An injured Laurie Strode leads a vigilante mob to hunt down unstoppable killer Michael Myers and end his reign of terror once and for all.
Halloween Kills release date: 15 October 2021
You know about the mask, boilersuit and butcher’s knife – but horror icon Michael Myers is reborn and more terrifying than ever in Halloween Kills.
As the saga nears its conclusion, here’s why the new Halloween movie is the best yet...
It’s hard to remember a time when Michael Myers wasn’t inside our heads. Back in 1978, when director John Carpenter’s original Halloween introduced the slasher genre’s poster boy, the character was a walking embodiment of our worst fears. It wasn’t just Myers’ physical presence, defined by a waxy mask the colour of dead flesh, a glinting blade and a boilersuit flecked with the blood of slain babysitters. It was the terrifying sense that he was unstoppable, unknowable, utterly devoid of reason or mercy: a relentless shadow who would only melt away when your body was cold.
While Myers’ innate mystery is all part of the draw, the character’s backstory has been rounded out a little across the Halloween timeline. Since 1978 – and in the hands of various different directors – the saga has introduced us to the boy who was committed to an Illinois insane asylum for killing his sister, the religious cult who might be responsible for his inhuman strength and, most importantly, his tangled vendetta against the saga’s heroine, Laurie Strode.
What we do know for certain is that, like all the great movie bad guys, Myers just won’t stay dead. With ten movies already to his name, a kill count of 128, plus the seemingly supernatural ability to survive death by fire, knife and axe, the character makes other long-running franchise villains like the Terminator and Freddy Krueger look like part-timers waving a sick note.
Given his track record, nobody truly believed we’d seen the last of Myers when we left him trapped in a burning basement in the final scene of 2018’s Halloween. So it was cheers and cold sweats all round when Blumhouse Productions’ Halloween Kills release date was announced as October 15th.
Spare a thought for Laurie Strode. With Halloween Kills picking up the thread from the previous movie, the trailer finds our battered heroine recovering in hospital from her life-threatening injuries, but confident she has finally barbecued her nemesis of four decades. Or maybe not. As Myers returns in a toasty-looking mask, and the body count cranks up, Strode must fight through her pain and step back into a battle that goes straight for the jugular. “This one gets right to the action,” director David Gordon Green told Total Film. “It’s very aggressive.”
This time, at least, Laurie will have help. While our heroine is once again flanked by daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), this new Halloween movie sees her recruiting the good folks of Haddonfield, Illinois, to avenge the reign of terror that Myers has wreaked upon their town since the ’70s. “Events in the film bring together a lot of characters who were in the 1978 film who we didn't see last time,” says screenwriter Danny McBride. “They gather to try, once and for all, to take down Michael, to stop this madman.”
The role of Michael Myers is the toughest gig in horror. You’ve got to be built like a tank, but move like a panther. You have to radiate dread from every pore, through a half-inch of latex. Respect, then, to 73-year-old Nick Castle, who gave life to Myers in the 1978 movie and returned to the role in recent years for cameos in certain key scenes. Castle is the original, but the bulk of the screen time in Halloween Kills falls to James Jude Courtney: the veteran actor and stuntman who slips seamlessly into the boilersuit. “I studied my cat for movement,” he told Horror Geek Life. “I allowed it to overtake my being.”
The man in the mask fronts the marketing campaign, but the Halloween franchise would never be horror’s biggest-ever box office draw without Jamie Lee Curtis in the role of Laurie. Back in ’78, we watched with hearts in mouths as she played out the deadly game of cat-and-mouse with Myers, and although Curtis’s career has soared to the heights since then – from A Fish Called Wanda to Freaky Friday – for horror connoisseurs, she will always be the genre’s ultimate screen queen. “Jamie came to read for me,” Carpenter once remembered, “and she had a quality about her. There was an innocence and yet a strength going on in there.”
After so many Halloween movies (and novels, and comics, and video games), you might be forgiven for feeling all slashed out. But as Green told Total Film, Halloween Kills moves the genre onward as a truly modern horror, tapping into the fear and anxiety of the information age. “It’s one thing to be afraid of the boogeyman, to have someone who might be in the closet, under the bed, creeping around your house. But what we wanted to explore next was confusion, misinformation and paranoia. What happens when fear goes viral? You can’t just stick your head under the covers any more.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with SiriusXM, Curtis argued that this new Halloween movie has its finger on the pulse of society. “What we were seeing around the country of the power, of the rage of voices, big groups of people coming together enraged at the set of circumstances – that’s what the movie is,” she told Jess Cagle. “The movie is about a mob. And so it’s very interesting because it takes on what happens when trauma infects an entire community. And we’re seeing it everywhere with the Black Lives Matter movement. We’re seeing it in action and Halloween Kills, weirdly enough, dovetailed onto that.”
As any horror connoisseur will tell you, the Halloween movies are always best experienced in a pitch-black cinema, where Michael Myers is larger than life and all the more terrifying for it. But when you take your seats for Halloween Kills on October 15th, you’re participating in something bigger than just another slasher film, with this movie – along with next year’s finale, Halloween Ends – tying a bow on arguably the greatest saga in horror. “I think it will be the last time that I will play Laurie,” Curtis told Total Film. “And I think it will be a spectacular way to end this…”
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