Directed By: Steve Miner
Written By: Robert Zappia & Matt Greenberg
Jamie Leigh Curtis
Halloween H20, the “where are they now” installment of the franchise, is not bad at all — in fact, it is quite good. It certainly redeemed the series after the unfortunate bitter taste that was left after part six, and overall it successfully captured the atmosphere and other elements from the original that made it a nice throwback to the 70s. Had they actually stopped the series here (with the exception of Rob Zombie’s re-envisioning which I quite enjoyed) the series may have retained more credibility and not been further plagued by sub-par sequels. Halloween H20 was in my mind the definitive final chapter, and certainly the last good film in the franchise.
Taking place exactly twenty years after the grim events of the first two films, Halloween H20 essentially skips over the previous three sequels (excluding the third film which was devoid entirely of the Halloween mythos) and once again reunites audiences with Laurie Strode, a now middle-aged woman seeking to restore some peace to her shattered life. Having taken all precautions to avoid ever meeting her deranged brother again, she has changed her name, moved to California, and works as headmistress of an exclusive boarding school where her 17-year-old son (Josh Hartnett in his first role) attends. She suffers the effects of post-traumatic stress, and in turn resorts to alcoholism — the result of which has created an ever-increasing rift between her and her son, who resents the fact that he is forced to look after an over-protective mother who lives in constant fear.
Ultimately, Laurie’s worst nightmare turns into reality when her psychopath brother returns to continue his spree of violence and butchery, working his way through the student body in an attempt to get Laurie and her son. Just as the film eludes to paralleling the classic Frankenstein tale, there reaches a point where Laurie has nothing left to lose, and must redeem herself by facing the monster alone. What ensues is a high-tension game of cat-and-mouse, and an unforgettable climax.
Why this film is so often overlooked and frowned upon is unknown to me. I believe it was successful in everything it set out to do: it brought the franchise to an acceptable conclusion, while maintaining the atmosphere and overall feeling of the first two films (despite it’s much higher budget). While I enjoy the other sequels simply for the sole reason that they show Michael Myers slashing his way through Haddonfield on Halloween night, the true Halloween series for me will always be parts 1, 2, and H20.
In my opinion, it is wise to stay away from subsequent sequels. They take the series in a direction that I never thought it would go, and have overall been rather dissapointing. Halloween H20, while it is often overlooked, stands as one of the last (if not the last) great slasher film to be released into theatres. It captured all the good aspects of the slasher genre, and should take it’s place as a worthy horror film in the annals of horror history.