10 harsh realities of reviewing Halloween movies

Although Halloween Ends claims to put the series to bed forever, true horror hounds know they probably haven’t seen the latest Michael Myers. Like any long-running movie series, Halloween movies have their fair share of ups and downs, but there are some glaring problems that emerge when revisiting classic movies.

From completely inept characters to series rumors that simply aren’t scary, Halloween offers a host of harsh realities to be reckoned with throughout the many sequels and reboots. While each film series has its own set of problems, there are certain aspects of the Halloween franchise that are too important to ignore.

Dr. Loomis is mostly useless

Donald Pleasence’s veteran craft was one of the reasons the original Halloween was such a great movie, but his character of Dr. Sam Loomis presents more problems than solutions throughout the series. Although he may have the best of intentions, Loomis continually messes things up and repeatedly puts others in mortal danger.

Loomis’s experience with Michael gives him a level of Captain Ahab’s dedication to taking down the killer, but after the first movie, the doctor is mostly in the way. He inadvertently causes Ben Tramer’s death in Halloween II, and in almost every movie he appears in, he’s notably absent when Michael tracks down the Last Girl.

Does Halloween take place in Illinois or California?

Generic and simple, Haddonfield’s setting was chosen to be as close as possible to a typical American town. While this was intended to annoy viewers who saw parallels in their own communities, it actually presented a plethora of problems for a film production shot entirely in California.

Throughout the original film, Pasadena’s evergreen streets are covered in fallen leaves to simulate the experience of a Midwestern fall, but the illusion is dim at best. The film’s brilliant writing and execution was enough to distract viewers from this serious flaw, but the glaring disparity of locations harms the film in subsequent reviews.

The not-so-special return of Laurie Strode

One of the biggest selling points of the new film trilogy was that the show’s original star Jamie Lee Curtis would return to reprise his role. While fans rejoiced to see Laurie Strode back on screen, the fact is that Curtis’s return wasn’t all that special.

Halloween has always been one of Jamie Lee Curtis’ best movies, and he’s never been afraid to come back to give Michael another make up. From her first return in Halloween II to his story in H20 and Resurrection, Curtis has always enthusiastically repaid the series that made her famous. While she still makes an outstanding performance, Curtis’ seven appearances make her a common sight throughout the franchise.

The Halloween timeline is a mess

In an age of reboots, remakes, and sequels galore, it’s not unusual for a movie series’ timeline to get a little confusing. Halloween, on the other hand, has gotten muddy and become a veritable quagmire of jumbled and confusing storylines that seem to be discarded or restarted with each new iteration.

David Gordon Green’s films have kept things simple by ignoring everything that happened after the original film, but it’s hard for fans to forget the character details that were revealed in other sequels. Often considered one of the most confusing movie franchises of all time, viewers can’t be frightened when they’re too distracted by a messed up timeline.

The end of Halloween was disappointing

Completing a series that has spanned nearly half a century is a tall order, and while Halloween Ends injected new ideas into the franchise, the ending was bound to be disappointing. The series showed that Michael Myers is an unstoppable killing machine and the way he was ultimately eliminated ruined everything that had happened before.

The man who survived multiple gunshot wounds and a massive house fire was rendered useless by a kitchen appliance at a truly ridiculous time. While his final ending was much more cathartic and fit well with the story the film was telling, his sudden weakness was a made-up plot that wasn’t true to the character.

The motivation of Laurie Strode

One of the things Halloween 2018 did well was following the life of Laurie Strode and telling the story of a woman who is truly obsessed with her experience. While it’s a more realistic depiction of the trauma, her motivation in the David Gordon Green trilogy is a bit confusing.

Laurie has built her entire life around the assumption that Michael will come back to clean her, but she really has no reason to think that would happen. By eliminating the whole sibling perspective of Halloween II, the more recent films bring Michael back to his original form of a random killer, and he has no real motivation.

Halloween 3 was really cool

Audiences totally rejected Halloween III: Season of the Witch when it was released in the early 1980s because it had nothing to do with Michael Myers. However, over time, the abandoned spin-off film has actually stood the test of time as one of the few good Halloween sequels.

With a new idea and a spooky storyline, Season of the Witch has vowed to take the franchise in a new direction as an anthology series. While it hasn’t taken off, it’s still considered one of the best films in the Halloween series and far outstripped the deluge of shoddy sequels that Michael Myers was resurrected in the decades since.

Captain Kirk’s ghostly masks

Simplicity was the key to the original Halloween movie and the mysterious white mask that obscured Michael’s face was the thing that sealed the whole movie. Captain Kirk’s repurposed mask gave the killer an aura of anonymity and contributed to his personality known only as The Shape.

Unfortunately, as the sequels progressed, the masks began to drift further and further away from the creepy face of the original film. Even in Halloween II, the visibly elongated mask made Michael look completely different and in Halloween 5 the mask was almost unrecognizable. Capturing the creepy simplicity of the original was difficult, but replicating the mask should have been the costume department’s first priority.

Michael stops being scary

While the movies are still known for Michael Myers’ most shocking murders, the character’s over-saturation has diminished Michael’s fear factor somewhat over the years. In the original film, he was the almost ethereal incarnation of evil called The Shape, but over time he became just another heavy slasher idiot.

Things fell apart during the Thorn trilogy, in which the once-great antagonist was reduced to a mere pawn in a much larger storyline. Even before that, the repetitive nature of the sequels caused Michael to lose much of his luster, and he stopped being very scary after he proved completely invincible.

Nobody understood why Halloween (1978) was so good

It’s only on rare occasions that a film sequel manages to capture the spirit of its predecessor, and Halloween has never seen a sequel that understands why it was so effective. 1978 was a time that can never be replicated and the tone of the film reflected the very specific anxieties of an extremely violent decade.

The film wasn’t hair-raising because of the details; Halloween was effective because of what it represented for the average small town in America. Michael was not a supernatural monster but an unmotivated killer who could be anyone’s neighbor. Instead of updating these ideas to fit modern times, the sequels have instead decided to turn The Shape into a generic product to be copied over and over again.

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