It’s Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness!
The Halloween series was a broken-down mess. The first was a classic, the second was a bit tired, the third started fresh with a new idea—but failed miserably in the public eye—the fourth brought back Michael Myers and started planting the seeds of absurdity, the fifth escalated to new heights of ridiculousness, and the sixth SHAT all over the whole Michael Myers mythology. There was nowhere to go after that—it was ruined.
It was deep into the 90’s. The slasher genre was worn out. But it was often parodied in movies like Scream. Scream made constant references to Halloween, and introduced new audiences to it. It was like the genre had gotten a newfound attention, myself included. I had recently become a fan of the Halloween franchise, and noticed how the sequels kept getting worse. I wanted to see one good, final Halloween to salvage the whole mess.
The occasion was rife. It was the 20-year anniversary of the first movie. It was announced that the new movie would go back to basics, and ignore all the sequels that came after II. With no Donald Pleasance, who would be the star? Well, Jamie Lee Curtis, who left the series long ago, had become a major actress since then. I had no idea she would ever return for another Halloween movie, but she did, and with love and affection.
The first Halloween launched her career, and now she was returning the favor by coming back for the 20th anniversary. There was no better time to be a Halloween fan.
This was the first Halloween movie I saw in the theater. This is when they started releasing them in August instead of October, which I’m very much against.
The title is a little lame: H20 ["H-twenty"], or “H-two-oh,” as it’s usually called. Just because the abbreviation happens to be the chemical formula for water, does that mean we have to call it that?
Another returning actress is Nancy Stevens as the nurse. She was a minor character in the first movie. Also, there’s Jamie’s mother, Janet Leigh, from Psycho. This scene pays tribute to Psycho; that’s the same car, and the music sounds very similar.
Rather than taking place in Haddonfield with a suburban town setting, it takes place in Northern California at a high school. Laurie Strode’s in charge of the school. She’s changed her name to Kerry Tate … and let’s not forget she was originally Laurie Myers. She’s got a lot of names. She’s got a son named John, and a boyfriend named Will. Her life seems pretty stable, except when it’s Halloween. All her tragic memories from that night 20 years ago keep returning to haunt her. Michael Myers already appeared in the first scene, so we know her fears are legit.
If this is really supposed to be a continuation of Halloween II, there’s no explanation of how Michael survived the fire. They never even mention the fire whatsoever; they just say “his body was never found.” This sounds like they’re talking about the first movie, where he fell off the balcony and then disappeared. That would make sense. So, I think it picks up after the first Halloween. II through 6 never happened.
Michael Myers looks similar to how he did in the first movie, rather than being built like a football player. I’m glad they got his physique right, but you see his eyes too much. I always envisioned two black holes, but that’s my personal preference. I just think he’s scarier when you don’t see his eyes.
There are some moderately suspenseful moments, but most of the film relies on cheap shocks.
[clip of jump scare in which Will sneaks up behind Laurie and shocks her]
Why does everyone keep sneaking up on Laurie all the time? Couldn’t they just say “hello”?
Michael spends most of his time stalking John, his friends, and the security guard played by LL Cool J. This is all a warmup to the final confrontation with Laurie versus Michael. That’s what the movie’s all about. You don’t even see John that much during the last act. He’s a throwaway character.
This movie belongs to Jamie Lee Curtis, and no one else. She beats the shit outta Michael Myers. It goes on and on! It isn’t even scary anymore; it’s like a slapstick comedy.
[clip of Laurie hitting Michael over the head with a fire extinguisher; "Benny Hill" theme music plays]
Michael’s now the victim! In fact, I heard one of the original titles was The Revenge of Laurie Strode, which would have been very appropriate. Yeah, there’s nothing scary about it, but it has a triumphant feel. When I saw it in the theater, people were cheering. It felt great to see Laurie have her revenge. She’s tired of hiding, she’s tired of running; now it’s time to kick ass. It’s time to put Michael Myers down for good. This gang-raped, bitch-slapped, broken-down mess of a series had to end. Let’s fucking end it for good.
There’s a false ending where Michael’s body’s taken in to an ambulance. We know what’s gonna happen: the ambulance is gonna drive off, Michael’s gonna wake up and kill the driver, yeah, just another predictable cliffhanger—OH WAIT! Laurie’s stealing the ambulance! She’s not having it! She’s like, “fuck YOU, cliffhanger!” That’s what you call a smart character.
Michael wakes up, but she’s ready. She hits the breaks, smashes him through the windshield, runs him over, and traps him between the vehicle and a tree. In a touching moment, brother and sister reach for each other … and then Laurie CUTS HIS FUCKING HEAD OFF!
The reaction in the theater was priceless. Everybody was applauding. I’m not sure if they were applauding for the same reason as I was, but I was glad to see that the series was given a proper finale. I still think his death in the second movie was the most conclusive, because his whole body was burning away. But anyway, his head came off. It didn’t look like he’d be coming back.
H20 was great when I saw it in the theater, but since then, it doesn’t hold up as well. It’s okay; I don’t have any major complaints or praises for it. It’s just all right. Anyone who wants to avoid the sequels can skip to this one, and see how the series should have ended.
I repeat: should have ended.