Upsetting as it was for some, postponing Halloween Kills made sense both morally and financially. However, it has since become quite the challenge to avoid spoilers with the script, behind-the-scenes images, Trick or Treat Studios’ licensed mask, and the soundtrack (as well as its tracklist) having leaked. Merely hours after appearing online, Universal Pictures and Blumhouse officially released the second trailer and since then, other footage and a third trailer have made their way online.
Halloween (2018) proved to be a hit, guaranteeing not one but two more sequels, this time with a story fully fleshed out as opposed to waiting to pick up the pieces in the early stages of crafting a sequel. Set to release next month in theaters and on Peacock, Halloween Kills is tasked with the challenge of one-upping 2018’s success, all the while maintaining an established plot and keeping momentum as it drives the narrative forward.
Here are 10 expectations for Halloween Kills.
1. Building Suspense
Horror sequels tend to have an uphill battle when it comes to building and maintaining suspense, and that’s especially true when it’s a story that continues precisely where the predecessor left off. Halloween Kills will see antagonist Michael Myers on yet another killing spree in Haddonfield, amping up both the gory carnage as well as the body count as he casts a shadow over the sleepy town.
In the 20 or so TV spots, teasers, and trailers that have aired, it’s all but guaranteed Michael Myers is angrier than perhaps ever before. Aside from its intensity and violence, The Shape’s brisk autumn walk around his old stomping grounds should be filled with nail biting excitement.
2. Moody Atmosphere
The primary setting in the entirety of the Halloween franchise so far is the fictitious town of Haddonfield, Illinois, a midwestern milieu whose local legend is “The Boogeyman.” Every neighborhood has its haunted house story, and that adds to what’s relatable to Halloween. The cover of darkness adds mystery and uncertainty to ostensibly familiar locations, and the knowledge of impending doom adds to the creepiness.
Halloween Kills needs to have shadowy, eerie cinematography that juxtaposes the seasonal decor and foliage. Michael no longer stalks his victims; he’s far too angry to lurk in the shadows and peer out. David Gordon Green’s predecessor lacks that idiosyncrasy, unfortunately. Instead, Michael roams about aimlessly, seemingly without thought of maintaining a low profile. Keeping Michael in the shadows is not necessary for Halloween Kills, but it would be pretty neat to see again.
3. Character Development
Even though some of the actors are recasts, I love the idea of characters returning from the original film and getting a look at what they’d been up to since the events of 1978. Embracing that sense of familiarity adds something indescribably soulful, and I hope the filmmakers consider that instead of utilizing them as cannon fodder just for the hell of it. Given that this new timeline is driven primarily by emotion, it would be less than acceptable if beloved characters receive little thought or attention in favor of over-the-top kill scenes.
As for the newer characters, this middle chapter will see their mentality change from nonbelievers to hunting down Michael. Karen, played by the underrated Judy Greer, now understands her mother’s struggle. She and Allyson (Andi Matichak) don’t have much time to dwell in sadness and regret as the knowledge of Michael’s existence brings forth fear and, mostly, anger.
4. Genuine Scares
I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with jumpscares – especially if done in such a way to toy with predictability – but there’s something to be said about tension and leaving the audience thinking about what they’d witness unfold. It makes for quite the spooky ride home, and with any luck, you’ll find it hard to sleep. The random path of violence Michael Myers is on gives Halloween Kills a shot at achieving just that.
Modern horror movies, for the most part, rely heavily on loud sound designs, CGI, and gnarly, creative murders to grab the audience’s attention. Halloween Kills will undoubtedly have its fair share of the aforementioned tricks (minus the CGI), but now after gaining experience in the horror genre, David Gordon Green’s likely going to treat us to some memorable, thought-provoking material.
We can sit here and debate movie trailers and how they’re formulaic and chock-full of spoilers all the livelong day, and a primary argument that can be said is that you have the choice to watch or not watch trailers. The reality is that, yes, trailer houses and studio marketing departments work to cut together stylized, action-packed, attention-grabbing pieces of marketing, and things ultimately get spoiled. It’s the same with social media coverage.
Moviegoers with very little prior knowledge of the Halloween franchise or its genre likely won’t pick up on many spoilers. In this particular case, Universal Pictures isn’t worried about me purchasing a movie ticket or subscribing to Peacock; they’re more interested in persuading someone who prefers Hallmark’s Christmas movies to watch Halloween Kills. Even so, having seen most of the marketing for Halloween Kills, I do sincerely hope we haven’t seen everything just yet.
6. A Memorable Score
John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies put forth an admirable collaborative effort with their score for Halloween (2018) and gave us some of the franchise’s best tracks to date. The soundtrack for Halloween Kills is something I have been in anticipation of since its announcement. Unfortunately, what we’ve heard in the trailers won’t likely be part of the soundtrack.
Three full-length tracks, courtesy of Secretly Distribution, have officially been released on behalf of Sacred Bones Records: Unkillable, Rampage, and Michael’s Legend. They are dark, intense, and filled with unquestionably burning rage beyond anything we’ve heard in the franchise’s history to date. Once fully released, it will be interesting to learn where this soundtrack will rank among Halloween fans.
7. Hiding the Face of Evil
If there’s one single thing Halloween fans can agree upon, it’s that Michael Myers should remain, in a sense, faceless. Whenever he’s unmasked, his appearance should be kept in the shadows, away from our curious eyes. Far be it for me to be a total downer, but we see too much of Michael in the previous installment. Perhaps stronger than anything we (the audience) project onto the mask is Michael’s connection to it, despite stealing it from Nichol’s Hardware Store in 1978. At least, that’s what Halloween (2018) seems to suggest.
Most of Halloween Kills’ marketing continues this theory. “I want to take his mask off and see the light leave his eyes,” says one character. “You want your mask? Come and get it,” shouts another. Several instances of grabbing, pulling, tugging on that crispy, blood-caked mask are shown. If unmasking Michael Myers is the key to ending his existence (provided he doesn’t acquire a new mask in Halloween Ends), maybe the last frame of this saga will be of whatever remains of the mask on someone’s mantle like a trophy.
8. A Cliffhanger
A cliffhanger for Halloween Kills will likely see Michael Myers having the upper hand, seeing as it’s the surefire way of evening the odds after Laurie Strode was somewhat victorious in Halloween (2018).
Currently, all we know about Halloween Ends is that there will be a time jump. With no reshoots confirmed for Halloween Kills, David Gordon Green’s interview in a recent Total Film magazine makes it a tad difficult to figure out how a time jump established during writing sessions over the course of the pandemic will play into this completed sequel.
The protagonist(s) will undoubtedly recuperate in the time between Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, and so too will Michael. However, because I’m sensing Michael will have the upper hand in Halloween Kills, it’s not likely he’ll be captured and Halloween Ends will have to explain his whereabouts somehow. This could be tricky considering Halloween 5’s year-long hibernation, Halloween: H20’s vagueness, and Halloween 2’s maskless trek.
9. Michael Myers Stays Silent
Isn’t it strange how two characters in Halloween (2018) are determined to get Michael Myers to speak to them? Coincidentally, it’s the same two characters that emphasize the significance of his mask. To my mind, part of Michael’s spookiness is his silent lurking, having to search each side of the screen in total suspense, waiting for him to appear in front of or behind someone.
Michael communicates through his movements.
The Shape is different from Regan, Freddy, and Chucky. He’s not Pinhead, Jigsaw, or one of the many Ghostfaces. What would Michael Myers possibly have to say? If anything, would it be about the events of 1963, or would it be more relevant to 1978? For whatever reason, I can imagine the filmmakers having Michael say, “Judith” and then collapse. But please, for the love of Laurie, keep Michael silent.
10. Fewer Comedic Scenes
There is nothing inordinately wrong with comedic characters or scenes in horror movies, but it’s not always a good fit. There are moments in Halloween (2018) where the use of comedy is unnecessary. I understand things change throughout production, but when you read that a horror franchise is getting a “dark and vicious” sequel, and that “nobody will be laughing“, you come to expect just that.
Being a direct continuation of its predecessor, Halloween Kills can’t rely on humor peppered sporadically throughout its runtime. Pacing is somewhat off in Halloween (2018), and it’s usually in scenes where iffy attempts at humor are deliberately thrown in as tension relief. There are frighteningly so many ways Halloween Kills can turn into another Halloween: Resurrection. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think anyone wants that.
Halloween Kills arrives in theaters and on Peacock on October 15, 2021. How will you be watching Halloween Kills?
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