Friday, April 07, 2017

Halloween H20 (1998)








DIRECTOR: Steve Miner

WRITERS:

Robert Zappia
Matt Greenberg

CAST:

Jamie Lee Curtis
Josh Harnett
Michelle Williams
Jodi Lyn O'Keefe
Adam Arkin
Janet Leigh
Adam Hann-Byrd
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
LL Cool J
Branden Williams
Nancy Stephens

PLOT:

Laurie Strode has changed her name and been in hiding for the past twenty years. She is now the dean of a private school in California. She has a seventeen-year-old son, and all the students that attend the private school are heading off for a weekend camping trip. When her son, his girlfriend and a couple of friends decide to skip this trip and hang around the school grounds to celebrate Halloween. Little do they realise that Michael Myers has tracked down Laurie Strode and it's up to Laurie to protect her son from Michael Myers once and for all.







Little Known Fact: Halloween H20 was the first Halloween movie that I ever witnessed in a cinema. It was also the first Halloween film I had ever seen, period. At the age of twelve, I was only new to this whole horror thing. I'd seen horror films when my dad had shown them to me but never been a fan. That all changed however when Scream burst onto the scene and gave new life to the slasher genre. Next came Scream 2, I Know What You Did Last Summer, I Still Know and Urban Legend. I was simply in love with these films and couldn't help but go check out Halloween H20, not knowing any of the history of the franchise.

Coming out of Halloween H20, I absolutely loved it. Being so young, I wasn't invested in the franchise. So for me, Halloween H20 was an absolute blast and for a long time, a seminal film for me. It was a film that played a big part of my teenage years. Even on repeat viewings and as I've matured, it still holds a special place in my heart. I can still remember my friend's mother taking me and a group of mates to see it. It's only rated M here in Australia which means that an adult or guardian could get us into the film. A lot of memories with this one.

Rewatching Halloween H20 after many years, it still holds up. Also doing a complete review of the series, I think it's still my favourite sequel of the lot. This may be down to the fact that it has that nostalgic element for me where Halloween II while great, I only just watched it recently. While fresh in my mind, Halloween H20 still makes me extremely gleeful and happy to rewatch after all these years. I can see revisiting both Halloween II and Halloween H20 many more times. I think both fall just short of the original but not by much. A great way to bring back Laurie Strode after twenty years.

I love how Halloween H20 opens. The Chordettes song Mr. Sandman begins, a knife is slammed into a pumpkin and children are excited for Halloween. We see Nurse Marion from the original Halloween as she walks up to her house. As she strolls up and goes to open the front door, she steps on broken glass, the happy music stops. It's a pretty jarring moment, and we know something is very wrong. Marion being the smart lady that she is, instead of going into the house, she runs over to her teenage neighbours for help. The neighbour is a young 3rd Rock From The Sun Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Me being twelve and seeing him with an ice skate in his face, it was pretty shocking as I knew him as a happy alien teenager from his hit show.

I think what Steve Miner had the writers do is successfully reintroduced us to Laurie Strode and her new life. The movie introduces us to her seventeen-year-old son and his friends. I think the movie also does a decent job of explaining how Laurie Strode went into hiding, faked her death and completely passed over Halloween 4, 5 and 6 as if they never even existed. I love that they also manage to successfully build on Michael Myers as if his infamy is well known in the Halloween universe as if he was a real-life serial killer and that Laurie has never kept it hidden from her son. I like that she is now the overprotective mother.

My biggest issues that I have with Halloween H20 fall on some of the performances. I think Michelle Williams who is an incredible actress is all over the shop in this film. LL Cool J playing the security guard of a private school who reads romantic novels to his girlfriend over the phone is chewing the scenery in his scenes. The rest of the cast is great. I thought that Jamie Lee Curtis and Josh Hartnett had great chemistry. I even felt sorry for the supporting characters played by Jodi Lyn O'Keefe and Adam Hann-Byrd. It was also great to see Nancy Stephen's return as Marion.

There a lot of neat little touches throughout Halloween H20. It was great to see Janet Leigh in a small role as Norma, Laurie Strode's receptionist. There is a neat moment between Jamie Lee Curtis and her real-life mother Janet Leigh is one of my favourite moments in a horror movie, ever. I also love that Janet Leigh is seen hopping into the car from Psycho and even the Marion Crane theme can be heard. We also have a nice little touch with the girls watching Wes Craven's Scream 2 on TV. Even better as it's Sarah Michelle Gellar getting another little nod to somehow being involved in another iconic horror franchise. Another scream queen.

The ending of Halloween H20 is excellent. I really think that they should've ended the franchise on that scene. When Laurie Strode decapitates Michael Myers, I think it's an incredibly iconic moment. I also enjoy that they made the moment emotional. When Laurie Strode and Michael Myers almost touch hands is a scene that I really loved. It brought the series full circle for me. It's just a real shame that they decided to make Halloween: Resurrection and ruin that ending by making it as if Michael Myers put a mask on someone else. Just really terrible. Halloween H20 should've been the end of this series and given Laurie Strode her happy ending.

Lastly, I think Halloween H20 feels incredibly short. It is both a good and bad thing. The positive being that it moves very quickly, so it doesn't take long for Michael Myers to start killing his victims. The movie never feels like it drags for me. The bad is that it's the return of Jamie Lee Curtis after twenty years to the series that gave her, her Scream Queen status. Being so short, I would've been happy to stay and watch these character for another half an hour or more. I loved witnessing the return of the one and only Laurie Strode and was enjoying her dynamic with her son.







DEATH TOLL: 7

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Someone gets an ice skate in the face.
- A van crushes Michael Myers between a tree and the van.
- A guy is stabbed in the back.
- A woman has her throat sliced.
- Michael Myers is repeatedly stabbed with a kitchen knife.
- Someone has their head chopped off with an axe.
- People are stabbed in the leg with a kitchen knife.
- Someone is found dead with their throat sliced.
- Someone is shot in the side of the head.
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed with a kitchen knife.
- Michael Myers is hit in the shoulder with an axe.
- A food elevator drops on someone's ankle, almost severing it.
- A woman is found hanging from a light fixture.
- A man is stabbed in the back and lifted off the ground.
- Laurie Strode is slashed across the arm with a kitchen knife.
- Michael Myers is stabbed with a broken flagpole.







Halloween H20 holds a special place in my heart. As the first Halloween film I ever saw, and in a cinema, it will always have that nostalgia about it. Originally watching it as the first Halloween film and not knowing the rest existed. It was my favourite for a long time. As I've matured, I have grown to love the original, and it's sequel. I love the way this film tried to wrap up the complicated relationship of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. I think they successfully brought this series back after the Jamie Lloyd debacle. While delivering less violence, this film is a lot more suspenseful than the last four entries in the series.

2 comments:

  1. I also seen this in theatres when I was a teenager. It holds a special place in my heart as well. I still watch it all the time. I agree with you on it coming out at around the perfect time. In and amongst scream, Ikwydls and urban legend.

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  2. If I ever created a Top 10 Slashers of the 90's. It would definitely be on my list. Such a great slasher film.

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