Horror-Wood Blog-a-thon: Halloween franchise (Part 7 and 8)
Halloween: 20 Years Later or H20 (yeah, a sequel that is named after the formula for water…brilliant) has to come to fans as the one that ends it all. And I personally don’t blame them. This one really pays homage to the first film while also celebrating its 20th Anniversary. After beating a dead horse to the point of it being chard to the bone, it was time to give the franchise a good send off. Supposedly, this one is meant to come right after the first two Halloween movies ignoring parts 4 to 6. However, considering how odd it is to see Michael Meyers still alive after his fiery demise, some consider H20 to be after Halloween. Still, they do have some nods to Halloween II here and there like the song Mr. Sandman playing on the radio which was heard in Halloween II’s opening sequence and closing credits. In short, you have to see this as its own entry in order to appreciate it.
But the biggest surprise is that Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, now a single mom with a 17-year old son and a boyfriend. She works as a headmaster in a California university while hiding with a new name. Its nice to see Jamie return to the role that made he a famous scream queen and even gets to apply some of her comedic traits to the character too. Her character this time is going through emotional trauma after her experiences in Haddonfield as she worries about Halloween and sees visions of Michael Meyers where ever she goes. This works on suspenseful levels at times but ultimately is used for a cheap scare.
To sum up the first hour is that its loaded with cheapness. There’s so many fake scares that it almost becomes a huge drinking game. Every time Laurie bumps into someone, there’s dramatic sting that suggests a fright. It gets really annoying and old-fast. If that wasn’t enough, Michael Meyers is still at large and is after Laurie. There isn’t much of a body count as the previous entries which is a nice break but it feels like more could have been done. There’s not much of a darker tone here as this entry goes in a different route for its scares.
At the time, slasher films and horror movies in general were becoming dead. That was till a film called Scream rejuvenated it but I feel for the wrong reasons. Don’t get me wrong, I think its a good movie but not a complete classic. Wes Craven’s self-aware slahser flick was meant to a parody to poke fun at the cliches while examining what makes a horror movie work. After that, there came many imitators and spoofs that seem to be more interested in what Scream was doing than rather reinvent the horror genre. This is my main problem with H20 as it feels more like a satire and self-aware homage to the original than rather be its own thing. Near the final act, there’s little bits here and there that remind us of the original film a comedic take on the closet scene or one of the deaths being reminiscent of the nurse’s scalpel and hoist up like in Halloween II.
For those who saw the original, it might get distracting or you might find these homages amusing in their own right. H20 works better in the final act when Laurie finally gets to beat Micheal to a pure pulp. Its something we have been waiting to see for 20 years and it is what we get. By no means a solid entry, H20 feels more like an apology for the crummy sequels but goes too much for popcorn entertainment. Had there been character development and an actual feel of suspense, it would have been a good movie. As it stands, its easy to sit through but it will leave you feeling something more could have been done.
On the bright side, its the last of the Halloween moves…or at least till Halloween Resurrection came along. Because of H20’s success, another entry was commissioned which didn’t make any sense to exist seeing how the previous one ended. Well, they found a way around it in the most illogical way possible. Without giving too much away, it involves the old switcheroo.
The main meat of Halloween Resurrection focuses on the parody of reality TV as a group of teenagers are placed in the Micheal Meyer’s house with surveillance cameras on the walls and on their headsets. The idea is that they are to spend a night in the Meyer’s house while coming across little artifacts of his life. All the while, its a ploy for ratings as the props placed around the house are fake but Michael Meyers is the only real thing to fear. Its a clever idea that unfortunately doesn’t bring much pay off. The headset cameras really put you in the contestant’s perspective and the satire at times ranges from decent to shoved down your throat. Even a final bit near the end as one character talks about what real danger is like compared to fake reality TV really cements it.
It also doesn’t help that its being run by Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks who plan to cash in on this extreme ordeal while teenagers try to fight for their life when things get real. It feels like this could have benefited better as a computer game where you could switch between video feeds like Night Trap. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that infamous video game was an influence here. There’s some things that don’t make sense as contestants get naked and even do drugs while on camera. I should also point out this is being televised across the Internet where millions of viewers can watch this. Ever more confusing is where’s the police in all this when the body toll starts to clock in.
But the biggest problem I have is the first 16 minutes that clearly show its a continuation of H20. Without giving too much away, Jamie Lee Curtis returns but only in the opening sequence which feels so pointless that if removed, you wouldn’t miss a thing. But if you wish me to elaborate on what is wrong in that opening, it does what Psycho 3 did to Psycho 2. It recons a certain plot point near the end of H20 that only excuses it for more sequels. Had this prologue been removed, Halloween Resurrection could have been its own entry. Maybe even a stand-alone movie that acts like a parody more than a straight-up sequel. When continuing a story that was so tightly wrapped up, it has to fit within the standards of what was previous done or else it will be nonsensical and only prove to be sequel fodder as your reason. That is my biggest peeve with this movie.
I remember first seeing this and actually citing it as one of the worst movies I’ve seen. This was during my high school years when I was timid of horror films and it didn’t help I never saw any of the other Halloween movies at the time. I was more disappointed because I was expecting to be scared as opposed to seeing such stupidity. It also didn’t help that Michael Meyers gets defeated by not a beheading or set on fire but a kung fu kicking Busta Rhymes. It feels like a huge pie to the face even further when in one scene Rhymes walks about dressed as Michael but runs into the real killer and yells at him about how “he’s runing the effect.” And even goes as far to shout “I’m playing Michael Meyers” right at the real deal.
Today, I see it as a near guilty pleasure. Halloween Resurrection is very much in vein with Alien Resurrection when it sacrificed good integrity for popcorn entertainment. Its not “resurrecting” anything but feels like a desperate attempt to make another movie just for the sake of it. The only reason to see this movie is just for its stupidity but I best recommend this viewing option if your that curious to see it. Skip the first 16 minutes and it will be seen as its own thing. You won’t have to worry about continuity or anything else. You have a movie to mock at while enjoy. But at the end of the day, it is trying to continue the franchise with a pointless entry. If you want something “so bad, its good,” this is for you. But if you really want a good movie that doesn’t take what the film series has been building up to in terms of horror and scares, avoid it like the plague and pretend it never existed. Tell yourself the series ended with H20 again and again. Trust me, its better that way.
Posted on October 31, 2014, in Horror-Wood 2014 and tagged Busta Rhymes, Donald Pleasence, H20, Halloween, Halloween Resurrection, Halloween: 20 Years Later, Horror-Wood Blog-a-Thon, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Carpenter's Halloween, Michael Meyers, Tyra Banks. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.