Roni here, reporting from the ground at FANTASTIC FEST!
I’ve been super excited about the new HALLOWEEN movie ever since Jamie Lee Curtis shared this image on Twitter. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love Jamie Lee? She is a badass.
Here’s Laurie Strode, in full on survivalist mode. She’s got a basement full of canned goods and weapons and she’s ready to rumble. Unfortunately, she’s alienated her entire family with her crazy obsession with Michael Meyers. That’s where we are at the beginning of David Gordon Green’s HALLOWEEN.
And last night I got to see it WITH JAMIE LEE CURTIS in the room, y'all! And, you guys, she is as awesome as you expect her to be in person, if not more so.
At the screening Q&A, Jamie talked about what attracted her to the script – the representation of trauma and its aftermath, which as she points out, is not something that you usually get to see in horror movies. I’m paraphrasing, but she kind of walks us through what happened to her character after the events of the original HALLOWEEN: “Here’s Laurie Strode. On November 1st 1977, they stuck a bandaid on her and she went back to school. She had no help. That’s just how they dealt with stuff then. But on October 31st, she had left school as a happy young woman with friends, an honor student, full of hope and promise. What happens to people who don’t get help?”
That’s a big part of what the movie explores, and what makes this take on HALLOWEEN so interesting. The intergenerational trauma that affects three generations of Strode women, and how they deal with it. I won’t spoil the movie for you, but if you’ve been waiting for a Laurie Strode revenge flick, HALLOWEEN 2018 is going to be your jam.
But enough Jamie Lee fangirling, Roni: How was the film?? First, David Gordon Green really takes HALLOWEEN back to its 70’s roots. The shooting style, the color palette, even the title treatments, all bring a very classic 1970’s horror vibe (John Carpenter, who also acts as Executive Producer on this, even created some new music for this movie.) Green leans really heavily on atmosphere to create nostalgia, and the floating camera following Michael through a group of oblivious trick or treating kids is really subtly unnerving.
In fact, “subtle” seems to be a real byword of this film. It’s not terribly gory, at least by Rob Zombie standards (ok there’s like, one scene that’s really “ewww”) but when the bloody scares come, they’re more likely to be something like Michael Meyers throwing some teeth over the bathroom stall door. (That happens in the trailer, right? I’m not spoiling anything). Sometimes, it doesn’t even feel like a horror movie. (I would have liked one travelling shot with the leaves blowing in the foreground, okay, David Gordon Green? Just one!) The horror in this movie is definitely there, but it’s more likely to be unsettling horror than jump-scare horror. And there is humor, too (the foul mouthed kid that one of Michael's victims babysits is, far and away, my favorite character in this movie. I hope they make the next movie about this kid.)
I know people like to bag on Rob Zombie’s take on the HALLOWEEN universe, but I actually really liked those movies. They are stylish, and he has a tendency to cast Sid Haig a lot, which is always a huge plus with me! But the Zombie oeuvre do tend to focus on the psychology of Michael Meyers almost exclusively (and David Gordon Green does send up the “psychologist obsessed with Michael Meyers” trope pretty effectively here.) Green takes the franchise in a different direction, re-focusing on Laurie’s psychology. I’m here for it!
The movie opens wide in mid-October!