I think it’s fair to say that by the early 2000’s horror films in general and slasher films in particular had deteriorated to a level where they could really only be considered as little more than comedic horror films. The plots, which frequently recycled the characters made famous in the genre defining 80’s originals, became more absurd, while the whole slasher concept became (perhaps) outdated or irrelevant to society and social interests of the time, particularly as they pertained to the generation for which these films were historically made. It’s been pretty widely agreed that slasher films, like urban legends, initially served the purpose of making a social comment, one which warned about the consequences of bad moral choices in ones teen years. By the 2000’s, many of these moral concerns (drug use, pre-marital sex particularly) had pretty much gone out the window and so, the slasher film just didn’t pack the same punch it once did.
With that in mind, I’d like to talk now about Halloween: Resurrection.
This film takes place a few years after the events of H20, and finds a rather worse for wear Laurie in a mental asylum, where she has been hording her meds and keeping a vigilant watch out the window in anticipation of her brothers return. By this point in time, it’s safe to assume that Laurie is well aware that Michael never truly stays dead and thus it is only a matter of time before he shows up, butcher knife in hand, with his mind set to kill her. There’s no word on John and what has become of him, but that’s okay and we’ll get to that in a minute. Michael does show up and he and Laurie have a final show down on the roof of the asylum, which Laurie loses and is ultimately thrown to her death after getting a stabbed in the back. ‘I’ll see you in hell,’ she says as she almost peacefully disappears into a canopy of trees. Thing is though, she won’t see him in hell. See, what killed Laurie is the fact that she had a heart. Rather than just killing Michael in the same fashion in which he wanted to kill her, she is compelled to go and unmask him. She needs to do it, to be sure that it is him and to look at him not as the villain of her nightmares but as her brother. It is this compulsion that allows Michael to grab her, stab her and throw her to her death but then, on a happier note, it is this same humanity that leads me to believe that Laurie won’t be waiting in hell if and when Michael does get there. She is redeemed by the fact that she has a soul and a conscience. If she’d been able to kill Michael as soullessly as he will surely kill her, her life wouldn’t be worth living anyway.
Now Byron always hated the fact that Laurie dies and, to be fair, he has a point. You spend 25 years rooting for someone to triumph over evil, of course you’re going to be foul when they are ultimately killed by the one person they were supposed to defeat. 1. I would argue that Laurie did defeat him, at least morally, as described above, but 2. I think it is fair to conclude that in slasher movie land, no one ever stays dead (look at Loomis, he just kept coming back) and so there is nothing to say that Laurie didn’t survive that fall and the knife wound. Next time Jamie Lee is hard up for an acting role, we might just see the return of the amazing Laurie Strode.
The rest of Halloween: Resurrection takes place back in the old Meyers house, which this time is filled with college students, who are there on Halloween to investigate the story of Michael Meyers and make comment on how he became such a super villain (because who better than college students to make such a social comment?). Now this concept, on the surface, is dumb, but we need to think of it in context. This movie came out when the internet and reality television were really gaining momentum and it utilizes both of them. Some thirteen years later it is easy to look back with an eye roll at the way these themes are presented, but I am sure if we were to pull out footage of the first season of Big Brother or Survivor we would see a lot of the same behaviours… and fashions on display. That’s the beautiful thing about reality television though, it’s never on re-run so, unlike a feature film, it’s easy to tuck it away in the ‘major embarrassment’ pile and pretend it never happened.
As I said, John does not appear in this film and that is okay because I think it would be stretching the concept a little thin if they had tried to bring him back as a next generation victim. They’ve already gone down that path with the Jamie story line and it didn’t turn out too well. More than that, I don’t think a male lead is as believable because a young man, in the prime of his life, is obviously going to be better at fighting Michael off and no one is watching these for fight scenes, they’re watching them for the murders. Speaking of murders, this one has a body count that is not horribly high and also, the writers have managed to space the killing out so that it doesn’t feel as frantic as it did in H20. Some of the deaths themselves are a little bit too far-fetched – the decapitation for instance, but I can forgive that, because I accept that this is a horror/comedy. Back to John though, just before we move on, I also appreciate that the writers didn’t try and link anyone that was a main character in this film back to him in any far-fetched way either. This film is like a new start and I like that.
I also appreciate that this is the first of the Halloween films with a fully multi-racial cast (I know, H20 had LL Cool J, but he was the only black cast member). I’m not going to use this humble blog as a platform to weigh in on the relationships between blacks and whites in America, I’m just saying it is nice to see a bit of a mix in ethnicities. Busta Rhymes is an interesting choice… more interesting than LL Cool J to be sure. I did like him as Freddy, I thought he captured the essence of the self-interested webinar producer, but at the end of the day he really came around and became the hero. Tyra Banks… I am not sure what the hell purpose her character served, you didn’t even get to see her death scene. The scene where she makes that foul looking coffee and then puts all the canned whip cream on top makes me throw up in my mouth every time I see it, so maybe that was her purpose.
Ultimately, this isn’t going to frighten you but then again I don’t recall anyone being genuinely frightened by a Halloween film since the second one. It is a really easy and entertaining watch, a great example of what slasher films looked like at the twilight of the genre, before they all started to get remade with super young, super good looking cast members. Oh, and say what you will about Laurie dying, she still delivers one hell of an opening monologue.
Even if no one else watches this, Byron, I hope you’ll give it another try. It’s not the finest horror film, but it’s better than Jason X. Probably not as good as Freddy vs Jason though, which is another one of my favourite horror comedies and one which I will be talking about soon.
Hope you all had a great Halloween and thanks for reading along with me! I’ll try and shift focus back to sci-fi type things for a while now, but I can’t say it will be another 365 days before we talk about horror again.