31 Days Of Halloween: The “Halloween” Series

Bloggers Nick Frisone and Kelly Hager dive in to the “Halloween” series just in time for…Halloween!

Kelly:

Halloween is one of my top five favorite movies (any genre). I’ve seen it dozens of times and it still holds up. Part of it is the way that we believe the characters are friends. Part of it is that we don’t know anything about Michael Myers. He just shows up and kills people and then vanishes. And part of it (probably a lot of it) is Donald Pleasence as Sam Loomis. He is intense and his fear of Michael Myers makes us afraid. (Also, his speech about Michael Myers is almost as good as Quint’s in Jaws.)

Speaking of Dr. Loomis though, he’s such a jerk. My favorite Loomis moment is when he scares one of the kids who was tormenting Tommy Doyle and then looks SO PLEASED with himself for it. But then I guess when you’re spending Halloween trying to find a mass murderer with “the devil’s eyes,” you have to take your fun where you can find it.

This is one of the first movies I show people when they say they don’t like horror movies. (Sometimes I’ll pair it with Scream, because there are references to Halloween all through Scream. It may not convert them, but I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t enjoy Halloween. It’s my favorite one good scare.

Nick:

“Halloween” is my favorite film of all time. It’s creepy. It’s scary. It’s mysterious.

I first saw the movie when I was really young..maybe 8? Mom was going down to the local video store and I asked her to get me a good scary movie. She brought back the Michael Myers classic. So I guess you can thank her for the love of the film series.

I remember watching it and being on edge the entire time. A few jump scares. Not much gore. I was intrigued. The film has a great set of characters and actors who bring them to life. Jamie Lee Curtis is such a stand out, as is the legendary Donald Pleasance. Would’ve loved to have seen Pleasance with a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, but that’s a whole different thread.

The theme music is just…classic. And creepy. And currently my text and phone call tone.

Michael Myers is an enigma. He’s one of (if not THE) best horror movie villain of all time. He just kills out of..pure evil.

Kelly:


I always forget just how much I love this sequel. Yes, it would’ve been better if they didn’t add the “Laurie is Michael’s sister” element, but it also serves to show how Michael is basically just this force. (Fate, as Laurie discussed in her English class in the first one.) He can’t be redirected or distracted; once he decides you need to die, you’re essentially dead. The rest of you is just waiting to catch up.

This one picks up immediately after the original. Laurie is taken to the clinic while Dr. Loomis tries to find Michael. (They manage to accidentally kill Laurie’s crush, which ends up OK because then she meets a nice college boy instead.) The body count is higher and that includes the only death I will always remember: the nurse getting scalded to death in the therapy hot tub. (That is literally the only detail from this movie I always remember. Besides the fact that we learn Laurie is his sister.)

This is ALSO the movie that starts the whole Druid thing (“Samhain” is scrawled on the chalkboard at the elementary school and Dr. Loomis explains what that means while the nurse patiently waits to explain the Michael/Laurie connection), which I had completely forgotten.

Nick:

Like Kelly, I love this damn sequel. It’s a notch below the original, but still, it’s so creepy.

Nurse Karen being killed by scalding water is one of those classic horror film moments. For me, the cast is great. I’ve always had a crush on Ana Alicia, who plays Nurse Janet. Of course, she gets killed by a scalpel in her temple. I doubt she was an airhead, though.

The classic theme music is even more creepy here. It sounds like something morbid you would hear at a funeral.

The thought of going to a place of healing, and then getting stalked by a psycho killer freaks me out. In the film, most of the hallways are bare. Four nurses, one doctor, and two paramedics? I don’t know about all that.

Why didn’t Michael kill patients? I mean, go big, or go home, Mikey.

I work in a hospital. And I have to be there by 6am. So I leave my house and arrive there in the dark. Not going to lie..I definitely look around to make sure Michael isn’t following me in the parking lot, or in the dark back hallways..

Kelly:

This is probably the most polarizing horror movie I know. (With the possible exception of The Blair Witch Project.)

It was absolutely hated when it first came out (a Halloween movie with no Michael Myers*? NO) and while it’s more appreciated now, there are still a lot of people who hate it.

This is my fourth time seeing it and it took me a while to get here, but I’m now a fan. It’s so 80s and I’m here for it.

It’s a major conspiracy and yes, it’s a little convoluted and yes, the reason behind it is silly, but masks that can kill you? OK!

Also I love the Silver Shamrock song. (Until it gets stuck in my head.)

* = Technically he’s in this; we see part of the original movie on a TV in the bar and of course there’s part of the score toward the end here.

Nick:

Kelly is 100% percent correct. It’s incredibly polarizing. I have to confess, that I’ve never seen the film until a week or so ago. I was just never interested. I’m glad I finally took the plunge because I loved the plot and the hometown feel. What freaked me out the most was the curfew at 6pm for the town. It was very Purge-y. The film works on it’s own..but not as a “Halloween” movie.

You can hear hints of the original “HALLOWEEN” theme in the H3 theme. There were definitely a few moments where I jumped. And if a horror film can make ME jump..it’s solid.

The Silver Shamrock tune is a goddamn classic though.

Kelly:

This is easily my favorite of the non-Laurie Strode sequels. (And I get that that isn’t saying much, considering my choices are this, 5 or 6.)

We learn that somewhere between Halloweens II and 4, Laurie got married, had Jamie and died. (Well, she died 11 months before Halloween 4.) Now Jamie is living with foster parents and a foster sister, Rachel. There are other characters, too, but the only people we spend any real time with are Rachel and Jamie.

I love this sequel because of Danielle Harris. She’s so little in this and she does such a great job. And at the end when she murders her foster mom…it’s so creepy.

Halloween 7 (H20) retconned 4, 5 and 6. I understand it, but it’s really too bad because I love 4. (Primarily because of the ending, because I’m probably too dark for my own good.)

Nick:

NOW the series gets back on track. The film is INCREDIBLY creepy and is easily one of my favorites in the franchise. It’s great to return to Haddonfield with Dr. Loomis!

We’re introduced to Jamie, who is supposed to be Laurie Strode’s daughter, and her adopted older sister, Rachel. The film isn’t creepy, it’s also jarring.

Jarring that Michael is stalking a child. Jarring is the thought of getting people off the streets because a mad man is on the loose. There are some great scenes and kills in this one. They include: scene with many Michael Myers, the scene of Michael chasing Jamie and Rachel on the roof, Kelly being killed with the rifle, and the paramedic with the thumb through the forehead.

It’s definitely one of my go-to horror films every year!

Kelly:

I liked this one so much more this time! All I really remembered was (a) Rachel’s death and (b) how much I flat out hated Tina. (I still find her annoying but there’s also something really endearing about how much she loved Jamie.)

Halloween is one of my favorite franchises (second only to ANOES), and a lot of that is because of the characters. I love Jamie and Rachel, and also can we talk about how sweet Billy is? I always hoped he’d pop up in a sequel (like Tommy Doyle did) but not yet. And since the new one is erasing everything after the original Halloween, I’m guessing it won’t be there, either.

Also, something I really just noticed while rewatching this time: Dr. Loomis is a dick. I get that he’s basically Ahab chasing after Moby Dick, but he basically spends a lot of his time traumatizing children. Although he ALSO spends a lot of his time getting thrown through things and being set on fire and otherwise injured, so I guess he has the right to be very grumpy.

Nick:

There are only three redeeming things about this film: Tina’s self-less act to save Jamie, Danielle Harris’ performance, and the kittens.

It was nice seeing Rachel again but I hate that they killed her off.

Kelly:

There are two versions of this movie, the theatrical and the producer’s cut. There is not a good one, per se, but there’s definitely a horrible one. The two are very similar, but the producer’s cut is a lot better. It goes more in depth into the “curse” of Michael Myers (a rune called Thorn, which causes one person to kill everyone in his family) and we get a lot more Dr. Loomis.

In the theatrical cut’s favor: it’s a lot shorter and Jamie’s death is a lot more horrible. (This wouldn’t be a plus if she were still played by Danielle Harris, but I don’t know who JC Brandy is, and I generally choose to believe she’s a completely different, unrelated character to Jamie in 4 and 5. (I know I’m wrong, but don’t take this from me.)

The most interesting part of this movie is the fact that it’s the screen debut of Paul Rudd (Paul STEPHEN Rudd, as he is credited) and if you had told me based only on his performance in this movie that he would go on to be an incredibly successful actor (and actually one of my favorites), I would have laughed in your face. (I think he made a deliberate choice to make basically all line deliveries completely wooden to show the trauma he’s dealt with since meeting Michael in the original Halloween, but that may just be me rationalizing. But he shot this shortly before Clueless and I see no other explanation for the huge difference in his acting ability.)

Nick:

I have to disagree with Kelly on this one. I think it’s fascinating that there are two versions of this film and we finally have both to own. But I prefer the theatrical cut. The Producer’s Cut explains the Thorn backstory, but I hate that backstory entirely. The studio also did Danielle Harris so dirty by not having her back. I feel her arc deserved a better conclusion.

The positives of this film include the incredible cinematography, the operating room massacre, John Strode getting whacked (he deserved it!) and the epic speech by Ms. Blankenship.

Paul Rudd is a BABY in this film. It’s cool to see his film debut and to see what all he’s accomplished. I guess you can thank Michael Myers for his career in a way..?

Kelly:

This is my favorite of the Halloween sequels (although I haven’t seen the new one yet, so I hope that changes).

H20 is so 90s. The music, the clothes, the kids…so 90s.

It also has a lot of throwbacks to the first two (“everyone’s entitled to one good scare” being my personal favorite) and some Easter eggs to other horror movies. There are a few Scream franchise references and obviously Psycho. (Speaking of, it’s nice to see Janet Leigh again.)

Yes, it’s cheesy. But I love it anyway. (And when you’re a horror fan, you have to have a fondness for cheese, right?)

Nick:

I call this one “the WB Halloween.” Lots of young stars here just getting started.

I love this entry. The Main Theme in the beginning is epic. The use of “Mr. Sandman” is a throwback to “Halloween 2.” Jamie Lee Curtis is in her prime as Laurie Strode/Keri Tate. She’s a bad ass in the final act of the film.

There’s a lot of suspense in this one and is sooooo much better than “Halloween 6.”

The chase scenes and kills are great. That ice skate though! LL Cool J is pretty damn cool in this as well. The ending was pretty..hair raising BUT it sets us up for a not-so-good sequel…