The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

Man, it’s getting harder and harder to be a psycho serial killer.

Gone are the days when Jason and Freddy and Michael Meyers and Pinhead and whatnot spend an entire movie killing people only to come back for more in the next sequel. These days, the sequels are spawned by the good guys like Neve Campbell and anyone else from Party of Five, while the evil stalkers are pretty much toast each and every time. And I’m not just talking about ending up dead, as anyone who saw Scream knows, part of the fun was watching the various victims beat the heck out of the killers until making a fatal mistake and being gutted, chopped up or suffering “Death By Garage Door.”

So what would the evil killers of yesteryear have to say about this new trend in the genre? Well, in the case of Halloween’s Michael Meyers, nothing. Because he doesn’t talk. But the makers of Halloween had some ideas, so they took a stab at it.

And so Halloween: H20 was born. This is the 7th Halloween movie. The sixth to feature Michael Meyers (as opposed to the evil kiddie masks of doom.) But for all intents and purposes, pretend that this is only the third.

And actually, if you do that, not only does the film make a lot of sense, but you feel a lot better with yourself if you pretend Halloweens 3 through 6 were figments of your imagination.

Here’s the poop. It’s 20 years after the first Halloween night (which actually encompassed both Halloween 1 and Halloween 2. That’s a lot of screen time for one night.) and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is alive and well and living under an assumed name in California. No one’s seen Michael in twenty years. (Remember, movies 3-6 never happened) She’s got a son who has just turned 17. Laurie remembers that her sister was killed when she was 17 and Michael came after her when Laurie was 17, so naturally, she’s a little uptight. She’s also a stinking drunk, and lives with constant Michael Meyers nightmares. (As opposed to Mike Meyers nightmares - about a small man with bad teeth constantly trying to shag her.)

And guess who comes to town on Halloween?

(It’s Michael Meyers. The killer. He comes to town. If you guessed anyone else at all, you are dumb.)

Halloween H20 does what, to my knowledge, hasn’t really been done much before, which is show us what would happen to these victims if they were forced to continue living their lives after the credits rolled. I mean, what does someone do who’s just spent an evening being hunted by a crazed knife-wielding maniac? Go on Oprah?

This alone makes H20 worth the money. It’s also great to see Jamie Lee Curtis back doing what she does best, screaming her guts out and running like there’s no tomorrow. There are other characters, and they all live or die according to the correct Horror movie rules (See Scream for an explanation.) But what makes this movie a good effort is that the film-makers understand that the THREAT of bloody mayhem is often more frightening than the mayhem itself. There are jumps and spooks, and plenty of people get sliced and diced and served for dinner, but most of the true terror in the film comes from your own imagination being given numerous chances to imagine something really nasty happening to whoever is on screen.

“Oh my God! There’s Michael! Look behind you! Oh No! He’s gonna gut him! Or Stab him! Or Filet him! Or vivisect him! Or castrate him! Or perform a ritualistic sacrifice on him! Or carve his initials in him! Or impale him on a small, thin McDonalds straw and suck out his blood and bone marrow! Look out!!!!!”

And Michael just moves on, which means the character can still be part of yet another scare. You know he or she will die, you’re just not sure when.

But this is not a perfect movie. (Listen to me, I’m warning you that a slasher pic isn’t a perfect movie. Big surprise there.) It is too short. I mean really, really too short. 85 minutes. That’s under an hour and a half. That’s a really short movie.

And it hurts, in that there’s a nice set-up, and a good climax, but nothing in between. You’re just getting to know the story when suddenly everyone’s dying and blood is filling the screen. It needs a middle.

Still, if nothing else, this movie is gonna make it almost impossible to bring Michael Meyers back for another sequel.

Of course, THAT’S been said before…

Still, it does what it wants to do, scare you. Or at least startle you. And that makes it worth its weight in box office gold. (The highest grossing Halloween in ages by far.) Not for kids, not for the timid, and not for anyone trying to get over their childhood history of dueling it out with a crazed psychopath. I give it 3 3/4 Bloody Babylons. They’re like regular Babylons, but they’re much scarier.


Editor’s Note:

Anyone ever notice that for all his screen time and poster art and fan clubs, Michael Meyers is nothing more than a glorified extra? Hell, I can put on a mask and walk after people slowly. Probably pays better than this gig, anyway. And maybe they’d let me practice my slashing on The Critic….

Rated: R
Directed By: Steve Miner
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, a bunch of other young corpses and LL Cool J as The Beaver.

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