysitting, was very smart to get the hell out of that house without trying to save anyone. Well done, Julian. We should, as a culture, emphasize the benefit of running away more.
The person I felt the sorriest for, though, was house dad Ray. After the Strode women finally kill Michael, there’s this sense of victory, obviously, but it seems they never took a beat to consider where their husband/dad went. Karen is like, “Where is Ray?” and no one answers, and then they just move right on. I hope if I ever get married or have kids, I’m more appreciated than Ray.
Bill: TBH, Ray was dead weight. And actually became dead weight, so I get it. Just stay in the house, Ray. You’re a side character. This isn’t about you. All the guys in this movie — shitty and nonshitty — this isn’t about you! This is the origin story of the Strode women forming their own crimefighting superhero team. Honestly, the dudes just had to stay out of the way and they’d make it to the next movie. Look at that cheatburger Cameron. That dude is gonna be in the sequel, probably.
Karen’s my MVP for her moment at the end. I forget what she says exactly, but in my head, it’s like, “Got ya, bitch!” She’s such a baller.
What’d you think of that after-credits scene? Where do you think it’s going next?
Priscilla: I didn’t see it! What happened?
Bill: Again, in my head, it was gonna be Samuel L. Jackson showing up to ask them to be Avengers, but in reality, you can hear Michael Myers still breathing. He’s back, dude.
Priscilla: Ugh, he’s alive?? Is that possible?
Bill: Yep. Michael Myers regularly falls out of buildings, gets shot, gets burned alive and is totally fine. He’s like a bro who didn’t realize “Jackass” was canceled years ago. So what I’m looking forward to is 20 movies from now, when that baby finally comes back to kick his ass. Happy Halloween, Michael.
Priscilla: As HuffPost’s resident fan theory expert, can you share any fun theories circulating about the movie on the interweb?
Bill: I think the craziest one I’ve seen is that Laurie may have caused the accident that released Michael. Because, wait, it makes so much sense. She has been wanting this face-off for years, was sitting in her car watching the bus when it’s getting ready to leave and shows up to dinner a mess afterward. When she hears the news about Michael having escaped, she almost expected it. Maybe that’s because she did it.
If not that, I think the doctor set Michael free. Also, LL Cool J is still out there somewhere, writing his novels.
What do you think about Laurie possibly causing the bus crash?
Priscilla: Ehhh … I’m not convinced. Her truck seemed pretty OK afterward. And when she showed up at dinner, she seemed stressed out in a “I just saw Michael” way but not quite a “Michael fucking escaped” way. I feel she would have made her family go into the basement right then and there if that was the case, no? But I like the theory. I’m open to it. I wouldn’t rule out Laurie pulling a stunt like that, that beautiful maniac.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how scary do you think “Halloween” is?
Bill: Haven’t you seen “Footloose” when Kevin Bacon plays chicken on the tractor and that terrible guy is run off the road? Laurie obviously did that with the bus. She’s sick of dance being outlawed. And the tractors are Michael, because they move so slowly. We all tattoo random dates on our shoulders. It makes sense!
On a scale of 1 to 10? H20. But really, probably a 7? Ghosts are the scariest thing. So it wasn’t ghosts.
Same question to you. Also, who do you think was installing all that doomsday stuff in her house? Which brings up another point: That truck was probably not an ordinary truck. It probably shoots out missiles or leaves an oil slick or whatever Trump has on his limo now. More reason she could’ve crashed the bus.
Priscilla: I think a 7 is an appropriate scary score. I was always on guard, but there was nothing too egregious that went down. (Just some chill human butchering, no big.)
I assume that Laurie tricked out her own house because Laurie is a superhuman mutant who gets the job done when no one else will. But I do like imagining a neighborhood booby trap engineer who only has one very devoted client.
I also wanted to ask, if Michael did end up uttering one single word, what do you think he would say?
Bill: Maybe “Rosebud” or something. “Get schwifty.” Or “Make sure to save one year’s salary by the time you’re 30.” That’d be scary. You?
Priscilla: That would be scary! I think a baby-talked “Mama” would have really hit the spot.
All right, Bill, final question. Would you recommend “Halloween” to a friend? Under what conditions?
Bill: I recommend it under most conditions. My life doesn’t have to be threatened or anything. The problem is a lot of my friends don’t like watching scary movies, which again is why I don’t watch them at home very often. But to my hypothetical friend who likes horror, def go see it. And if you’re going to agree Laurie caused the bus accident and dancing shouldn’t be outlawed, even better. What about you?
Priscilla: Yes, would recommend to anyone who’s not a little babyface scaredy-cat. Just bring a large coat to hide your face behind, if necessary.
This has been “Should You Watch It?” a weekly examination of movies and TV worth ― or not worth! ― your time.