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  • Writer's pictureMichael Collins, Esquire

Hallowed be thy maim!

It is the year of our lord 2020 and a mooted sequel to Halloween [2018] beckons with all the audience enthusiasm of a whimpering corpse fart. So lukewarm was the reception to 2018's 'reboot-quel' that a reinvention of the titular franchise, with or without Carpenter's token involvement, is evidently more needed than ever - the very resuscitative breath many hoped for but found sadly lacking from David Gordon Green's aforementioned revisionary instalment.

For the uninitiated, Halloween [2018] serves as a direct sequel to Carpenter's original classic opting to ignore all supplementary franchise entries and the additional convoluted mythology that came with them. Moreover, this is not the first slate-cleansing the series has enjoyed as Halloween: H20 [1998] did exactly that positioning itself as a direct sequel only this time with a Scream-esque injection of 90s "cool"; as was the style of the time.

And although not the worst chapter, H20's supplanting of an earlier touted Tarantino-scripted-instalment, the abandoned Halloween 6, left fans of the franchise and cinema alike lamenting. Gone forever the scene where Myers discusses what variety of stabbing-weapon is preferred in Amsterdam, or his monologue on breadknife proficiency when seeking to erase every 'mutha' in the room. Tragic!

One of Halloween [2018]'s greatest failings, however, like other sequels before it, is its misunderstanding of Myers himself omitting certain fundamental traits so crucial to the original's overarching themes that without them the once-revered teen-splatterer is demoted to generic-killbot status. Criminal!

Because what separated Halloween [1978] from the quagmire of compeer slasher films, secured its iconic status and made Michael Myers a household name is, in no small part, thanks to its rich subtext - themes of anti-religiosity and feminism triumphing over an oppressive patriarchal menace which still resonates today.

Not happy with it simply acting as a veiled war cry for post-60s feminism, Halloween [1978] also serves as a meditation on catholic guilt and the psychological damage it has inflicted, historically, on wider society, male and female. With Michael's dual voyeuristic obsession and simultaneous disgust for sexual-promiscuity an unmistakable hallmark of such repression. A perversion we learn from the prologue was forged at a young age, six to be precise, as we witness the birth of Michael Myer's 'the killer' wordlessly slaying his older sister, sat preening at her dressing table, in response to her unintentionally-provocative, unabashed semi-nakedness.

Myer's post-murder-unmasking reveals a shocking vision of innocence lost: his cherubic face contrasted by the bloodied-knife he clasps aloft, eyes blank as a porcelain shark's. A defining image later bookended in the final act following Laurie Strode's removal of adult Myers' mask, it's impassive expression evocative of the archetypal marble-white religious statue, revealing an unremarkable-everyman underneath, notable only for his recently blinded left eye - symbolic of his myopia and dogmatic fundamentalism.

Interestingly Michael's violent attraction to promiscuous teens is contrasted by his indifference to children, sparing them to preserve the innocence he lost in his own sexual awakening; another component neglected from 2018's sequel that immediately dilutes the iconic killer's psychological complexity.

It would appear with his hyper-moralism and multiple resurrections to boot, Carpenter's vision of Michael Myers was a kind of warped murderous anti-Jesus sent to wreak corrective-havoc on a corrupt suburban youth. A histrionic personification of the kind of establishmentarianism a once card-carrying free love generationer like Carpenter would have rallied against circa 1960 to 1969.

In conclusion then, if a future Halloween reboot-reinvention is to strike with the same potency and fervour as its grandaddy, Blumhouse, Gordon Green and co should reevaluate what made the original work beyond its surface-layer shock and slash tactics. Pick a topical theme of great sociopolitical import and let Michael Myers convey it through actions, with his wieldy knife a bloody quill and victims some species of inexhaustible-inkwell.

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