Yes, it’s that week again. It’s time for youngsters to roam the streets begging for Hershey miniatures and Nerdz while lobbing eggs at houses that offer up saltine crackers. Not coincidentally, the latest iteration of the evil slow-walking guy with a knife movie series – Halloween (2018) – hit the theaters last weekend. True to form, Hollywood has some things to teach us tactical Neanderthals about defending our homes from masked invaders who just won’t die.
But first, here’s your obligatory
Since we’ll be learning from Hollywood tactical professionals and non-verbal knife murderers, we’re going to have to talk about things that happen in the hot new Halloween movie. If you haven’t yet seen the newest entry in the franchise, read on at your own risk. You’ve been warned, although you already know that Michael Myers never dies, so we’ll likely see him again in a future flick. You can’t kill the boogeyman.
In various parts of the movie, the older and immensely more badass Laurie Strode (Jaimie Lee Curtis) wields a shorty shottie. From quick looks, it appears to be some variant of a Mossberg 500 Tactical, likely the Cruiser version.
The vertical pistol grip, lack of stock, and receiver are the giveaways. Laurie tends to carry this one ready to fire from the hip, so I have to believe she subscribes to the “you don’t have to aim a shotgun” myth.
So, is it a good anti-Michael Myers solution? Admittedly, this is an opinion matter, but I’d have to say no. The Cruiser shotgun gets big points from the Russian judge for portability and Anti-Michael power, but it’s hard to control and aim and capacity is limited to a half-dozen or so.
While that may be adequate for normal humans, this guy has been killed four or five times already, so he’s clearly going to require a little something extra. Also, for a “pistol” with no shoulder brace, it’s bulky and heavy. It’s awkward to aim at a target since you’re holding the gun up in the air in front of your schnoz. Though that never becomes a problem and Laurie does some significant damage to Michael’s hand with it as he’s clutching at her through the front door.
I recently had the opportunity to shoot a Mossberg Shockwave equipped with the new Crimson Trace Lasersaddle. That makes all the difference.
One of the big benefits of laser sighting is that you don’t have to bring the firearm to eye level to place accurate shots. With a shorty shottie, you can hold it low for stability and to avoid recoiling yourself in the eye, and fire away. In the dark with the Lasersaddle, I was able to easily hit clay targets 20 yards downrange. It’s definitely a “minute of Michael” accuracy solution. Laurie, some advice. Get with the program and buy a laser.
This movie was an expensive outing for me. Yeah, the tickets cost more than a 2009 Ford F150, but the real expense will be in the home improvement budget category. You see, new and improved Laurie has invested some of the 40 years since her first Michael melee installing a subterranean safe room. Accessed through a hole in the kitchen floor and covered by an electrically operated kitchen island secret entrance, her basemen / Mom cave is well stocked with guns, ammo, and lots of canned food. Presumably, that’s to protect against a prolonged siege by a crazy guy with a knife.
I like the barricade in a safe place concept, even if it might make for boring movie scenes. It’s the smart move, especially if you can call for the cavalry. It’s also a wise strategy when defending against a guy who can’t seem to run and only carries a knife and the occasional hammer. It’s not like he’s going to be dropping grenades down the safe room stairs even if he opens the door…
While I like and appreciate the barricade strategy, I can also relate to Laurie when she leaves her safe basement space and goes out to find Michael Myers. I would be seriously over dealing with some speechless guy chasing me with a knife for 40 years too. Like her, I’d be ready to be done with the whole thing, win or lose. One of us would have to be put out of our misery.
So, against conventional home-defense wisdom, Laurie decides to exit her panic room and kill the bastard. I get it, I really do. Hiding and waiting for the National Guard to show up would have made for a far less dramatic movie ending and opening weekend ticket sales would have been a bust. And we find out later, there was more to her plan than it seemed.
Bolts and Revolvers Arsenal
When we see Laurie’s safe room arsenal, it’s stocked with a Hollywood-friendly assortment of… bolt-action rifles and revolvers. There are also a few pump-action and side-by-side shotguns, one of which is the shorty shottie previously discussed, and Laurie’s lever gun.
I don’t have anything against bolt-action rifles or revolvers, but neither would be my first choice for monster defense. One would think that in 40 years of non-stop preparation, our heroine could have geared up with a bit more firepower. Again, I’m not judging personal preferences here.
Laurie remarks that “revolvers never jam” when she hands one to Roy to use as his defensive firearm, so it seems she’s put some thought into this. However, if I was a suspicious guy, and I am, I’d bet that the firearm arsenal choice was deliberate. Not by the character, but by the director, actors, and producers. No semi-automatic pistols? No semi-automatic rifles? No mythical “assault weapons?” Sounds like a lecture disguised as a movie scene to me, but hey, I’m not cynical…
A lever-action rifle in a 2018 horror flick? Why yes. Laurie appears in multiple scenes with a rifle that might be a Winchester 1873 model or some kind of reproduction with an octagonal barrel. On the benefit side, lever-actions are reliable, at least with round-nose ammo, which is fine as she’s only using it at in-the-home distances. If it gets dirty, just crank the lever a bit harder, right? Besides, four out of five cowboys recommend lever-actions, so there must be something to them.
However, the lever-loving strategy doesn’t really pay off for Laurie. It doesn’t exactly get her killed, but it doesn’t help her either. Let’s just say the long profile and need for two-handed operation cause some hand to hand combat issues, and that she could have benefited from a few extra rounds, and the ability to reload, more than once.
The movie offered up another “must have” home improvement tip although I suspect it would give the local fire marshal a coronary. Laurie equipped her home with emergency buttons outside of each room. A dramatic and authoritative whack on the button would cause a steel gate to come crashing down, thereby sealing off the area.
After going offensive, Laurie makes a big show of toting her trusty lever-action rifle through the house to find Michael the Mutilator. She clears each room, adding dramatic gasps where appropriate, and as she exits, she mashes the gate button to seal the empty room. I get the strategy. After you clear it, no one can sneak back in there, so you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
But come on people! The guy is armed with a knife, not plastic explosives. How about locking all the rooms first? If the masked dummy is in one, then he’s locked IN. You can then tease him, call the mental hospital, or shoot his sorry monster ass at your leisure.
However, the proactive room gating plan makes a little more sense when you decide to implement your final countdown strategy…
The Fire Trap
I’ll have to respectfully disagree with this home-defense tip offered up by the movie. Filling your home with an interconnected series of gas jets and igniters, all operated by a single remote control is definitely a fire hazard 🙂 Yeah, I get that was the point – to trap Michael inside and burn it all down, but I would think that particular home-defense feature would make getting affordable insurance virtually impossible. One has to be practical and tactical you know.
I have to say I was impressed with the overall level of boogeyman invasion prevention. A shooting range filled with perforated mannequins on the property, massive floodlights on the roof, a remote-control hidden panic room, and last but not least a push-button natural gas conflagration on demand are all nifty home-defense features, even if they are a bit harsh on the furniture. Too bad that all those systems and tactics were in vain. No matter how the movie ended, everyone knows that you can’t kill the boogeyman.
How to Watch The Halloween Film Series – A Guide
If you aren’t familiar, there have been a lot of movies in the Halloween series and the chronology can get very confusing.
The Originals – Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween III
Originally there were eight films, beginning with Halloween in 1978, followed by Halloween II in 1981, which was a direct sequel. Both films starred Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode.
It was revealed in the second film, which takes place later on the same night as the original, that Laurie is actually Michael’s sister, who was a baby when he committed his first murders as a boy.
She was adopted by the Strode family, who later unknowingly moved to Laurie’s original home town. It’s a plot point that influenced the rest of the sequels and one that many fans are split about.
In 1982 Halloween III: Season of the Witch was released, which was an official entry in the series, but didn’t include Michael Myers. It endeavored to make Halloween more of a serial, the idea being each movie would be based on a new story idea that existed in the same universe. This movie was about haunted Halloween masks. It was a flop.
The Middle Trilogy – Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Halloween 6
The series was dead for six years until 1988, when Myers finally came back after seven years in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, followed quickly by Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), though Curtis and Laurie Strode had been written out and the story instead focused on Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), Laurie’s daughter who she apparently had off screen in the years since Halloween II. Donald Pleasence returns as Dr. Sam Loomis, who apparently didn’t die in that big explosion at the end of part II—though he is scarred from his burns and wears gloves at all times.
Part 5 sees Jamie, having survived being introduced to her uncle, mute and in an institution after attacking her mom with some scissors at the end of Part 4, apparently under the influence of whatever encourages Michael to kill. Then it starts getting weird. She has like a telepathic link with Michael and feels it when he kills people. And on yeah, he’s still alive. After being shot like 100 times by the cops in Part 4, he apparently falls down a mineshaft like Frankenstein’s monster in an old Universal black and white, and just floats down the river and recovers—with no medical attention—in a hermit’s hut.
The first entry of the 1990s was Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), which was largely disliked by fans and critics alike. It marks the last appearance of Donald Pleasance in the series as Dr. Loomis, as he passed away soon after filming was completed. Parts 4, 5, and 6 are sometimes viewed as their own trilogy, as they have a separate arc from the rest of the film series that tries to explain the nature of Michael Myers’ evil, though it falls pretty short of being coherent.
Part 5 is also disliked by fans because it has a different actress playing Jamie, even though Danielle Harris would have been the right age. And then, Jamie is killed early on, with the story following her newborn baby and Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), the boy Laurie was babysitting in the original Halloween. It attempts to define a supernatural reason for Michael’s existence by introducing the “Curse of Thorn” plot line, revolving around a covert cult and an ancient curse that compels Michael to kill and also makes him immortal—which would explain a lot.
The Reboot – H20, Resurrection
In 1998, Jamie Lee Curtis reprised her role of Laurie Strode for the first time since the first sequel for Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. This movie is a direct sequel to Halloween II (1981) and ignores all other sequels, picking up with Laurie 20 years after Michael’s original attack.
Curtis returned in a sequel four years later with Halloween: Resurrection (2002), an appearance that infuriated fans (along with most of the rest of the movie, which also starred Busta Rhymes).
Her character is killed of near the beginning and the rest of the movie is framed by a fake reality TV show…it is the most hated entry, and effectively killed the series. But like Michael, it just can’t stay dead.
The Remake – Halloween, Halloween 2
In 2007, director Rob Zombie gave us his take on the Michael Myers mythos with a remake of the original with Halloween (2007), in which Scout Taylor Thompson took over the role of Laurie Strode. The ultra violent, bloody, profanity-laden version caused mixed reactions among longtime fans, but did well at the box office. It was successful enough that the studio wanted a sequel—something Zombie had never intended to make. But, as he said in interviews, if a sequel were going to happen anyway, he’d rather be the one to screw it up instead of someone else.
A luke-warm mess of a sequel, Halloween 2, followed in 2009, confusing fans and killing the series yet again.
Back To The Source – Halloween 2018
For nine years the film series languished in development hell until it was revived by David Gordon Green and Danny McBride for the latest entry Halloween (2018).
Yes, it’s just called “Halloween,” but it’s actually a direct sequel to the original 1978 film, ignoring all of the other movies in the series, including Halloween II (1981) and H20 (1998), as well as the Zombie remakes.
So, in short, in order to follow and enjoy the newest Halloween, you only need to have seen the original Halloween from 1978. All clear?
But if you want…
You can watch them as released
You can watch Halloween (1978), Halloween 2 (1981), followed by Halloween H20, and Halloween Resurrection
you can watch Halloween (1978) and Halloween (2018).
Aren’t horror movie series that span four decades fun?!