Review: 'Halloween Ends"


Halloween Ends raises one puzzling question: Why didn't it end a long time ago?


I was a huge fan of the original Halloween (1978). It was a true horror classic. Despite the modest budget, it was a horror movie that had it all: a great concept, a great script, a creepy great score, a great, young director and a really great break-out star. It worked, on every level.


It had the unnerving ending that has become the staple of all modern horror films. That is to say that it was a non-ending. Unlike the majority of classic horror films, the monster wasn’t killed or destroyed. He, or she, or it was still out there somewhere, lurking in the shadows, waiting to rise up. It could kill again. It could kill you, when you walked out of the theater on your way back to your car.


It would have been great to just end the story there. Halloween could have been a great stand- alone movie, one that scared the hell out of you and left you looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life.


But that’s not how things go in Hollywood. Once a studio stumbles upon a hit, the wheels begin to turn and plans get underway to cash in on the success. We have lived in a world of sequels and spin-offs for decades. Successful stories don’t end. Predictably, there are loose ends written into the scripts that set up the next movie in a seemingly endless chain.


It would be great if the follow-up movies were as good or better than the original, but, by and large, they never are. You can never recreate the freshness or novelty of the original. You can only do variations on a theme, and that wears out, over time.


And, so it is with Halloween. It has been a movie franchise in steady decline since the first installment hit the theaters 44 years ago.


Sure, you can crank up the sex, violence and gore, but you can never recapture the killer vibe that caught us off-guard in the first place and made us sit up and take notice.


Michael Myers (aka, “The Shape” as he appears in the credits) can’t be killed. He’s the boogeyman. He is pure evil. He can’t die. We know this. And while he appears to be dispatched at the end of each of the Halloween movies, we know better.


So, when I first saw the announcement for Halloween Ends, by first reaction was, “Yeah, right.”


You can’t destroy the indestructible. It would be like killing James Bond, right?


I’ll have more to say on that subject in an upcoming commentary on No Time to Die that’s been festering within me since its release.


Let’s just say that despite all the buzz that Michael Myers has finally met his long-awaited end, I’d bet anything that there is a script in the works and a shooting schedule in development for his return.


The hint is dropped squarely in Halloween Ends implying that evil can always take on a different form.


That sort of happens in this installment. Without giving away too much, Michael has an apprentice of sorts. It’s a 21-year-old (who looks like he’s in his 30s) who is wrongfully accused of murder.


He’s damaged goods. But he’s cute and he rides a motorcycle and Laurie wastes no time trying to fix him up with her granddaughter, Allyson. It’s a spectacularly bad idea in a movie brimming with bad ideas and boneheaded writing.


Fans of Michael Myers need to wait over half an hour before he makes his reappearance. And when he finally does, he is a mere shadow of his former, menacing self.


There are references to the innumerable Halloween movies for the die-hard fans. Several scenes must be contractually required in these movies—the butcher knife left on a table that disappears a few minutes later (letting you know that Michael is back) and the fan favorite shot of a character being pinned and strangled against a wall before being impaled with a large knife (always followed with the shot of the victim’s feet frantically kicking, becoming lifeless and then being covered by dripping blood).


Be assured, it’s in there.


I know that Jamie Lee Curtis is growing older, but beyond looking more weathered and worn, she appears to be just plain exhausted. And who could blame her or any actor who finds themselves caught in a recurring nightmare of a role that has become an endless feedback loop? I hope they paid her a lot of money.


Despite all the hype, Halloween Ends is nothing to shout, or scream about.


It would be wonderful if the title was true. Halloween should end. It should have ended following the final credits of the original film. But it won’t. And that’s probably the scariest thing about this mindless, rambling, stumbling franchise.

 

Halloween Ends is in theaters and streaming on Peacock.












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