Summer’s drawing to a close and the temperature is mercifully dropping and I celebrated with a marathon of some of my favorite entries in the Halloween series. Beginning with John Carpenter’s 1978 classic slasher flick and following it up with Halloween: H20. I have always felt that H20 never quite got the credit it deserved in the legacy of the ongoing saga of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers and I have only grown to appreciate it more over the years.
Recreating the raw power and simplicity of the original Halloween would be impossible. It was of a time and place beyond recreating, from a visionary writer/director independently untethered from the entrapments of modern film studios. Michael Myers is a legend of horror, predating the likes of Freddy Kruger or Jason Voorhees and receiving much more widespread acclaim than his predecessor Leatherface, but by the mid-90’s he had suffered mediocre sequel after mediocre sequel, one of which he didn’t even appear in. After all kinds of occult nonsense and all kinds of bad 90’s hairdos it was refreshing that they marked Michael’s 20th birthday with something different.
H20 struck a perfect balance between an homage and continuation. Borrowing enough elements of the original, particularly in the opening, yet delivering a unique and compelling story. Michael tracks down the nurse of the deceased Dr. Loomis and learns that Laurie Strode (his estranged sister, though I doubt if you’re reading this that I needed to tell you that) has been put into the Witness Protection program. He sets out for the prep school that she is now head-mistress of while we get to see how Laurie is coping with her murderous older brother. And that would be with booze, lots and lots of booze.
Laurie Strode was given a depth that the character never achieved in her original, hospital-bound sequel. We see her cope with the PTSD she was left with after that Halloween night massacre in Haddonfield and when viewed in conjunction with the original film it adds a real weight to the whole story. Much praise must be given to Jamie Lee Curtis portrayal of Laurie in both films. She is a survivor, through and through, and after decades of neurotic obsession with her elder siblings eminent return she must find that survivors spirit again to protect her son and take back her home.
Halloween will always have a special place in my heart and right next to it will be H20. Laurie Strode was given closure and if they had ended making Halloween movies forever that would have been OK, H20 was the perfect bookend to the story. Don’t get me wrong I loved Rob Zombie’s reimagining but as far as the original series is concerned, Laurie Strode (and Michael Myers) deserved much more respect than they were given in Halloween: Resurrection. A new Halloween film is in the works so I am interested to see where the ever-changing series will go from here.
Check back next week for more Halloween fun, only 8 more weeks until the big day!