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Fright Fortnight: Why I prefer the 2018 Halloween sequel to the original

7 mins read

I know, saying you prefer a sequel to the original is often a controversial opinion. Halloween (2018) came out exactly 40 years after the original and along with its release, it brought a completely fresh and modern continuation of the story. Filled with suspense, jump scares and action, it is the perfect late-night spooky season watch.

Halloween (2018) is the second instalment in the Halloween film series, although technically it is the tenth film featuring the terrifying killer, Michael Myers.

The original Halloween released in the late 70s and directed by John Carpenter tells the story of Michael Myers, a psychopathic serial killer who on Halloween night escapes an insane asylum where he is locked up for murdering his sister ten years earlier.

He returns to his hometown searching for his next victims and spreads terror through the town of Haddonfield until he meets the final girl, Laurie, played by Jamie Lee Curtis.

At the end of Halloween 1978, after a brutal battle with Laurie, Michael is shot by a police officer and falls out the window.  The scene shows Michael lying on the floor outside where he appears to be dead. However, when the officer goes to look outside at his lifeless body, Michael has vanished into the night sending terror through his, Laurie and the whole audience’s bones that this manic killer is still out there, somewhere.

40 years later, we return to the town of Haddonfield. Michael has once again been locked away. Laurie has spent her life living in terror of Michael patiently waiting for his return so they can finish what they started all those years ago. We see Laurie as a heavy-drinking agoraphobic whose obsession with Michael has affected all her relationships. Most notably with her daughter Karen, who was taken away when she was 12, and her granddaughter Allyson.

On the night of October 30, after a bus which was transferring Michael crashes, he escapes once again and wastes no time in returning to his vicious killer roots. News quickly travels to Haddonfield that Michael has escaped and in typical horror movie fashion, no one seems too concerned or interested. Except for Laurie, whose warnings to her family are dismissed and she is forced to wait for Michael’s return and the horrors that come with it.

Jamie-Lee Curtis as Laurie. Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Halloween 1978 is a brilliant and classic scary movie. However, what I like about the 2018 sequel is that this film wastes no time in setting up Michael as a petrifying killer, simply because it doesn’t need to.

In the first film, the pacing is slower, it builds up suspense as we see various shots of Michael appearing in the background, following Laurie and her friends to school. It is only later that Halloween night; the real show begins and while it doesn’t disappoint, I like how the 2018 film wastes not a minute in making your blood run cold. However, it should be noted the slower pace in the first film represents how Michael stalks his prey, as he is always lurking in the shadows waiting to strike.

The 2018 film has the privilege of not needing to introduce him, the 1978 film did the job of setting up his backstory and introducing his character. While the 2018 sequel, simply just got to carry on that story. Allowing it to have a more fast-paced plot which results in there being a terrifying scare around every corner that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

There is also the added tension of his and Laurie’s conflict, which builds up the excitement for the two to meet again and it feels like the film is constantly heading towards this big showdown between Michael and the one person he couldn’t kill.

I think this is why I love this movie so much; the first half is filled with everything you could want from a slasher film and has jump scares so clever you will feel like Michael is hiding in your own house. Whilst it is also slowly building up to the big finale of Michael vs Laurie, which creates suspense so powerful you feel like you can’t breathe.

The shifting power dynamic between Laurie and Michael in this film is not like in other horror movies. She is out for blood right from the start and this film takes a modern feminist approach to the final girl trope, as the once-hunted Laurie has now also become the hunter. The two are perhaps one of the horror genre’s most powerful duos.  

So, whether you have seen the original Halloween, some of the earlier sequels, or you haven’t seen any of them at all, I strongly encourage you to watch Halloween 2018.

It will not disappoint, and its compilation of tension, action, twists and cliff-hangers is enough to entertain even the more particular of film audiences. And those of you who usually hate this type of film- be brave and give it a go, just make sure you don’t watch it at night!

Featured Image Credit: Universal Pictures

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