A gore-geous addition to the ‘Halloween’ franchise

David Matos, Associate Arts & Life Editor

A normal reoccurrence for the people of the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, is a man wearing coveralls and a modified William Shatner mask seeking his next murder victim on Halloween night — something most people luckily can’t relate to.

“Halloween Kills” was released in theaters and the Peacock streaming service Oct. 15. The film’s release was delayed from fall 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2018 revival film “Halloween” was a brilliant resurgence of the franchise, which was reflected in the film’s box office sales: $255.6 million worldwide. The 2018 film was the highest-grossing in comparison to the 11 other “Halloween” films, even surpassing the sales of the original 1978 film of the same name. The much-anticipated sequel “Halloween Kills” clearly had a lot to live up to.

Though I still prefer John Carpenter’s original, “Halloween Kills” acts as a perfect middle child to the revival series.

The movie kicks into high gear where the last film left off.

In 2018, “Halloween” left viewers wondering if the unstoppable serial killer, Michael Myers, played by James Jude Courtney, was finally killed in a fire set off by Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode. “Halloween Kills” answers that question 20 minutes into the film.

While Strode is rushed to the hospital, firefighters respond to her burning residence. As many of the annoyingly idiotic characters in the film do, they unknowingly free Myers from the fire. In return, Myers does what he knows best and slaughters all of the firefighters with their own weapons.

The scene is rather violent and everything one would hope for when watching a slasher film. However, this is probably the least gory scene, which is rather refreshing. A significant lack of horror violence was my main critique of the 2018 reboot. If I’m watching a scary movie, I want to be scared.

This film doesn’t waste too much of its time fleshing out any of its characters. Instead, it plays more to the classic “Halloween” formula of a masked Myers hunting for his next victim to murder in his hometown of Haddonfield on Halloween night. So if you’re looking for a developing storyline and quality characterization, this isn’t the movie for you.

The film begins with Strode’s daughter’s boyfriend, Cameron Elam, portrayed by Dylan Arnold, finding Will Patton’s character, Deputy Frank Hawkins, badly wounded from an attempted murder attack by Dr. Ranbir Sartain in the previous film.

This meeting immediately cuts to a flashback sequence of a mousy officer Hawkins.

Hawkins unintentionally shot and killed his partner while trying to rescue him from Myers. This revelation sets up for a continuation of the sequence later in the film that shows Hawkins intentionally stopping Myers from being executed that same night. From the firefighters to Hawkins, the characters in this film consistently fail to let the crazed murderer perish.

However, Hawkins clearly regrets this decision as anybody who could’ve prevented an unhinged serial killer from continuing his 40-year-long killing spree would.

Myers’ execution would have definitely saved Strode a lot of heartache.

Hawkins is not the only character who yearns for the death of Myers. The whole town has had enough of the psychotic killer, which pushes the residents of Haddonfield to form an angry mob to hunt and kill Myers once and for all.

Lance Tivoli, played by Ross Bacon, was one of the convicts who escaped the prison bus alongside Myers that kickstarted the murderous events in the 2018 film.

Tivoli makes a reappearance in “Halloween Kills,” but this time he is mistaken by the vengeful mob for a maskless Myers when he enters the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. Karen Nelson, played by Judy Greer, knows Tivoli isn’t the iconic killer but despite her attempts to save him from the rage of the townspeople, he is forced to kill himself by jumping out of a window.

Tivoli’s death is upsetting because the whole town was essentially in on it. Myers turned the townspeople into murderous monsters who collectively caused an innocent man who wasn’t actually Myers — like they presumed — to end his own life. Also, as mentioned before, the characters’ attempts to kill Myers in “Halloween Kills” are rather futile which was very prevalent throughout most of the movie.

This shocking part in the film was beyond impactful because it finally shows the realistic consequences of Myers’ actions. The long list of people who were killed by Myers wasn’t just disposable horror movie extras. They were friends and family to the people in the town, and they’re angry about it — angry enough to push someone to jump to their death.

This film reintroduces some old faces from the franchise who all survived the deadly events in 1978. Tommy Doyle, now portrayed by Anthony Michael Hall, and Lindsey Wallace, played by Kyle Richards, are both of the children who Strode babysat while her friends were being murdered in the original film and now both seek to end the life of Myers along with the rest of the town.

The film also brings back Nancy Stephens’ Marion Chambers, who was a nurse at Myer’s psychiatric hospital. Lastly, Lonnie Elam, now portrayed by Robert Longstreet, was a minor character in the 1978 film but now has a bigger role as Cameron Elam’s father.

As a longtime fan of the “Halloween” movies, it was nice to see some insignificant characters come back with a more dynamic role in “Halloween Kills”.

One of the final deaths, and my favorite scene in the movie, in “Halloween Kills” pays homage to the iconic shower killing of Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” The character is killed with a knife, but the viewer doesn’t actually see the weapon piercing their skin. Instead, the focal point is the screams of the victim letting the viewer know that Myers has succeeded at his murderous task.

I loved all of the easter eggs and horror movie references in “Halloween Kills,” but I always appreciate a “Psycho” reference especially when Curtis, Leigh’s daughter, is involved.

Overall, the film was worth the wait. “Halloween Kills” went back to its original slasher film roots, which I can definitely appreciate as a fan of the 1978 film. I like how Strode and Myers never meet in this film leaving it open for a much more impactful climax between the two for the next one. I’m looking forward to seeing how this night finally concludes in “Halloween Ends,” which is set to release Oct. 14, 2022.

4/5 Knives

Illustration by (Connor Lawless)