Watch HALLOWEEN 2018 here
Fair warning, though I’m doing an in-depth synopsis of the film, I must admit I found this film more of a trick than a treat. So, if you’re here to read a rave review…you may want to read my thoughts on Hereditary.
0:02:24 Two English ‘journalists’ / podcasters (Rhian Rees as Dana Haines and Jefferson Hall as Aaron Korey) are in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium to interview Michael Myers before he’s transferred to another asylum. They mention he hasn’t spoken a word in 40 years, so they came a long way for what will obviously be the shortest interview in history.
[🐣Easter egg: There is no town of Smith’s Grove in Illinois, the name was taken from a town near Bowling Green University, Kentucky, where director John Carpenter went to school. Ironically, in Halloween 1978, Michael Myers is interred in the asylum in Smith’s Grove and escapes to make his way back to Haddonfield. In the 2018 version, he’s in Haddonfield and meant to be going to the asylum in Smith’s Grove. This switch of locations is the first of what I call ‘mirror effects’ in Halloween 2018. Just as images are the same, though reversed, when we look at them in a mirror, so too is Halloween (2018) a reverse reflection of Halloween (1978). That flip is obvious here, because in the original Michael escaped Smith’s Grove to go to Haddonfield, and here he’s in Haddonfield and being transferred to Smith’s Grove.]
Dr. Sartain: Doctor Loomis was the only one to see him in the wild.
There’s a safari I could get on board with.
0:03:54 Seriously, if the patients weren’t mad when they arrived, this courtyard would drive them all the way past crazy.
0:05:42 The podcasters make a transatlantic flight to have a 1-minute interview with a mute. I’m as speechless as Michael.
0:07:41 The opening credits roll to the iconic Halloween theme and, to illustrate Michael’s comeback, a time lapse film of a pumpkin decaying in reverse (which looks like a flaccid jack-o-lantern getting firm after looking at some hot pumpkin pie).
[🐣Easter egg: The opening credits are a tribute to the original Halloween, though in the original, the jack-o-lantern didn’t resurrect. It’s also a nod to Halloween II, in which the jack-o-lantern split in two pieces during the intro, and Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which had a 2D digital jack-o-lantern.]
[Note: The music is based on that of the original Halloween, and is performed by John Carpenter, who wrote and performed the score to the first (in addition to writing and directing it!). Here, he is joined by his son (with ex-wife / actress Adrienne Barbeau) Cody Carpenter and some bloke called Daniel Davies. The soundtrack is found at the end of this post.]
[🐣Easter egg: A card tells us the action is set in Haddonfield, Illinois, which is the same fictional town used in the first Halloween. The name originates with Debra Hill (co-writer of the original), who hails from Haddonfield, New Jersey. Halloween 2018 was actually filmed Charleston, South Carolina.]
0:10:11 The podcasters go to interview Laurie Strode (survivor of the original film [and one of the original final girls], played here and there by Jamie Lee Curtis), who only opens up her rural fortress when they offer to pay her. Evidently she specialises in lip service.
0:13:04 Now we learn the real reason for the existence of the podcasters: information dump. In their ‘interview’ they simply tell Laurie things about herself she hopefully already knows (she survived Michael Myers, she’s divorced, her daughter was taken from her by child protective services…) Let’s hope the victims are executed more efficiently than the exposition.
0:15:08 We’re introduced to Laurie’s now adult daughter Karen (Judy Greer), Karen’s husband Ray (Toby Russ) and Karen’s high school daughter (Laurie’s granddaughter) Allyson (Andi Matichak). Allyson will be the final girl of this film, because apparently that runs in the family. Hopefully, it runs fast enough.
[🐣Easter egg: While discussing Cameron’s family, Ray says, “That whole family, though, they had a reputation. … Do you remember that one time Lonnie punched that cop in the face?” Lonnie appears in the first Halloween film as the character who bullies Tommy Doyle (16:58), the little boy Laurie babysits. He’s also the lad Dr. Loomis scares outside of the old Myers house (56:42).]
Dave: Wasn’t it her brother who, like, cold-blooded murdilated all those teenagers?
Allyson: No, that’s just a bit some people made up to make them feel better.
This is a reference to Halloween II, which, apparently Carpenter wrote on the fly for the money and floated the idea that Michael and Laurie were brother and sister as a plot device. Here, Halloween 2018 is setting the record straight.
0:18:21 At the high-school, Allyson talks to her boyfriend Cameron (Dylan Arnold) about the evening’s dinner with her family, and they’re interrupted by comic relief in the form of Dylan’s mate Oscar (a surprisingly efficient and refreshing Drew Scheid).
0:18:56 In class, the teacher discusses Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and holocaust survivor who posited people can find meaning to existence in even the most harrowing of life’s experiences (e.g. being a prisoner in a concentration camp) and thus, a reason to continue living. It’s almost as if this is a class for Final Girls.
[🐣Easter egg: We also saw this trick of using a class as an Easter egg used in Hereditary. But more importantly, it was also used in Halloween 1978. Both Laurie and Allyson are sitting in the same seats in the same classroom and are both studying literature. In keeping with the theme of the mirror effect, Laurie’s lesson was about being a victim to fate, whereas Allyson’s lesson is on how to survive it. Speaking of the mirror effect, can you spot the similarities–and, more importantly the differences–betwixt the two photos?]
0:19:26 Laurie gives her interview payment to Allyson, who refuses it by saying, “I’m not your whore, Grandma!” (Jk, she says” I can’t accept this,” but then does anyway, the whore.)
0:22:16 Michael Myers’ institutional transfer takes place in the middle night, because the authorities like nothing better than transferring prisoners and patients when it’s absolute darkest and most dangerous.
Dr. Sartain: Don’t worry, Michael, I’ll be right outside [the cage in the bus].
In case you were wondering when (and not ‘if’) the doctor would reveal himself to be the bad guy.
0:22:20 Laurie is waiting beside the road with a gun and drinking booze. Between her and the crooked doctor, it’s amazing Myers stayed in prison for as long as he did.
Dr. Sartain [to a police guard as he mounts the bus]: Michael Myers is still my patient until he’s in somebody else’s care. I’m seeing my duty through to the end.
You’d have to be crazy to believe that, so at least the officer is on the right bus.
0:23:02 The director decides to show us a shot of Laurie screaming while Michael approaches her, even though he hasn’t yet escaped. In cinematographic terms this is known as ‘poor editing’. In lay terms, we call it ‘WTF’.
0:24:54 Laurie the agoraphobic crashes the celebratory dinner with Allyson, Karen, Ray and Cameron at the restaurant to get hysterical and drunker. Maybe she should be a little more agoraphobic.
0:28:16 While taking his son on a midnight hunting trip (WTF!?), a father (Brien Gregorie) comes across the wreckage of the asylum bus and decides not to call 911 but to investigate himself. The only thing that could explain this is that he’s suicidal because his son (Vince Mattis as Lumpy) is into dance.
[N.B. Seriously, though, hats off to the film for including a young man who avers that dance is his thing, though they should’ve called the lad Billy rather than Lumpy. Here’s a collage of the 1978 escape and the 2018 escape. But first…]
[🐣Easter Egg: The song the father and son are listening to in the truck sounds like a country version of “Close to Me”, the song Laurie sings as she walks away from Michael Myers in the original Halloween, and which plays during the closing credits to this film (see 1:41:12).]
0:28:58 WTF!? The lad, being the only intelligent one in this entire film, does call 911, but the operator tells him to go out and investigate the scene himself! 😂😭
0:30:32 Lol, the kid goes to investigate the bus with his gun (because he’s the only one in the film who’s not stupid, remember?) and accidentally shoots Dr. Sartain in the arm. Now the doctor has to get more than a prescription filled.
0:31:01 The boy runs back to the pick-up truck where a madman hiding in the rear streets strangles him with a noise that sounds like stepping on a roast chicken carcass.
0:33:51 Mike walks across the city in his crazy uniform and no one bats an eye, and then decides to visit his sister’s grave and watch the English podcasters continue their constant battle to prove they are not just here for the body count.
[🐣Easter Egg: In keeping with the reflected scenes between this Halloween and the original, Dr. Loomis also visited Judith Myers’ grave in 1978. The difference is that in the original the tombstone was missing (Michael stole it and brought it with him to Haddonfield where he placed it on the bed over Annie’s body). In this film, the headstone is there and intact.]
Sheriff Barker [to Officer Hawkins]: Still no idea of what really went down.
The sheriff (Omar J. Dorsey) explains that the cause of the accident is as yet unknown. As Dr. Sartain was the only civilian on the bus, the suspect pool would seem to be limited.
[Exclusive Easter Egg🐣: The African-American sheriff in a cowboy-hat is certainly inspired by Sheriff ‘Lone Wolf’ Morales in the 2014 version of The Town that Dreaded Sundown.]
Sheriff Barker: Michael Myers loose with a bunch of nut bags in Haddonfield on Halloween night? We’re gonna have a fucking circus on our hands. But hey, what are we gonna do, cancel Halloween? [Laughs idiotically]
Officer Hawkins (Will Patton) is waiting at Dr. Sartain’s hospital bedside when Sheriff Barker arrives. The lawmen realise all of the crazies have been rounded up, save one: The babysitter killer, Michael Myers. He who laughs last, wasn’t killed by a serial killer.
0:35:26 The international podcasters stop at a petrol station with Michael Myers’ mask in their boot, along with a strategically placed article whose headline reminds us of the original Halloween murder because the director thinks we’re more stupid than the script.
[N.B. The real reason behind this shot is to explain that Michael followed Fish & Chips to kill them and get his mask back.]
[🐣 Easter egg: This petrol station is a flashback to Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, where Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) pulls into a gas station and, while looking for assistance, realises he’s wading through a crime scene. Not only will English journalist Aaron re-create this scene in a matter of minutes, the design of the sets are similar in homage. Note the ice machine, the barrels, and the tyres stacked both locations.]
[🐣 Exclusive Easter egg: Enough care went into the filmmaking to explain how Michael caught up with podcasters Bed & Break Fast. At the petrol station, we see a jeep pull into the car par. In the first shot, director David Gordon Green literally has a mechanic hold up an air filter so that Michael Myers is shown in the centre of it! Next, we see him crossing the car park and into the garage (see screenshot). What they don’t say is how he was able to follow the duo and still arrive so late after them.]
0:35:41 🐣 Exclusive Easter egg: Note the name of the church on the van beside the Brits is a reference to Halloween: Resurrection.
0:35:51 The passenger in the church van stares pointedly in the direction of Michael Myers to warn the Englishman. Sadly, he doesn’t speak body language.
[🐣 Exclusive Easter egg: If you pay special care, you’ll be able to note Michael killing the first mechanic in the background of this scene.]
0:36:42 The English woman goes to the loo (at 35:21 the delicate English rose told her partner, “I need to go number 2 almost immediately,”) and is soon joined by Michael Myers wearing brown trousers (we see only his feet). We will later learn is because he had time to kill two men and change into one victim’s clothes with no one noticing him at the busy petrol station in the middle of the day and all in the same time it took milady to find an acceptable bog stall.
0:38:14 This is where Michael got his new clothes.
[🐣Easter egg: In keeping with the mirror reflections, Michael got his post asylum coveralls from mechanics in both the 2018 version and the 1978 version (and Halloween 4, as well. The only difference was that, in the original, he murdered the mechanic outside the garage before stealing his clothes.]
[🐣Easter egg: The face we catch glimpses of here (and in my collage at 5:42) belongs to Nick Castle, who played Michael Myers in the 1978 Halloween.]
0:40:34 Michael goes in the back of the podcasters’ car and puts on his iconic mask, because they’ve got junk in the trunk.
0:43:28 WTF!? Laurie goes to her daughter’s house and tells her the bus crashed, but neither Karen nor her husband know what this means, so Laurie leaves them without telling them Michael is on the loose. Why wouldn’t she tell them the psycho who’s been chasing her hand her family for decades is free?
[🐣Easter Egg: A little boy trick-or-treating bumps into Michael Myers. Note the boy’s costume is a cowboy hat and a boom box. This is a nod to Halloween II, where a young man in a cowboy hat and carrying a real boom box bumped into Michael. Interesting side note, Dick Warlock was Michael in Halloween II, and the young man is his real-life son, Lance Warlock.]
0:45:44 Michael walks into a random house and kills a woman making a sandwich for no reason other than his theme started playing.
[🐣Easter Egg: I’m being a little facetious here. Killing the woman making a sandwich is a tribute to Halloween II, where Michael frightens Mrs. Elrod who is making a sandwich at 8:45 when he steals her knife. Also note that he passes by a baby in a crib, which is another tribute to Halloween II, in which Michael passes by an infant in a hospital maternity ward (31:38).]
0:48:08 Michael enters a another woman’s house because she’s on the phone talking about how she’ll be careful after learning of the killings at the petrol station. On this street, the housewives really are desperate.
[🐣Easter Egg: Yet another reference to Halloween II, in which Michael enters a young woman’s house while she’s on the phone speaking with a friend who warns her about a maniac on the loose (12:24).]
0:49:28 While Allyson and Cameron are at some fancy dress costume high-school dance, her friend Vicky has to babysit. You know what happens to babysitters in Haddonfield: they get a severance package.
0:50:38 This is how Halloween 2018 defines foreshadowing.
[🐣Easter Egg: This is a nod to Halloween (1978) in which the baby sitters and their charges spend the entire evening watching old horror films on the telly and then getting killed.]
0:51:54 In a massive pile of ‘Who cares?’, Allyson sees her boyfriend Cameron is kissing another girl in front of everyone at the dance.
0:52:51 Why do they have to have this scene? So that Cameron can throw Allyson’s phone in the backroom punch bowl of yogurt (WTF!?) when her grandmother finally decides maybe she should get around to calling her granddaughter to warn her about the serial killer who’s after her. BTW, this is the last you’ll see of Cameron in the entire film. If you’d like to start wondering why they built him up so much at the beginning, you can stat now.
0:53:42 In continued foreshadowing, Vicky the babysitter washes the knives so that she can be killed with clean cutlery.
[🐣Easter Egg: Speaking of knives, if you pay close attention to little Julian’s lamp, you’ll see one of the images is a clown with a knife, in reference to the original Halloween.]
Julian (Jibrail Nantambu) [to Vicky and Dave]: I saw him, he’s in here! The boogeyman is in this house!
Vicky’s young charge has seen Michael. What I find interesting is that pains are taken at several points in the film to explain how some things came about (35:34 and 52:51), yet no explanation exists as to how Michael can randomly wander around one of a dozen suburbs and choose the one house where his main obsession’s granddaughter’s best friend just happens to be babysitting the night after he escaped from an sanatorium. WTF!?
[N.B. Note that Julian refers to Michael as the ‘boogeyman’, which is like Myers’ super legal nickname.]
[🐣Easter egg: The focus on the sheets here is a reference to the sheets in the original Halloween. Note that in the original Michael is hiding in the sheets during the daytime, while in 2018, it’s night and he’s nowhere to be seen.]
0:58:11 When Vicky goes to shut the closet door of Julian’s room, Michael Myers steps out and kills her. So when she told Julian she’d checked the room, she forgot one place.
[🐣Easter egg: Laurie tells trick -or-treating children to “Get out of here! Now!” Those children are wearing masks from the black hole of the Halloween franchise: Halloween III: Season of the Witch.]
1:02:28 Officer Hawkins and Laurie (who was listening on the police band radio) investigate a ‘domestic disturbance’ call where they find Vicky’s and Dave’s corpses, also known as the student bodies.
1:04:57 Dr. Sartain tells Laurie that Officer Hawkins was the first responder when Michael was arrested in the first film. This is a lie, for if you look at the credits of the original, no Hawkins is listed. I’ll only give credits where it’s due.
1:04:16 Laurie admits to praying that Michael will escape so she can kill him. I’ll believe her commitment when I see it.
Dr. Sartain: I want to know what he’s feeling. I want to know what pleasure he gets out of killing.
The ‘good’ doctor is preparing his confession ahead of time.
1:09:31 Oscar (see 18:21) walks home alone after Allyson rejects his advances. In a back garden he thinks it’s the owner of the house doing nothing more than standing alone in the dark under a tree wearing a mask. He deserves to die for this alone.
[🐣Easter Egg: Oscar mistakes Michael for the owner of the house, who is none other than, Mr. Elrod (see 45:44)! “Happy Halloween, Mr. Elrod. I’m just… I don’t know, man. I’m sorry.”.]
1:11:25 After Oscar stabbed Cameron in the back by trying to steal his girlfriend, Michael does the same to Oscar…
1:15:11 Officer Hawkins is taking Allyson to meet her parents at her grandmother’s house, with Dr. Sartain in the car with them, when he runs into Michael. Literally — with his car.
Dr. Sartain [over Michael’s body in the street]: You killed him. He’s dead.
Officer Hawkins: Stand back.
Dr. Sartain: No.
Officer Hawkins: I’m still gonna blow this motherfucker’s brains out.
Officer Hawkins is the only one in the entire film who knows that to kill a serial killer you have to watch him die and kill him at least twice.
Dr. Sartain: So, this is what it feels like.
Dr. Sartain takes a secret scalpel and kills Officer Hawkins. Anyone who’s surprised by this ‘twist’ hasn’t been paying attention.
1:17:46 Dr. Sartain locks Michael’s unconscious body in the back of the police cruiser with Allyson (and WTF, Good Cop Hawkins had her locked in the back like a criminal!?) and explains he’s going to take Michael to Laurie’s to test his theory that Michael has only stayed alive to kill Laurie, and Laurie has only stayed alive in order not to become his victim. Apparently he thinks Laurie would be dead now if Michael didn’t want to kill her. WTF!?
Dr. Sartain: Michael’s pursuit of Laurie Strode could be what keeps him alive. I would suspect the notion of being a predator or the fear of becoming prey keeps both of them alive.
[N.B. This is also a key to the explanation of what I’ve been calling the ‘mirror effect’ of this film. Michael and Laurie are inexorably linked, like the reflection in the mirror and the person casting it.]
1:20:44 Approaching Laurie’s house, Michael incapacitates Dr. Sartain from the back seat of the police car by kicking the seat forward and forcing the doctor’s head into the steering wheel. Criminals the world over are kicking themselves because they didn’t know it was so easy.
1:20:57 When Dr. Sartain asks Michael to say something, Michael puts his foot down.
1:22:16 Poor editing. When we last saw Laurie with her daughter Karen and her son-in-law Ray (1:13:50), they were descending into the heavily fortified cellar and sealing themselves in by locking the hidden door covered with a butcher block table. Now we see the family is out of the cellar and meandering about the house with a ‘kill me’ lack of distress.
1:23:48 Back at Laurie’s house, Allyson’s father Ray approaches the car of the police who are guarding the premises. Upon opening the door he finds an officer’s corpse with his partner’s head in his lap like a jack-o-lantern, and Sartain’s scalpel in his skull. It’s a question of matter over mind.
1:24:11 Michael kills Ray by strangulation (the softest death of the film), though Ray got off a warning shot before dying, despite being all choked up.
1:25:26 Laurie may be a fighter, but hiding behind a window? She’s mostly fighting stupidity.
1:25:37 We take time out of our regularly scheduled bad ending to bring you the message that Laurie is wearing the same pair of jeans she wore 40 years ago.
1:25:56 Laurie shoots off a couple of Michael’s fingers by placing the shotgun against her ear and pulling the trigger. I heard this is a bad idea, because I can still hear things, unlike Laurie.
1:26:02 WTF!? Laurie opens the secret trap door but doesn’t announce it to her daughter, who is holed up in the cellar with a rifle. Why would you not tell the armed people on the other side of the door not to shoot you?
1:26:37 When you think Laurie spent her life securing her house and this is the best system she could come up with! 😂🤣😂🤣😭👍🏼
1:33:06 As Laurie walks through the house, sealing off rooms with metal curtains, Michael jumps her from behind a mannequin. Looks like Laurie Strode too far from her safe room.
1:33:36 Michael pushes Laurie out of a window and she ‘plummets’ to the soft ground beneath. This is a scene by scene remake of the original, only in the first, Michael falls after Dr. Loomis shoots him. Is the opposite of ‘falling down’ ‘throwing up’?
[N.B. Notice the positions are mirror opposites here, as well. In the original, Michael was laying on his back and in the new version, Laurie landed on her stomach.]
1:36:02 Karen takes her childhood rifle, which she engraved with her initials (Karen Strode) and.. . a Shazam symbol?
1:36:44 Michael rips the butcher block over the trap door clear off of the floor. Karen trains her weapon shakily at the opening and whines,
Mom? Help us! I can’t do it! I’m sorry, I can’t do it!
But then when Michael appears in the opening, her voice and aim turn steady.
And she fires. Well played, Karen, well played.
[🐣Easter egg: Note the mirror effect here. In Halloween 1978, Michael’s face is hidden in the shadows but that visage is replaced with Laurie’s in the latest version. Even more importantly, not only are the characters in reversed positions from one film to the other, but Laurie’s expression is also completely different.]
1:37:21 While fighting Laurie in the kitchen, Michael tumbles down the cellar stairs. Laurie screams to encourage her granddaughter to dash past the unconscious killer and up the steps into the kitchen. Maybe Allyson was looking forward to some down time with Michael.
1:38:09 Once the Strode women have beaten Michael enough that they might exit the basement, Laurie throws a switch that sends metal bars across the opening, trapping Michael downstairs. She flips a lever filling the basement with more gas than a Taco Bell toilet.
Karen (to Allyson): It’s [the cellar] not a cage, baby… It’s a trap.
Allyson (I wish): What’s the difference?
We’re meant to be impressed with this twist but, tbh, I find it incredibly weak. 1) If it’s designed to be a trap then it’s a terrible place to put the armoury. Can you imagine being held prisoner by kidnappers in the room where they store all of their weapons? 2) Laurie’s plan all along has been to blow up Michael. For the entire film, she knows how dangerous he is and how resilient he is, yet her plan isn’t to decapitate him but to set a fire, then run away and not watch him die with her own eyes? Has she even met Michael? It’s like she doesn’t even know him!
1:40:26 The last shot is of Allyson being driven to safety with her mum and grandmother, clutching a Mike Myers special.
Dedicated to Moustapha Akkad
Akkad was a Syrian born producer / director, and produced the original Halloween films. He was killed in 2005 in a terrorist bombing in Jordan.
1:41:12 As is the case with most of the films in the Halloween franchise, Michael Myers is not referred to by name in the credits, but is listed simply as ‘The Shape’ (and played by both James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle [see 39:17]).
This song plays during the credits, yet is not on the soundtrack (or Spotify).
1:44:18 The final song in the credits is “I Don’t Play [The Gunnery Remix]” by Kiki Mandoa, and I wasn’t available to find it online anywhere. If you know where it is, let me know in the comments!
- WTF!?’s: 16 cutting ones
- When to Follow: If you’re doing a Halloween marathon, this won’t be the worst one. Or, if you want to introduce a teenager to the Halloween franchise, this has a more modern look than the originals.
- Where’s This Found: Sadly, unlike Michael Meyer’s infamous knife, Halloween 2018 is a bit dull. The film falls victim to the same pitfalls that drain the life from other horror films (vicious clichés, violent WTFs…) but also suffers from writing sloppier than a sleep away camp crime scene. Most of the deaths are of characters who have absolutely nothing to do with advancing the story (international true crime podcasters 😂) and are killed in the least interesting ways imaginable. So what works? The nostalgia factor is strong, John Carpenter’s soundtrack is titillating, and the whole continuation of the Halloween mystique is fun. One could argue that it would be impossible for this film to live up to the reputation of the first, but I’d argue it died trying. Out of a possible 10, I have 5 Fs to give.
- What To Feedback: What’s your favourite Halloween film?
Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos
Left over photos
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What to Follow Up
Bar None Review
366 Weird Movies Review
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