Although I am not a big fan of all of the movies in the “Halloween” series of films, I believe that as a body of work it was necessary that I provide an overview of each. As you will see I am a fan of “Halloween 2” and “Halloween 3“. The rest of the films are sub-par in my opinion except for “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” which was slightly better than average, but nothing to write to your friends in the asylum about. So join me as I explore the franchise that John Carpenter and Debra Hill created and Hollywood has run into the ground.
Halloween Movie Sequels
Halloween II Story
The Nightmare isn’t over… and boy truer words haven’t been spoken!!!!! “The Night He Came Home” continues. The story picks up right where “Halloween” ended. Michael, after being shot several times by Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), falls off a balcony to his apparent death. But wait a minute kiddies, if it were that easy, “why did they make a second film”? Because the indestructible one isn’t finished what he started.
As the story moves on, we see a badly injured Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) being taken to the hospital as Loomis proclaims, “I shot him six times”. This is challenged by Sheriff Brackett’s equally memorable reply, “you must have missed”. In the background, we see Michael lurking, biding his time, and leaving dead bodies in his wake as he continues to stalk Laurie. Fanatically, Loomis leads a manhunt searching for the masked one as Laurie recovers in an eerily empty Haddonfield Memorial Hospital.
Back at Haddonfield Memorial, Mike wants in, but “visiting hours” are over. So he uses his own brand of persuasions with any handy dandy instrument of destruction (i.e. scalpels, syringes, etc) he can get his hands on. Maybe Michael missed his true calling, but I think he would have had a hard time letting his patients live (HA HA). The killings in this film are much more brutal than the first. This should make us gore hounds, who cried foul with the first film, a little happier. But be warned…it isn’t over the top gore, but rather stylish as only Carpenter can deliver.
After Dr. Loomis finds out the true motive to Michael’s rage, he quickly heads over to the hospital to save Laurie. I think this the best part of the film. In “Halloween,” we were lead to believe that the reason Michael is killing was to reap revenge on the town that locked him up for 15 years. But alas, it goes much deeper and I won’t tell. The ending is quite spectacular and may be the real reason part III didn’t have Michael in it. Rent this film now!!! It is almost as good as the original “Halloween”.
Halloween III: The Season of the Witch Story
As the film begins, we see an elderly man running for his life gripping what appears to be a child’s Halloween mask. Either he is suffering from an acute regression back to his childhood or just trying to save the world from pending doom. In most cases, I’d go with the first explanation, but not in this film.
Next, we see a TV commercial for Silver Shamrock masks. Eerily the jingle rings to the tune of “London Bridge”. “Eight more days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Eight more days to Halloween, Silver Shamrock.” The commercial ends with the announcer reminding all the kids to make sure they have their masks on and are in front of the TV for a special message on Halloween. The screen goes out and the horror begins.
While recovering in the hospital, the man is brutally murdered. His assailant then walks back to his car and sets himself on fire. Very weird!!! The on-call physician that night is Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkin), who witnesses this disturbance and decides to dig for more information. He teams up with Ellie (Stecey Nelkin), the daughter of the murdered man, and off they head to his last known whereabouts, Silver Shamrock Novelties…the world largest makers of Halloween masks.
As they arrive in Santa Mira, they find a small company town run by toy maker, Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy). During their stay at the local motel, they meet a few other retailers who are up picking up orders. Challis and Ellie decide to sneak into the factory and find out what is really going on. Inside, they are captured by Cochran’s goon (they’re not what they seem) and find out that he is responsible for stealing one of the rocks from Stonehenge. But why???
His fiendish plot is to cleanse the world. Embedded on each mask is a computer chip that contains a sliver of the Stonehenge rock. When the wearer watches the commercial on Halloween, the mystical power of the chip will release an energy blast that will result in the wearer’s being severely mutilated. But what about the children??? Dr. Challis and Ellie are their last hope. Do they succeed??? I won’t tell, rent the film. The ending is awesome!!!!!
“Billed as a “non-sequel sequel”, John Carpenter and Debra Hill decided to take the “Halloween” franchise in another direction and hoped to bank on the previous film’s success. Unfortunately, the fans wanted Michael Myers and the film bombed miserably. It’s too bad because the storyline for “Halloween III” was very interesting. In fact, if they would have just called it anything other than “Halloween”, I think it could have been more successful.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Story
As the story begins we find out that Michael Myers (George Wilbur) has survived the numerous bullet wounds, falls, eye gouging, and the fire that engulfed him that faithful Halloween night 10 years earlier. He waits patiently in a deep coma as the State prepares to transfer him to Smith Grove Sanitarium. Guess what happens next??? Bingo!!! He escapes leaving a trail of carnage in his wake as he heads back to Haddonfield to take care of some unfinished business. And what a coincidence, it is almost Halloween.
Back in Haddonfield, we find out that Laurie Strode has recently died in a car accident with her husband. So why is Michael heading back to Haddonfield??? Well, it seemed Laurie orphaned a daughter, Jamie and she has nightmares about the Boogieman. Michael cuts and slashes his way through any and all that get in his way as he hunts down Jamie.
Donald Pleasence returns as the memorable Dr. Loomis hot on the trail of Michael. This movie has a pretty high body count for a “Halloween” film, but quite a few of them happen off-screen. The ending offers the only unique twist in a below average horror film. But where will it take us? Probably to part 5. See “more reviews” below.
It took 7 years to resurrect Michael Myers. So why did it take so long?? This was the movie series that started the “slasher sequel” trend. The filmmakers decided to go back to its bread and butter, Michael Myers, after witnessing the continued success of both the “Nightmare on Elm Street” and the “Friday the 13th” series. But did they wait so long?? With the release of Part 4 in 1988, the whole slasher genre was beginning its downswing? But I guess they thought there was still money to be made with the series, even if the movies weren’t that great.
Halloween 5 Story
The story begins with a slight recap of the end of Part 4. Michael is shot several times and falls down a pit that is dynamited closed. He’s dead, right?!?! Wrong!!! He manages to escape into the river that takes him downstream, where he comes into the care of a mountain hermit (Harper Roisman). Again he slips back into a coma (kinda like a bear hibernating for the winter) only to wake up a year later…. on Halloween. Wow, that always seems to happen and being the good houseguest that he is, Michael kills the hermit for good measure. Off to Haddonfield.
Back in Haddonfield, we find little Jamie (Danielle Harris) spending her days and nights in the Haddonfield Children’s Clinic. Seems at the end of Part 4… she kind of attacked her foster mother ala her famous uncle. Now mute and speaking only with sign language, the nightmares return to Jamie. She knows that death is coming and anyone getting in his way better watch out.
One by one, the victims fall by the wayside as Michael stalks Jamie. Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) is there to help, but the film starts to get a little lame. Loomis uses Jamie as bait to lure Michael back to the Myers House, where he is later captured. Oh, I forgot to mention the mysterious “Man in Black” who lurks in the shadows only appearing at the end to break Michael out of jail. This is the only cool plot point in the whole film and it is all explained in the next installment.
This one is a real stinker. In my opinion, it is the worst sequel in the “Halloween” series. What is it about Part 5’s in horror series??? (See Friday the 13th: A New Beginning for more information). I didn’t really care for the whole “Jamie” story line. One minute you see her as a scared little kid running for her life and the next, she seems to be leaning towards becoming Michael’s successor. Luckily, that didn’t happen in the next film. Recommendation…not here, only if you are a Halloween completist such as I.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Story
It’s has been six years since the Haddonfield last celebrated Halloween, but the curse of Michael Myers still lingers. Six years earlier, Michael Myers, his niece Jamie, and the “Man in Black” disappeared after the explosive ending of Part 5. Presumed dead, the story begins with Jamie giving birth to Michael’s child. With a little help, Jamie is able to escape with her newborn and the nightmare begins again. As she is heading back to Haddonfield, but Michael catches up and kills her, but not before she gets out a warning over the radio to Dr. Loomis. But what about the baby???
It seems a now grown Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd) was also listening that night and he knows that Michael’s coming home. Tommy never really got over his first experience with Michael (he was the little boy Laurie Strode was babysitting) and now is obsessed with him. He heads out searching for the baby and when he finds it, he contacts Dr. Loomis and tells him that he knows how to kill Michael.
At the same time, the family that adopted Laurie Strode have moved back into the Myers’ house. The illegitimate some of the female lead, Kara Strode (Marianne Hagan), begins to hear voices that tell him to kill his family. Guess whose room he shares in his new house??? You guessed Michael’s. One by one, Michael starts to take out his relatives (the Strode) as he hunts down his newborn son.
As the story concludes, we find out that Michael’s curse goes much deeper than simple psychotic behavior. The whole “Curse of Thorn” was an interesting idea… but I only wish that they could have delved into a few sequels earlier. Smith’s Grove sanitarium seems to be serving as the breeding ground for “pure evil”.
This was Donald Pleasence last film and may be the main reason for the change from the original ending of this film. Donald Pleasence is as much a part of the “Halloween” legacy as John Carpenter and Michael Myers are. I can’t even imagine anyone else playing the part of Dr. Samuel Loomis. Donald, you will always live in our hearts. In Loving Memory of Donald Pleasence (1919-1995) Overall, this is probably one of my favorite “Halloween” films. I am in the process of securing a copy of the “Producer Cut” which is supposedly a totally different film. I will report back on it at a later date.
Halloween: H20 Story
It’s 20 years after the night HE came home and Michael seems to be itching for another family reunion. But isn’t his sister dead??? After some intensive investigating and a few throat slashings, Michael heads out to claim the prize that eluded him 20 years earlier Laurie Strode.
So she faked her own death in a car crash, changed her name (Keri Tate), and is now headmistress at a prestigious private academy where she lives with her 17-year-old son John (Josh Hartnett). But Keri, I mean Laurie, can’t escape the demons that haunt her. The memories of that fateful Halloween night when her brother came home, killed a bunch of her friends and went after her. It seems she still thinks he’s out there waiting for a chance to finish what he started. And guess what? Her least favorite holiday has just arrived. So break out the booze and prescription drugs, because HALLOWEEN is here and so is Michael.
As a slight Oedipus complex brews below the surface, Laurie reluctantly gives John permission to go away on a Halloween school trip to Yosemite. But John’s got another idea. Why not skip out on the trip for a little sex, drugs, and partying with his extremely hot girlfriend Molly (Michelle Williams), and friends Sarah (Jodi Lynn O’Keefe) and Charlie (Adam Hann-Byrd). They’ve got the whole school to themselves…what could be better?????
Let the slaughtering begin. Michael comes and works his magic on a couple of the kids and the school counselor (Adam Arkin). But this time Laurie’s not running. She is going to put to an end to what Michael started 20 years early. I won’t tell you the end, but you may lose your head.
RE: Classic Horror
If there is one movie that had me up all night shaking in fear then it was HALLOWEEN. When you’re scared u just keep reminding yourself that it’s only that?? Well sometimes that just doesn’t work. And it never will with HALLOWEEN. Twenty years on and it still taps into those fundamental fears of the insane, and our fear of death, not peacefully in bed, but at the hands of a killer.
Myers’ mask was expertly used throughout the film, especially during the classroom sequence when Laurie sees him watching her from the car. And when she looked back – we all thought that he would be gone….no way!! Myers’ relentless slaughter and supernatural attributes have been critised by many – they should learn to suspend their disbelief and enjoy!!
HALLOWEEN is a film that extends well into the realms of plausibility – the next time I go downstairs during the night for a glass of milk I always wonder if I’ll see Myers’ face looking in through the kitchen window at me…… (Sorry about the ‘u’ – for some reason the thing wouldn’t sort it out!!)
John Carpenter made a film that paved the way for a whole new genre that changed a lot of the horror we saw in the eightees. Yet,none of them, no matter how cleverly gory they are, or how much better they look due to having a much bigger budget, can measure up to film that still chills me to the bone if I decide to watch it alone. John Carpenter is relentless with the suspense he generates with his wide lenses. Never has a fright film toyed with it’s audience so much.
I can almost see John Carpenter behind the camera giggling like a ring master who revels in what he has created. Sadly, this is still his masterpiece. He has been unable to achieve the same effect with horror fans with his bigger budgets (the only exception being The Thing). But hey, he still consistently churns out entertaining horror films that a serious Carpenter fan like myself can appreciate. And no one can ever take Halloween away from him, not even these filmmakers who even today produce the same crap we’ve seen in all the Friday the 13th sequels already. It just justifies Halloween’s place in the horror hall of fame even further……….by the way, this site is a real winner, i’m spending way too much time on here. But how can you not, this is good stuff. congratulations. Keep it up.
Robert Scott Sutton
RE: Halloween and the new sequel
I was first introduced to Michael Myers at age eight, when my babysitter watched “Halloween II” on HBO. My brother and I were terrified, both of the movie and the fact that we shouldn’t have been watching it (our parents did not allow their two very young children to watch R-rated movies), but we watched anyway. In later days, I recovered from the shock and became fascinated by the idea of the Halloween movies, and the name “Michael Myers” was permanently etched in my brain, although I couldn’t do much about it at the time.
Finally, when I was in seventh grade, “Halloween II” hit TV, and was broadcast about five or six times in my area. I watched it every time (not bad for an eleven year old). This sent me on a hunt for the original, which at the time was difficult for me to rent. Finally, that next summer (1986), I found a copy *for sale*, borrowed a couple bucks from my brother to have enough for the purchase, brought it home, and had my life changed forever. This movie scared the pants off of me (and the rest of my family; my father had to leave the room after the first scene), and I loved it. That summer, I saw every horror movie I could catch; “Halloween” made me a horror fan for life.
This being the summer that “Big Trouble in Little China” came out, I realized I was also a John Carpenter fan for life. Two years ago, I saw “Halloween” on a (relatively) big screen at a rep house in San Francisco, and I was the happiest man on Earth. This movie just has everything in it that I love in a movie: great visual style with the camera and lighting work, great music, great atmosphere, credible performances, and a no-apologies, go-for-the-jugular attitude in trying to keeping the audience as scared as possible for as long as possible. Unlike most movies that seemed cool during youth, “Halloween” just gets better with age. Which brings me to the new sequel, which I saw at a sneak preview on July 30.
Funny that after all this time, it takes a rip-off (I mean, *homage*) like “Scream” to get people interested in the real deal again. Three years ago, “Halloween 6” got crappy treatment from its makers; now “Halloween 7” gets the major summer-release treatment. Does this mean it gets more respect from the producers? No. That title alone is one of the biggest strikes against it; whoever though that “H2O” was a good title deserves a fully grown pumpkin where the sun don’t shine. Also it was quite short, under 90 minutes, making me think that they were afraid of this little endeavor lasting longer than our interest. It does have its good points, though, mainly in the many references to the original film and the first sequel, playing on our love of that, if nothing else. Too bad the same care didn’t go into making this movie as scary as the first.
Robert Scott Sutton