Halloween Kills

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The scariest part of the film was the Miramax logo and the bad memories it stirred. What really kills? A director of David Gordon Green’s (George Washington, Snow Angels, Manglehorn) stature hitching his star to a formulaic “thing that refuses to die” comic book celebration of splatter. (That’s Green’s voice you hear on the phone during the pre-credit scene.) John Carpenter’s original is one of maybe a half-dozen films that found me checking the back seat before driving home. This time around it's part That’s Entertainment, with several past survivors reprising their roles, mixed with that sitcom staple, the clip show. That’s what happens when the writer’s creative juices have run dry and they fashion a show around previous episodes. Never thought I’d say it, but Rob Zombie is much better at this game than Green. Zombie’s tracing of the original Halloween was more of the same, but damned if his sequel didn’t move the franchise in another direction by trying to humanize the beast. Green follows the Frankenstein legend, only this time the villagers in Haddonfield, IL take to the streets armed with weapons they found lying around the house rather than torches. Their cries of “Kill the monster!” are replaced with chants of "Evil dies tonight!” Then there’s Jamie Lee Curtis. One suspects the residuals from the poop yogurt commercials must have dried up, forcing a return to the series. She spends much of the relatively small amount of screen time she’s allotted in a hospital bed. To her credit, she publicly denounces the chain, but hey, it’s a big payday and the checks don’t bounce. Every sequel is nothing more than an attempt at figuring out new ways for Shatner-face to kill. If the thought of a broken neon tube going through a woman’s throat ever crossed your mind, here’s a chance to see your fantasies realized in Panavision and Dolby Atmos. At least Haddonfield’s become more progressive: the Elam boy’s (Dylan Arnold) taken to wearing a skirt even when it’s not Oct. 31 and there’s a gay couple for Meyers to off and arrange as one would a Macy’s window dresser. His presence in town whips the locals into a frenzy similar to the enthusiasm on tap at a Trump rally (and for similar reasons). Next time — and judging by the ending, another sequel awaits — why not focus on how our killer spends other holidays? Is there a Christmas tree in his mancave? Does each Purim see a sukkot constructed in the barren field behind his torture shack? Anything but another impressive body count. (2021) — Scott Marks

Rated R | 1 hour, 45 minutes
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