In defense of big swings
HALLOWEEN ENDS rules, y'all
I started to suspect David Gordon Green and his collaborators had something unusual up their sleeve for HALLOWEEN ENDS when, a few weeks before the film’s release, we had only seen a single trailer for the film and it was A) unusually short and B) featured footage from what appeared to be a single scene in the film.
I had not read any of the spoilers that were floating around the internet, nor did I read any reviews save for a few hot take immediate reaction Tweets I saw following the film’s premiere. That’s why it was so flipping refreshing to go into HALLOWEEN ENDS knowing absolutely nothing about the film’s plot. And, oh, what a plot it was.
I’m going to try my best not to spoil too much about HALLOWEEN ENDS but just the fact that I want to talk about how the film is a bold experiment in how to be a sequel is probably in and of itself a spoiler. Yes, the film takes a very weird side-step approach to be the third film in a planned trilogy. It actually reminded me a lot of THE GODFATHER III - which I know is not exactly a ringing endorsement. In the same way Francis Ford Coppola retitled his third film THE GODFATHER CODA: THE DEATH OF MICHAEL CORLEONE, David Gordon Green really should have named his film HALLOWEEN CODA: THE DEATH OF MICHAEL MYERS.
But with a name like HALLOWEEN ENDS, we all knew there was only one way this film was going to end, right?
HALLOWEEN ENDS takes some big swings - and the result seems to have really struck a sour note with fans. Folks are complaining about the fact that Michael Myers is barely in the movie, or that the film is too somber and self-serious to be a slasher film. Folks are butt-hurt about the fact that they didn’t get an extended 90-minute fight between Laurie Strode and Myers - but is that really what they wanted?
I really don’t understand fans who are averse to change. I remember going to see THE HANGOVER 2 and being lived that the film was a carbon copy of the original - structure and all. When I see a sequel, it’s because I like the characters and want to see more stories with them - not just the same story told again but in different settings. I love sequels that take the central characters and put them in wildly different situations. Maybe that’s why I love Abbott and Costello movies so much - it’s the same ingredients, but arranged in new and exciting ways - like the Taco Bell menu.
HALLOWEEN ENDS is a tremendous film - smart and with a real voice behind every choice. I love David Gordon Green’s entire trilogy, though. All three films are pointed in their attack on letting a single moment define your life, even if that moment is trauma. Green approaches this theme in a way that can sometimes come off as mean or cruel, but what is a slasher film if not mean or cruel? HALLOWEEN (2018) followed a woman who had spent her life preparing for the return of her boogeyman only to realize that her personal monster didn’t know or care about her. HALLOWEEN KILLS was about a town of vigilantes realizing in the bloodiest way possible that they were not the heroes of the story. HALLOWEEN ENDS is about letting your guilt and despair fester away in your soul until you become the monster you fear you already were.
I love all three films and the way they dance around the totem poll of their shared DNA. These are films about the legacy of a scare and the echoes it can cause. In that way, they are about horror films themselves. They are wild, unpredictable, smart, and fun. They are the perfect sequels to a masterpiece that has, for decades, been strip-mined for every ounce of gold in the riverbed. John Carpenter’s original is a classic. I love HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH. But so many of the other films in the HALLOWEEN franchise are just plain wack. To be perfectly honest here, the HALLOWEEN franchise does not deserve a sequel like HALLOWEEN ENDS - but we were lucky enough to get it anyway.
So what if the horror community seems to overwhelmingly hate HALLOWEEN ENDS? I appreciate the kind of fan who will buy a 4K UHD box set of the Miramax HALLOWEEN films but then rage against HALLOWEEN ENDS in the same way I appreciate a jaguar.
I don’t want to be stuck in an elevator with one but I think it’s kind of neat they exist.