“Halloween” celebrates its free TV premiere: Clever homage or cold horror coffee?

“Halloween” celebrates its free TV premiere
Clever homage or cold horror coffee?

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) fears for her life again.

© Universal Pictures

The return of Michael Myers in “Halloween” celebrates its free TV premiere on October 17th. A good mood for the approaching horror festival?

It’s been over 40 years since director John Carpenter (73) put his character Michael Myers in a slightly modified Captain Kirk mask, set him on a very young Jamie Lee Curtis (62) and with “Halloween – The Night of Horror” Wrote film history. Everything that had the sonorous name of the film series afterwards was literally to be forgotten – and so the makers of the new edition, which celebrates its free TV premiere on October 17th (10:45 pm, RTL), are putting directly on the original of 1978 on. But here, too, the question arises: is this fake blood, or can it go away?

Waiting for Myers – that’s what it’s about

Michael Myers (Nick Castle, 74) has been in custody in a mental institution since he terrorized the American town of Haddonfield with a series of murders 40 years ago. When he was about to be relocated with other highly dangerous inmates, the catastrophe happened: the prisoner transport had an accident on the open road at night and enabled him to escape. Driven by his bestial urge to murder, Myers sets off for Haddonfield and the horrific nightmare begins all over again for the residents.

Only Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who barely escaped the masked killer at the time, is prepared to face the personified evil. The rest of the sleepy town, including Laurie’s daughter and granddaughter, don’t take the nagging of the woman, who has apparently gone mad over the years, seriously – until a sizeable number of them, torn from life in all possible ways, line the streets of Haddonfield.

The question of all questions

The most important quality a horror film must have is the ability to send a chill down the spine of the viewer. Can this “Halloween” part do it? A crystal clear yes and no, and there are several reasons. So you do worry about supporting characters, because director David Gordon Green (46, “Stronger”) manages surprisingly well to make them sympathetic to the audience and thus shocking their mostly cruel end. At a certain point in the film, however, this scheme tilts and makes it predictable. Because then it becomes clear that with regard to the characters apart from the main cast: “You are nice? You are dead!”

Predictability is the death of many film genres, especially horror. In 40 years of horror history in general and in the slasher genre in particular, a lot of blood has already flowed down the stream. “Scream” made fun of the stupidest actions of horror film protagonists of the Laurie brand, the parody of the parody followed with the slapstick “Scary Movie”. And even with “Halloween” you shouldn’t worry too much about how Michael, who always takes a leisurely step, can catch up with his victims and escape the police. And about the violence shown: In times when the ridiculously brutal “Saw” series is almost part of the regular evening program, the knife in the back no longer holds the greatest potential for shock. Especially since the film ignores the screwed up followers of “Halloween”, but they just existed.

Yet…

The fact that “Halloween” is worth seeing nonetheless is less due to its shock moments than to its main character. Jamie Lee Curtis has nothing in common with the once naive babysitter from 1978, who threw away her gun at every opportunity. Even more than a tough avenging angel who has been preparing for the showdown with his nemesis for 40 years, she shines as a broken character whose post-traumatic stress disorder has been gnawing at her psyche for four decades and has destroyed her family.

The fact that, as a savvy and battle-tested pensioner, she still puts herself in dicey situations does not make what is shown more credible at first, but – so much we can reveal – even serves a higher goal. And at the latest when three generations of Strode women stand up to the masked murderer as “final girls”, it becomes clear: “Halloween” is finally that ode to woman power again, which was the original from the 70s.

The best news for the impatient: The continuation of “Halloween” starts in German cinemas on October 21st with “Halloween Kills”. Just four days after its free TV premiere, horror-savvy viewers can immediately find out how things will go on with Laurie, Michael and Co.

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