Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - 2023 Edition

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HALLOWEEN 5
THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS

(1989, Othenin-Girard)



"I prayed that he would burn in Hell, but in my heart I knew that Hell would not have him."

That's how Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) describes Michael Myers; "purely and simply evil" he called him in the first film, "evil on two legs" in the fourth one. A malignant force that, after decades, just won't go away because according to him, "Hell would not have him", which explains why he keeps coming back in worse and worse sequels.

Set a year after Halloween 4, Halloween 5 follows Loomis as he realizes once again that Myers is back, once again to try to murder his niece, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) who is recovering from the trauma of the year before when she attacked her foster mother. That attack is now attributed to a sort of telepathic link with Michael.

This is a film that was rushed into production after the relative "success" of the fourth one, and, even though I really didn't notice or care about it when I first saw it back in the early 90s, it does show in the final product. No official script or director had been chosen even months before the already established release date, and even during filming, producers and writers were wingin' many elements of the story.

One of the many mistakes of the final film is how it brushes off what happens in the end of the previous film, which would've been infinitely more interesting. Instead, the film just feels like a rehash of Part 4 as Jamie is put in danger again and again, while Michael Myers looks for her. The whole story feels more formulaic and pretty much like a checklist to put dumb teenagers in his path to be dispatched.

Another key mistake is the lack of a true "final girl" to latch Jamie to. Rachel, who survived the previous film, comes back acting like a hundred-neurons-less dumber, and is dispatched unceremoniously in the first act; something that is barely addressed, if at all, until the final act. Her best friend, Tina (Wendy Kaplan), sorta takes up the mantle but she's not on screen long enough, and when she is, she's not good enough.

Finally, there are some crumbs dropped through the film about a larger mythology surrounding Michael, evidenced by a previously unseen tattoo on his wrist and by the presence of a mysterious man dressed in black that seems to be following the killer. This crumb becomes a boulder in the very last scene, which paves the way for the inevitable next installment because, of course, Hell would not have him.

Grade:
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PSYCHO
(1960, Hitchcock)



"I think that we're all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch."

As human beings, we're all subject to countless of struggles; whether it is simple temptations or savage impulses that we feel we need to surrender to, or that we simply just can't control. From stealing some much needed money to plain murder, "we all go a little mad sometimes", as Norman Bates says. Those struggles are the basis of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece.

Psycho follows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), a real estate secretary that decides to steal $40,000 from her boss perhaps to escape her own private trap, or is she stepping into a new one? While on the run, she stops at the remote Bates Motel, where she encounters owner Norman (Anthony Perkins), who happens to be in his own private trap himself.

I assume there's no need to tiptoe around the plot, but I guess it goes without saying that neither Marion's nor Norman's budged an inch. Instead, their traps end up clamping down on them harder. In the surface, Psycho might seem like a simple film, but in reality, it is an interesting mixture of character study and plot-driven thrills.

This is all thanks to the excellent work of everybody involved. From the richly textured script of Joseph Stefano and the meticulous direction of Hitchcock to the flawless performances of Perkins and Leigh, and everything in between. Psycho is a masterclass in groundbreaking and technically perfect filmmaking.

I've seen Psycho a bunch of times ever since I started getting into films back in the 90s, and I still find myself surprised, impressed, and captivated by everything it offers. Like I'm clamped by it, not able to get out. But then again, I don't wanna.

Grade:



LIFTED
(2006, Rydstrom)



"I believe alien life is quite common in the universe, although intelligent life is less so. Some say it has yet to appear on planet Earth."

The above quote from Stephen Hawking pokes a bit of fun at the common belief that alien life must be infinitely superior to ours. But what if aliens were just like us? With the same limitations, struggles for acceptance, and desire to achieve? That is a bit of what is jokingly explored in this Pixar short.

Lifted follows an alien who seems to be undergoing some sort of test to abduct a human farmer using the spaceship's beam and hundreds of buttons. However, abducting a human being is one thing; but doing it under the eye of a strict examiner is another.

At the end of the day, Lifted is a fairly simple short that relies in splastick fun and physical comedy. It does have a nice simple message of tolerance and acceptance for others. I'd say that is way more important than "intelligence"; here or in any planet.

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BAO
(2018, Shi)



"Sometimes love means letting go when you want to hold on tighter.”

The above quote from writer Melissa Marr captures what some of us might feel wen it's time to let go of someone we love. Sometimes it's a breakup after years together, and sometimes it's seeing that kid we raised leave the nest. The latter is the basis for this weirdly lovely Pixar film.

Bao follows a Chinese-Canadian woman who is baking a batch of bao for her husband, only to realize one of the buns has come to life. The woman then decides to raise the bun as we see "him" go through different phases of life, from a child to a teenager and eventually a young adult.

I caught this short halfway through a couple of months ago as my kids were watching it, and catching it towards the middle without context was quite funny. But as I went back to watch it full, I was charmed by the story and its simplicity, without sacrificing the emotional weight of what it means to "let go".

Grade:



For those that listen, a couple of weeks ago, I released the Birthday Loot episode in which I share my thoughts on the "loot" of film recommendations some friends gave to me; from Three O'Clock High to The Conformist and others in between. Check it out here:

The Movie Loot 91: The Birthday Loot

Also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and other streaming platforms. Enjoy!



HALLOWEEN
THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS

(1995, Chappelle)



"This force, this thing that lived inside of him... came from a source too violent, too deadly for you to imagine. It... It grew inside him, contaminating his soul. It was... pure evil."

That's how Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) tries to rationalize the nature of Michael Myers. After decades of treating him as a patient, and then trying to stop him as a murderer, NOW it's time to try to figure out where all this is coming from. But, do we really need to know? Do we?? This film apparently thinks we do.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers follows up a couple of years after Halloween 5 as Loomis realizes that Michael's existence or evil is the result of scientific experiments performed by members of a druid-like cult trying to investigate and control the power of Thorn... or something like that, who cares. Meanwhile, Michael is out to eliminate family members because, well, that's what he does. Again, who cares.

I remember seeing this back in the day and still thinking it was crap. Rewatching it now, it just confirms that it is. The film is an unnecessary convoluted mess that clearly doesn't understand what made the original film work. Aside from that mess, we have uninteresting characters, as well as yet another unceremonious dispatch of the lead character of the previous two.

Regardless of the mess around him, it is still commendable to see Pleasance give in to the material (which I also said about in Part 5). His performance is a bit of a saving grace in what is essentially a non-sensical mess. This, paired with Paul Rudd's odd performance, might make for an interestingly odd watch.

Another interesting aspect is that halfway through, I realized I was watching the Producer's Cut, which has some significant differences to the Theatrical Cut in the last act. So from the perspective of a cinephile and a horror fan, I still got some slight enjoyment in seeing all this unfold, even if the end result is unnecessary, frustrating, and ultimately disappointing.

Grade:



SHIMÁSÁNI
(2009, Lowe)
A film with Native American characters



"Where is there a place without meanness?"

From the 17th Century through the beginning of the 20th Century, American Indian boarding schools were established across the United States to "civilize" Native Americans by essentially erasing their culture and way of life. Native Americans were often ridiculed because of their language or beliefs in an effort to make them embrace "American" culture. That is why one of the main characters of this powerful short refuses to go to school. "They're mean", she says prompting the above retort from her grandmother.

Set in 1934, Shimásáni follows two sisters (Brigadier and Noelle Brown) standing at a cultural crossroad. Because of the needs in the household, only one of them has been chosen to attend school while the other has to stay to tend the goats and the crops under the watchful eye of their strict grandmother (Carmelita B. Lowe). The die has been cast for both, and both hate the fate that has been chosen for each. But when the second one gets her hand in her sister's school book, she finds herself drawn and mesmerized by the outside world she might never know.

Found this short mostly by chance in a list of films with Native American characters made by Native American people, and it certainly left an impression. From the stark black and white cinematography to the powerful message in its story. A story that puts this two sisters between fate and free will trying to choose between the fate that has been chosen for them and the fate that they want. Is there meanness at the end of both roads? I guess that's something that they will have to find for themselves.

Grade:



I forgot the opening line.
I never got to The Curse of Michael Myers - I'd been too thoroughly bored by the series at that time. I remember being excited about Halloween 4 around the time it was coming out, and I guess initially I actually liked it, watching it with friends a few times - but every Halloween film after the first three has been the same monotonous grind. Except for Halloween Ends, which finally went in a different direction, but was also ultimately terrible.
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

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I never got to The Curse of Michael Myers - I'd been too thoroughly bored by the series at that time. I remember being excited about Halloween 4 around the time it was coming out, and I guess initially I actually liked it, watching it with friends a few times - but every Halloween film after the first three has been the same monotonous grind. Except for Halloween Ends, which finally went in a different direction, but was also ultimately terrible.
Yeah, it's been mostly downhill since. I still haven't seen the new trilogy, but those are the next ones I'm going to tackle to finish up the franchise.



RED ROCK WEST
(1993, Dahl)
A film with a title that starts with Q or R



"You're a nice guy, aren't you, Michael?"
"I try to be."

Red Rock West follows Michael (Nicolas Cage), a drifter desperately looking for a job in rural Wyoming. In the process, he finds himself in the middle of a misunderstanding when a bar owner (J.T. Walsh) mistakes him for a hitman he hired to murder his wife (Lara Flynn Boyle). Things get even more complicated when the actual hitman (Dennis Hopper) arrives and stumbles upon Michael.

Michael is, essentially, a "nice guy" and the film makes a point of letting us know that he is. From his unwillingness to hide an injury that costs him a job or his inability to steal some money from an unsupervised cash register to endanger himself by going back into Red Rock to warn the wife, Suzanne, that her husband, Wayne, wanted to have her killed. It is that conversation the one that prompts the above quoted response from her.

It is perhaps that "niceness" what ends up getting Michael in more and more trouble. Once he enters Red Rock, every "nice" action he does ends up sinking him deeper into the mess. The film has a few twists and a certain grit to it that just makes it work, in addition to its neo-noir vibe, which reminds me of classic film noirs like Detour or maybe even D.O.A. to some extent.

Cage has always done a great job portraying vulnerable guys that are cornered into complicated situations all while trying to come afloat and still be "nice". He's also paired with a solid supporting cast, with Hopper easily having the meatier role. His performance as Lyle (from Dallas) is not equal to Frank Booth, but it's somewhere in that area. Walsh and Boyle are both pretty good too.

It's possible that I rented this film back in the 1990s, but I can't remember. So when a good friend recommended it to me, it was nice to follow through and finally catch up with it.

Grade:



ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
(2016, LEMMiNO)



"If AI becomes more competent in every regard, then what purpose or function would be left for us to serve?"

Artificial Intelligence is a 12-minute short produced by YouTube creator LEMMiNO. In it, he analyzes the development and growth of artificial intelligence, and how it can pose a threat to us. From seemingly inconsequential things like computers beating expert players in chess or Go, to the development of AI-generated content in news media or even music.

Even though the short was released in 2016, that last part might seem very timely, considering the points of contention in the ongoing writer's strike in Hollywood. The replacement of voice actors or session/studio musicians looks like something that can be coming on the next corner, if it isn't already here.

The content of the short is fairly simple, but well structured, and although it doesn't really aim to reach any wide-ranging conclusion, it does raise interesting questions. This is the second short I see from this young creator, but I might check out more of his work.

Grade:



HALLOWEEN H20
20 YEARS LATER

(1998, Miner)



"If you want to stay handcuffed to your dead brother, that's fine. But you're not dragging me along. Not anymore."

Back in 1978, John Carpenter came with a simple idea for a horror film – a killer on the loose relentlessly pursuing a babysitter – and in the process revolutionized horror. He was described as "pure evil" or the "boogeyman" himself, and anybody could've been a victim. This time, it just happened to be Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis).

However, when the inevitable sequel came along, it was decided to move the story "forward" that Laurie and Michael Myers were siblings, giving some sort of motive for his killing spree, but also stripping the film from its terrifying randomness. Nonetheless, that has been the backbone of the franchise all through its sequels, essentially "handcuffing" Michael to either Laurie or her offspring (i.e. Jamie Lloyd) and most would say, dragging it all along.

20 years later, Michael is back looking for his sister, ignoring all the sequels in between. Halloween H20 follows the attempts from Laurie, who now runs a private academy under the name of Keri Tate, to finally stop Michael while protecting his teenage son John (Josh Hartnett). He is the one who says the above quote to Laurie, trying to snap her out of the traumas and ghosts of her past, which we know will become her present AND future again.

Fortunately, Halloween H20 ends up being a fairly competent slasher and probably one of the best entries of the franchise. To see Jamie Lee Curtis take on the role again, balancing the terror and fear of his brother with a newfound resourcefulnes is quite good. Hartnett is also pretty solid as her son, and although most of the supporting cast end up being bodies for Michael to dispose of, they're mostly likable and enjoyable to watch interact.

But aside of performances, I think this is a film that survives thanks to some pretty good direction. The way that Miner shoots Myers, and also how stuntman Chris Durant moves in the role, feels a bit more savage, a bit more angry, and I think that adds to the tension, especially in the second half. Most of the kills are also pretty good, which is always a positive in a horror film.

I think Miner's direction peaks in a pretty nerve-wracking scene when Michael is chasing John and his girlfriend right to the front door culminating in the inevitable sibling face-off pictured above. The scene is reminiscent of the edge-of-your-seat chase scene from the original, and feels like it brings the whole pathos of Laurie's character full circle. Jamie has gone on to play her four more times, so like it or not, she's handcuffed to this character and to her "dead brother". At least this one's worth a watch.

Grade:



TREASURE ISLAND
(1950, Haskin)
A film about pirates



"Aye, Jim, you're the spitting image of me when I was your age. Head full of pirates. But he'll find, same as I, that the sea be mostly hard work; and the biggest satisfaction a man gets is doing his duty."

Based on the novel of Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island follows the adventures of young Jim Hawkins (Bobby Driscoll) as he embarks on a sea journey for a lost pirate treasure. What he doesn't know is that most of the crew accompanying him are pirates led by the treacherous Long John Silver (Robert Newton). It is him who says the above quote when he fears that young Hawkins might be onto him.

I seem to remember having a Disney audio LP of Treasure Island when I was a kid (along with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Aristocats, and The Rescuers). It was in Spanish so I don't remember if it was from this version, but I suppose it must've been. Either way, I always enjoyed listening to it as a kid. Watching it now as an adult, it was a whole different experience but still fun nonetheless.

The fights between the pirates and the good guys are well choreographed and staged. One of the things that surprised me, though, was how "violent" the film was, at least for a Disney film that's labeled as a family film. Not that it bothered me, but it surprised me. There were a fair share of close-up shootings and stabbings with knives and swords, but it made for a more thrilling experience.

The relationship between Hawkins and Long John Silver is interesting, and Newton is clearly having a lot of fun with the role. Driscoll is also pretty good, but I feel like there needed to be a bit more to make me believe the kid would go to the lengths he goes to help the pirate. On the other hand, I think the film needed stronger characters on the "good side" to help balance things out. Squire Trelawney is a bit of a fool and Dr. Livesey is too bland.

But putting those quibbles aside, the film was well made and most importantly, very entertaining. As I set to find a film about pirates for this category, I knew I wanted to focus on this era (1940s and 1950s) because I was sure that some classic swashbuckling action would be a good choice. But that's how I am, head full of pirates; and the biggest satisfaction Disney might get is doing their duty.

Grade:



SOUTH OF THE BORDER
(2009, Stone)
A film from Oliver Stone



"There is a pendulum to history, these things change."

Since the late 19th Century, the United States has been involved in numerous regime changes in Latin America; sometimes actively, others not so much. Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, the Somozas in Nicaragua, Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay, military interventions in Haiti, Panama, and even Puerto Rico, to name a few. But there is a pendulum to history, these things change.

South of the Border follows director Oliver Stone as he travels through different countries in Latin America, investigating the shift to the left within many countries of the region towards the beginning of the 21st Century; the so-called "pink tide". In the process, Stone meets with leaders like Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Raúl Castro (Cuba), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lula da Silva (Brazil), and several others.

It is not a secret that Stone has a certain agenda. He doesn't hide it, so it's there for everybody to see. He has been a hard-core critic of U.S. government, the establishment, and a firm detractor of President Bush, among other things. Take from that what you may as you watch this documentary, but he still does a great job of presenting facts in a neat package. The rise of leftist governments was indeed surprising and I suppose worrisome to the U.S. establishment.

As someone who has lived through the sh!tty foreign policies of the United States and their sh!tty practics, I can recognize very well when what Stone's presenting holds up. He's clearly taking a risk by putting himself beside such hated figures like Chavez and Castro, but I'm sure he knows it very well. Still, those that can look beyond that, and are willing to listen to "the other side", will probably come out of this with a broader perspective of the world.

But there's a pendulum to history, these things change. Most of that tide that rose up in the beginning of the century has receded, and ironically, most of the leaders interviewed here have either passed away, or have already left their seats; many of them with criminal charges, dubious or not, that have threatened or completely damaged their political careers. Again, take from that what you may, but there's a pendulum to history, these things change.

Grade:



HALLOWEEN
RESURRECTION

(2002, Rosenthal)



"It's all fake. We've been set up. You knew you didn't have a show anyone would watch... so you set us all up at our fu¢king expense, huh?"

Halloween: Resurrection opens up three years after the events of H20, with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) committed at an institution after realizing that the man she killed at the end of that movie was not her brother, Michael Myers, but an innocent paramedic, "father of three". This 15-minute opening sequence is competently directed and neatly acted by Curtis and the nurses that tend to her. But then the real movie starts.

The rest of the film has nothing to do with Laurie. Instead, it follows the crew of a reality show called Dangertainment, as they prepare to film a group of young volunteers that will spend the night at the abandoned Myers house. What they don't know is that, after Michael's encounter with Laurie, he has returned home and he doesn't like visitors.

The things I do for podcasting! Certainly the reputation of this film precedes it, so I knew that most people consider it s-hit, which is why I had pretty much avoided it all these years. But in preparing myself for a Halloween episode at a friend's podcast, I wanted to dive into every single film, so now I can say I watched this.

Granted, I had seen the opening already on YouTube, as well as Busta Rhymes "kung fu fighting" Michael in the end, because yeah, this film stars Busta Rhymes, and he "kung fu fights" with Michael in the end. That alone should probably adjust your bearings to what was to come, and still I think it's not enough.

Putting aside how ludicrous the logistics of this alleged show are, the film has very little to offer. Characters are paper-thin, the film doesn't really bring anything new to the franchise lore or themes, but rather just unleashes Michael Myers in a house full of meat bags for him to slice through. Oh, and did I mention that Busta Rhymes "kung fu fights" Michael Myers in the end?

In addition, the film is full of loose strands that lead nowhere. Tyra Banks is all over the promos and yet, she's in probably two scenes alone. Also, the main girl (Bianca Kajlich) for some wild reason lets go a sonic scream in her audition that trashes glasses and equipment, only to have that never be brought up again EVER.

But did I mention Busta Rhymes? Let's be honest, he is both the worst and best thing in this film, and for the exact same reasons. It's as if the guy was teleported from a whole different film, landed here, and screamed "OK, let's do thiss!!". His performance and dialogue are pretty bad, including a ham-fisted monologue he has in the end; but at the same time, I won't deny I was cackling as I watched him loose in the middle of this mess.

Busta alone warrants half a star, while the other half goes for a Peeping Tom reference in the first act that I like to think was intentionally clever, but seeing the amount of effort that was put in the rest of the film makes me wonder if it was just a wild coincidence. The truth is that Halloween: Resurrection didn't really resurrect much.

If you look at the poster and the trailers, Jamie Lee Curtis is featured prominently. Luckily for her, she bails out after 15 minutes, making us feel like we've been set up. The producers knew they didn't have a film anyone would watch, so they set us all up with Jamie Lee Curtis in a solid opening, only to feed us Busta Rhymes "kung fu fighting" Michael Myers.

Grade:



HALLOWEEN
(2018, Green)



"He's waited for this night... he's waited for me... I've waited for him..."

It is rumored that when Jamie Lee Curtis was approached for H20, she was interested in exploring the trauma that her character had gone through as a result of the events in the original film. There are definitely hints of that in that film, but then again, there's also a scene where she's opening up about her past to her boyfriend, while he's more interested in undressing her, which seems like a pretty accurate analogy for the franchise. Another 20 years later, and it seems that writer/director David Gordon Green listened to her.

This new Halloween is a direct sequel to the original, ignoring all of the other sequels and most importantly, ignoring the twist that had Laurie and Michael as siblings; something that has pretty much shaped the franchise since Halloween II. But, like a character says in this film, "is scary to have a bunch of your friends get butchered by some random crazy person". Allowing Michael to be a random killer on the loose is scarier than tying his actions to a specific family or place.

Turns out that Michael was captured and institutionalized shortly after the events on the first film, leaving Laurie to reckon with the trauma of what she experienced. As a result, she lives in a fortified house in the middle of nowhere where she practices with multiple weapons, while having a strained relationship with her daughter Karen (Judy Greer). Only her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) reaches out to her and seems to care for her.

But all that trauma bubbles up and explodes when Michael is set to be transferred to a new facility and, of course, escapes triggering Laurie's survival mode. One of the most interesting aspects from the film is how it illustrates the duality between both Michael and Laurie. At one point, Dr. Sartain (a.k.a. Loomis 2.0) comments on how they're both kept alive by "the notion of being a predator or the fear of becoming prey".

Of course, Michael was institutionalized in a facility, but Laurie was as captive as him because of the trauma. That duality is evident in the script, but also in the direction. Green does a lot of interesting things to portray that duality, by visually referencing the events of the original, especially in the last act. The character of Karen is also interesting as we see her also reckoning with her traumas, directly caused by her mother's traumas, so it's an interesting illustration of the effects of traumatic experiences.

But aside of those layers, this is simply put, a pretty good and relentless horror film. The way that Michael moves and kills without remorse is extremely effective, and the gore is plentiful. So it's good to see a horror film that knows how to deliver in both fronts. This is probably more along the lines of what Jamie Lee Curtis was expecting 20 years ago, so it's nice to see Green deliver it for her. We might say she was waiting for him.

Grade:



HALLOWEEN KILLS
(2021, Green)



"Michael Myers has haunted this town for 40 years. Tonight, we hunt him down."

Set immediately after the events of Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills follows the efforts of the people of Haddonfield, as they try to stop Michael Myers once and for all. After escaping from his fiery cage from the previous film, Myers goes on a brutal rampage through town. Meanwhile, Karen (Judy Greer) and Allyson (Andi Matichak) deal with the aftermath in different ways, as Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) recovers from her wounds at the hospital.

This film was quite a wild ride, starting with the fact that it was bloody and brutal as f**k. The film has probably the most intense kills in the franchise, and maybe some of the most intense that I've seen in a "mainstream" horror film. When I wrote about Halloween (2018), I brought up how relentless Michael was; well, here they amped that up to 11, so if blood and gore is what you're looking for in a horror film, there's plenty here.

Another thing I appreciated, which is something I highlighted from Halloween 4 as well, was how the film shows a Haddonfield that's different from the 1978 one. This is a town that is still reeling in from being haunted by Myers 40 years ago, which makes their efforts to hunt him down feel real and understandable. Unfortunately, the film tries to send a message about the consequences of "mob mentality", but does so in a clumsy and awkward way.

"Evil dies tonight!" becomes the zombie-like chant of the residents as they mindlessly charge through hospital hallways and neighborhood streets. Although I respect the intentions and goals of this, it really could've used a bit of a do-over as far as how it is written and integrated. As it is, several characters like survivor Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) or lead character Laurie are forced to recite heavy-handed, ham-fisted monologues about the evil of Michael Myers.

Despite the issues with the dialogue, things are kept afloat because of the committed performances from pretty much everybody, including Hall who brings an intensity to his character that even had me rooting for him at times. I also liked how, with Laurie confined to a hospital bed most of the time (a bit of an homage to Halloween II?), Karen essentially becomes the reluctant hero. This obviously adds a lot of weight to what happens in the end, which caught me off guard in a good way.

I'm really torn about this film because what I liked, I liked a lot; maybe even more than Halloween (2018)... but I can't deny the film has issues with its dialogue, and the execution of its goals regarding Michael and the town he has haunted for 40 years. How this mob tries to hunt him down might be clumsy, storywise and scriptwise, but I enjoyed watching them "kills".

Grade:



For those that listen, in the latest episode of The Movie Loot, The Long Loot, me and Jason Kleeberg (host of Force Five Podcast) talk about long takes in film. In the end, we share our Top 5 Long Takes. Check it out here:

The Movie Loot 92: The Long Loot (with Jason from Force Five Podcast)

Also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and other streaming platforms.

Enjoy!



HALLOWEEN ENDS
(2022, Green)



"You're just a man in a Halloween mask. What are you gonna do now?"

In 1978, Halloween was released unleashing the evil of Michael Myers into the world. 40+ years and 12 films after, the franchise has tried to explain the source of that evil. Is it all in the family or in an evil corporation? Is it because of abuse or other external circumstances? Does it come from a Druid cult or is it always within us?

Since David Gordon Green took over the franchise in 2018, he has avoided answering the question and in that, perhaps answering it in a different way. What if he's "just a man in a Halloween mask"? A man that has surfaced and resurfaced three times wreaking havoc in Haddonfield, but "just a man in a Halloween mask" anyway. And just when you think evil has died, it comes back or changes shape.

That new shape is kind of what Green presents in this film, as he introduces Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell), a nerdy teen that is dealing with his own traumas and inner demons. Meanwhile, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is trying to rebuild her life along with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) after the events from Michael Myers' last killing spree.

Corey's own journey of being bullied and turned into a pariah leads him down two roads: first, it leads him to the caring hands of Allyson, who is now a nurse, as the two begin a relationship (much to Laurie's chagrin), but it also brings him face to face with an aging and ailing Michael; an encounter which perhaps sparks something inside him making "evil change shape".

It's not hard to understand why this film had such a polarizing reaction. The introduction of a new character that ends up being so important, paired with the lack of Michael Myers for roughly 40-50 minutes should've been notable turn-offs for hardcore fans. Something that I'm pretty sure Green knew beforehand, to the point that he even used the same distinct title font from Halloween III: Season of the Witch, yet another installment that was initially (or still?) polarizing to hardcore fans for its alternate story and its lack of Michael Myers.

I applaud Green and Co. for having a defined vision and story arc, and sticking to it. That doesn't mean it was well executed all the way, or make it any less muddled, but I have more respect for that than for what had been done with the franchise before where every film seemed to reinvent the rules and sources of this evil, from evil corporations to Druid cults. Here, it's "just a man in a Halloween mask".

After we're introduced to this Corey storyline, the second act does bring back Michael Myers, and does end the story of Laurie and Michael in a very definitive way (at least for this continuity timeline). But it does leave that lingering thought that "evil changes shape". What are they gonna do now?

Grade: