22 October 2018

Death Has Returned To This Little Town

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I love the director John Carpenter as much as little fat kids love to eat at McDonald's and as much as McDonald's loves to get rich off their slow descent into a life of diabetes. His original 1978 Halloween was essentially the very first slasher film if you were to ignore 1974's Black Christmas and his scores cause me to feel an emotion that my fellow humans have assured me is called happiness. When it was announced that another Halloween film was being made, I couldn't really have given less of shit. All of the sequels had been pretty fucking bad up until that point and I would rather stick my head in the fucking oven than sit through Rob Zombie's pointless fucking remakes. However, when it was then announced that it'd be from the director of Pineapple Express and written by the comedy actor Danny McBride, I became a little curious. Kind of like when you go to a show in Amsterdam and you see all of the props that a performer is about to insert into themselves. I was confused as to what they might be aiming to achieve and I was scared that I wouldn't like whatever might eventually hit the big screen in front of me. But I was also kind of intrigued and a little excited to see what might happen anyway.

As it turns out, not only was this new Halloween going to ignore all of the previous instalments to become a direct sequel to Carpenter's original, but he would be both producing and scoring too. Not only that but it would feature Jamie Lee Curtis back in the very lead role that made her even more iconic than the decades-long rumour that she was born a hermaphrodite. By this point, I couldn't fucking wait. Counting down the seconds until I could see this film was probably the closest that I would ever feel to being pregnant. But better. Because after it was fully developed I wouldn't have to push this film out of my genitals and then prevent myself from murdering it for eighteen years. However, waiting was all that I could do as the film came together and today was finally the day that I got to meet it. Wearing my Halloween t-shirt and going to the cinema alone, I instantly regretted wearing both my Halloween shirt and going to the cinema alone. Individually I can pull both of those two things off, but even I struggle to maintain face with a double-loser power move like that. Luckily this new film turned out to be so fucking good that I didn't really care what people thought of me by the end. 

In fact, I would say that this film was made just for me and I was able to relate to it in ways that are almost too terrifying to admit. As a direct sequel to the original, we find out that the killer Michael Myers has spent the last forty years in a lunatic asylum. I think that's what it was anyway... It could just as easily have been Birmingham after the shops have closed because either way there were a lot of confused and malnourished looking weirdos simply doddering around without anything to do. Meanwhile, Laurie Strode has spent the last forty years preparing for his return. In 1978 Laurie was attacked by the knife-wielding Myers after he'd killed off most of her friends in one of the worst babysitting fiasco's to not include the young British au pair, Louise Woodward. In terms of her preparation, however, Laurie hasn't exactly been blowing up the balloons and pinning up the 'Welcome home you murdering psycho' banners. Instead, she's been waiting for death to come after having spent her time by tooling the shit up and preparing to shotgun his head clean fucking off. As I watched this film, I was aware that having turned thirty years old a week earlier that I too have been waiting for the death to come after me. I'd always suspected that I might turn thirty in the same way that Laurie suspected that Michael would come after her. I just pray that when I soon find myself staring into the cold dead eyes of death that I have balls as big as Jamie Lee Curtis has been alleged to have.

In fact, the most interesting thing about this film is in the way that it deals with the character of Laurie Strode. Since the first Halloween movie was released, it's become a little cliched to rely on the concept of 'the last girl' and so most good horror movies have been trying to subvert it in one way or another. You're Next and Switchblade Romance revealed cool twists on the concept in their third acts however this feels like the first movie to have the concept as a primary focus. This sequel isn't so much about what happens when the killer comes back to town but rather it's about what happens to 'the final girl' after she's survived. As it turns out when exploring this idea you end up with the Heat of all slasher films as the divide between predator and prey becomes increasingly blurred. As it turns out Laurie didn't take her experiences from the first film too lightly and she's now ready to show Michael how forty years of trauma can turn you into a fucking bad-ass. Sure this means that you have a slasher film in which two pensioners are running around trying to kill each other. And yes this is basically what happens in an old peoples home when you start spreading rumours that one of the residents used to secretly fight for the Nazis, but if there's anybody in this world that doesn't want to see Jamie Lee Curtis go all Sarah Connor on a masked psychopath then our species is even more fucked than I thought. 

A year before this film was released I was in the middle of drinking a cup of tea when I began to wonder what all of the weird crumbs in my mouth were. In case you're now wondering too then they're essentially what happens when you get to the very end of your hot drink before realising that the milk is about a week out of date. Oh and just in case that wasn't gross enough, this just happened to be exact second that I was reading about Harvey Weinstein wanking off into a pot plant for the first time. Since that day, the news of Hollywood's powerful but rapey bastards have become pretty common knowledge and this film couldn't feel more timely if it tried. For decades we've seen 'the last girl' put through hell before just about escaping the phallic-like knife of her male attacker. However like the victims of the 'Me Too' movement Laurie has spent her life having to live with the memory of the abuse and has decided that now is the time to fight back. Not only that but through her actions, her daughter and granddaughter will hopefully be able to live a life free from the fear that she was subjected too as she inspires them to also rise up against it. As much as I really did love this new movie I suppose I'd be lying if I said it was perfect. The two podcasters at the start of the movie were so dull that I would probably have murdered them myself to shut them up. And in a year of HereditaryA Quiet Place, and having to picture Donald Trump's dick looking like a mushroom from Mario, Halloween isn't the scariest thing about 2018.

However, that's not to say that it wasn't scary. In fact, there's even an element of genius to how most of the incidental characters are actually really funny people. I wish death upon most people that I'm unfortunate enough to meet in real life and so a film is asking a lot of me to give two shiny fucks about some babysitter that's only been on screen for about sixty seconds. But by having those characters make me laugh I suddenly did find myself caring a little for them. It was fun too seeing how the film kept you on your toes by balancing the way Michael would murder his victims to keep them fresh. Some were completely original, some were references to the first film, and best of all were the fresh twists on his original killings. Although there was a tracking shot of Michael as he picks up a hammer from a tool shed that I really loved here - it was the moments in which Laurie is given some of Michael's iconic shots from the first film that I loved the most. Which goes back to the real reason to love this movie and that is is Jamie Lee Curtis's performance and the final thirty minutes in which her daughter and granddaughter decided to fight back. Not that Michael doesn't get the treatment that he deserves too, as the film perfectly balances the intrigue of his humanity with the necessity that he simply remain a force of evil. Famously the Michael Myers mask was originally a William Shatner mask that had been painted white. Now as much as I loved The Voyage Home there really only is one great Star Trek film which is, of course, The Wrath Of Kahn. In which case it now seems that with the original film and this new sequel, Michael Myers actually has a better C.V. than Shatner himself. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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