Looking Back At HALLOWEEN H20: 20 YEARS LATER (1998) - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Looking Back At HALLOWEEN H20: 20 YEARS LATER (1998)

Martin Rayburn tries to live.
This particular battle of good vs. evil takes place in what was billed as the final installment of the popular Halloween series (yeah, right). Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is both a retcon and reboot of the franchise, acting as a direct sequel to the second film, and the first one to see Jamie Lee Curtis back in the role of Laurie Strode since 1981's Halloween II.

Movies like the original Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th, cemented the horror genre by arriving at the start of the home video rental boom; they'd remained (and still remain) big business, thanks in no small part to an endless supply of impressionable teenagers renting underage VHS tapes for some weekend chills, and the ability to recreate your famous anti-hero for some Michael, Freddy or Jason trick-or-treat fun. But the stream of low budget sequels saw most of the big hitters go straight-to-rental, which seemed to be the place horror would stay. However, by the tail-end of the nineties, horror was making a comeback to cinemas, with the likes of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, revitalising the slasher industry through some clever casting of 'beautiful people' from TV shows you know, with the films hitting all the right beats of those glory days of the past, and providing some new, memorable antagonists to the roster. So another sequel to Halloween, and one which has Jamie Lee Curtis was reprising her character from the original, was surely destined for box office gold, right? But, honestly, walking into the cinema in 1998, did anyone really believe this would be the end of Michael Myers?

Laurie has spent the last 20 years living with the horror of her past. Her brother Michael killed their sister, and has spent the rest of his life trying to kill Laurie. For 20 years however, she hasn't heard anything from him, but now, on Halloween, Michael is back. Laurie, who we discover had faked her death to escape from her past and is now living as Keri Tate, has moved to a small boarding school in California, and changed her life. The only person who knows the truth about her is her 17-year-old son John (Josh Hartnett). Everyday she lives with the fear that Michael will come back. Fortunately, for the audience at least (otherwise this would be a pretty dull 86 minutes!), this time, she's right.

H20 is full of the normal horror film chills, thrills and cliches. As you'd expect, Michael kills a bunch of people with his trusty kitchen knife. There are a lot of young, beautiful (and expendable) people, a plethora of jump-scares, moments when you think Michael is there but it turns out to be someone else, and moments where the music tries to scare you just as much as the action on the screen. And some gruesome kills, of course. Luring Jamie Lee Curtis back helps as, unlike installments 5 & 6, this Halloween movie actually feel like the screenplay was considered in advance of shooting, and the finished product feels bigger and better than 90% of other horror films of the time; on par with your Scream production values. Michael also seems a lot meaner and a lot more calculating than the more recent installments, which does make him feel scarier. Plus the subtle tweaks in lighting that famous mask almost makes it a new-scare again.

However, besides having Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie, when watched from the distance of 2022, there's nothing about H20 that makes it stand out in the series. It was such a coup getting the leading lady back at the time, but notsomuch now that she's been in 4 more Halloween sequels since! Ultimately, what H20 does offer for anyone who decides to undertake a mass viewing of all 13 (13!) of the Halloween movies is a palette cleanser of sorts, coming after the low-budget and disappointing fifth and sixth installments.

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is the film that gave new life to a franchise that was on its last kill, and one that provides enough scares for some standalone Halloween night thrills.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad