The first slasher movie was probably Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho in 1960, although the only blood you actually see is chocolate sauce draining into the bathroom plughole. But Norman Bates was overtaken in 1978 by John Carpenter’s brilliant Halloween, well remembered for that lengthy opening in which we see a brutal killing through the killer’s eyes.
Halloween Kills is the 12th in this particular franchise which has long survived its competitors such as Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street of which we have heard nothing for the past 10 years. Not that lengthy franchises are always a bad idea: just think of Alien or Lord of the Rings.
The problem is that endless sequels only work if there is something new to say. Halloween Kills has absolutely nothing novel to add to what we already know. Slasher movies are about slashing people and the more the merrier. Blood comes by the bucketful in this latest sequel. Never mind the plot, get on with the action.
The storyline, if you can call it that, starts where the 2018 prequel ended: a nasty house fire in which heroine Jamie Lee Curtis attempts to trap and murder the crazed Michael Myers played by James Jude Courtney. Both of them reprise their roles in the latest offering. How exactly Myers actually escapes from the fire is something of a mystery.
But never mind, he’s soon slashing again even as an unruly and outraged street mob promises Evil Dies Tonight. Of course, there’s no chance of success as there has to be another sequel. The 13th and hopefully final episode of the franchise Halloween Ends is scheduled for public release in October 2022.
Slasher movies are made to accumulate cash quickly. John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween made US$47,000,000 from a modest budget of US$375,000. The only other early slasher movie to come close in popularity was Tobe Hooper’s 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre and that only made US$30,000,000.
Since then filmmakers have sought the magic formula. The most popular knife victims have been luckless teenagers surprised by the bogeyman when they were having sex or trying out drugs, or preferably both. Actually that particular theme is more prominent in the Friday the 13th franchise than in Halloween.
So, if you are a Halloween fan, Halloween Kills is the movie for you: lots of the red gore you have sat through endless times in the past. It’s sheer nostalgia. If you don’t care for freshly-spilt blood and gore, you are of absolutely no interest to the heavy breathers in the US movie industry.