Forty years after John Carpenter redefined the slasher film with the original “Halloween,” that movie’s lead character Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) returns to take care of some unfinished business in the 2018 version of Halloween(Universal / Blumhouse), the 11th in the series, now available on Blu-ray / DVD / Digital.
Under the care of Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), in a locked ward at Smith’s Grove rehab facility, “pure evil” notorious masked killer Michael Myers, who hasn’t uttered a word in 40 years, is about to be transferred to a different facility. Taking full advantage of the interest of investigative podcasters Aaron (Jefferson Hall) and Dana (Rhian Rees), who rev him up by showing him his famous mask, Michael silently plans his escape.
Meanwhile, Laurie (Curtis) lives in isolation in the Illinois countryside in a heavily barricaded house wired with CCTV cameras, bright lights and other security features. Aaron and Dana offer to pay Laurie $3,000 if she’ll allow them to enter her inner sanctum. Once inside, Laurie tells them there are “no new insights or discoveries” to learn about Meyers. A self-described “basket case,” Laurie is taken aback when Aaron references her two failed marriages and the rocky relationship, she has with daughter Karen (Judy Greer). Adding insult to injury, Laurie is particularly high strung as Myers is being transferred to a new facility where he is to be locked away until the end of his days shortly before Halloween, no less.
That morning, across town, Karen and Ray (Toby Huss) are looking forward to attending daughter Allyson’s (Andi Matichak) National Honor Society induction later in the evening. Allyson is disappointed that Laurie won’t be joining them. She’s busy with target practice, cleaning her guns and securing her house.
At school that day, we see Allyson interacting with friends Vicky (Virginia Gardner), Dave (Miles Robbins), Oscar (Drew Scheid) and her boyfriend Cameron (Dylan Arnold), as they discuss their plans for the Halloween party. Laurie also surprises Allyson at school, giving her the $3,000 from the journalists. It turns out that she and Laurie have a secret relationship, unbeknownst to Allyson’s parents.
It wouldn’t be Halloween without Michael Myers on the loose. After the bus transporting him and other inmates crashes, he is a free maniac on the prowl in Haddonfield on Halloween 40 years after the babysitter murders. The lone survivor of the crash is Dr. Sartain, who insisted on accompanying his prize patient. Myers’ first victims include a boy named Lumpy and his father, gas station attendants, podcasters Dana and Aaron, and a couple of random women.
Officer Hawkins (Will Patton), who has his own history with Myers gets the call about the crash and begins his pursuit of Myers. When Laurie hears about the prison bus crash on the news she goes into full survivalist mode. She even breaks into Karen and Ray’s house to prove how unsafe it is; but they want nothing to do with her.
The night of the Halloween party, Vicky is babysitting for Julian (scene-stealer Jibrail Nantambu) and awaiting the arrival of Dave. Allyson is at the school party with Cameron, but things go south when she catches him kissing another girl. During their disagreement, Cameron throws Allyson’s phone into the punchbowl and she storms away.
The scene is set for chaos. Vicky is babysitting, and we all know how Myers feels about babysitters. Allyson is without a phone and essentially cut off from what is taking place. Laurie has convinced Karen and Ray they aren’t safe and has them in her house when she battens down the hatches. And the body count is rapidly rising, setting the stage for the ultimate showdown, when we realize that Laurie’s house, which was once considered a cage by Karen, was really a trap set for Myers all along.
If Trump’s first two full years in office haven’t scared you enough, then this latest iteration of “Halloween” should do the trick. Blu-ray / DVD / Digital bonus features include seven deleted extended scenes and five featurettes.
Gregg Shapiro is the author of Fifty Degrees (Seven Kitchens, 2016), selected by Ching-In Chen as co-winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Prize. Other books by Shapiro include the short story collections How to Whistle (Lethe Press, 2016) and Lincoln Avenue (Squares and Rebels Press, 2014), the chapbook GREGG SHAPIRO: 77 (Souvenir Spoon Press, 2012), and the poetry collection Protection (Gival Press, 2008).
He has work forthcoming in the anthology Reading Queer: Poetry in a Time of Chaos (Anhinga Press, 2018). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBT and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.