The Second Installment of David Gordon Green’s Halloween Trilogy Hits Home Video
Halloween Kills, the sequel to David Gordon Green’s direct follow-up to the ’77 original, which eschewed everything in the muddled cannon after the classic — was widely regarded as a much needed return to form for the series. Upon the success of that 2018 film, it was then revealed that it was one third of a trilogy meant to finally put an end to the Michael Myers’ reign of terror on Haddonfield once and for all. Kills originally hit theaters and streaming in October after a year of delays, and I caught the original cut (1 hour 45 minutes) theatrically. While I had my reservations going in, given it essentially was half a narrative, I left somewhat satisfied and curious to see where Green would take Myers next in Halloween Ends.
Halloween Kills recently hit 4k UHD in an “Extended Cut” (1 hour 49 minutes) and picks up moments after the 2018 film with Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) house in flames and Myers still trapped in the basement. Emergency responders inadvertently rescue Myers, who then leaves a trail of carnage in his wake as he makes his way back to his childhood home. Something interesting happens in Halloween Kills while this is all going on, unlike most slashers where the town is usually oblivious to the events unfolding, until the end of the movie. Haddonfield is panicking like someone waking up from a bender in a tub full of ice, and one kidney short. This subplot has a town in upheaval, as Tommy Doyle goes full-on Bonanza rounding up a posse, adding another layer of chaos to Myers’ own.
Seeing this for a second time really allowed me to appreciate how Green masterfully uses the humor to take the edge off and offset what is easily one of the most grisly entries in the series. Another thing that was even more apparent this time around was this is basically a bridge film. Think of Kills as the Two Towers in Green’s own Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s all about getting that homicidal hobbit just a bit closer to his Mordor. In this entry we also get some new exposition and backstory, that adds some course correction to the mythos, as we learn Myers was never after Laurie Strode in the last film. He was just pointed in that direction by his doctor, who was fixated on having the two square off to see just what would happen. This works to once again reframe the character as Carpenter originally intended in the first place, as simply the embodiment of evil, “The Shape”.
This all comes to light in this homage to Halloween 2, as we have Strode in Haddonfield Memorial Hospital for the bulk of the film, bedridden, this time waiting for a killer that never shows. Instead The Shape is preoccupied with heading back home as we also see the events of the original 77 film, from another perspective, thanks to a few newly filmed flashbacks. Of all the things in this film, this piece of story felt the most extraneous and only really worked to give some further backstory on the legacy characters while hopefully dealing out some foreshadowing for the next film. These supporting players get a moment of spotlight while Green also uses this to reinforce the significance of the Myers’ house, in particular the window in his sister’s room. This nostalgic trip didn’t feel quite as fan-servicey as, let’s say, the end of Ghostbusters: Afterlife or Spiderman: No Way Home, but it’s hopefully setting the stage for something, we just don’t know yet.
I also dug the rather on the nose metaphor at the beginning of the film as The Shape is reborn, or reforged if you will, in the flames of Strode’s basement. It’s as if he has now completely transcended or absolved himself of the last bit of humanity into something much more grotesque. But what? The film falls just short of giving that answer, simply stating that the carnage and chaos are what is fueling him as we see this all play out in that third act battle royal as the town catches up to the Boogeyman and they all get their chance to get the punch in. The problem is, everything is returned 10-fold in a bloody orgy of violence, that still planted my jaw firmly on the ground the second time around. It’s something everyone probably has always wanted to see, and here we finally get that short lived catharsis.
I did watch the “Extended Cut” on the disc and I did notice a few new moments here and there that were new, along with the extended ending, that I found should’ve been left on the cutting room floor. This bit of footage has Laurie calling a cell phone with Michael answering it. So for me at least, it invokes this hilarious image of The Shape answering a smartphone? Which does he even know how to use? This reminded me of when one of the Johnston Gang, notorious from the film At Close Range, escaped from prison. He ran into some trouble on his getaway, because he didn’t know how to use gas pumps or credit cards. Technology had evolved so much since he was in jail he couldn’t make his escape and was apprehended shortly thereafter. Myers answering a smartphone is almost absurd as him texting, given he’s been in a mental institution for almost 40 years; but I digress.
The film here is presented in gorgeous 4K on the disc with both cuts available on the UHD. As far as presentation, the film looks good if not better than when I caught it theatrically. Given the majority of the film is shot at night the blacks are deep and inky here and the HDR works to accent the hues of the flashback scenes, just enough to give a visual distinction between past and present. Also included are some brief deleted scenes, a few EPK pieces and a commentary track by Gordon Green, Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer. The commentary is an interesting listen and mix of play by play and anecdotes, Green even points out things in the film that are setup for the next film that’s yet to be lensed. Contrary to the original plan Kills and Ends were not shot back to back due to Covid; only Kills was completed.
To be honest I dug Kills a bit more the second time around, but since this is a bridge film it is primarily about setting the stage with the players and places who will come into play in Halloween Ends. The ending doesn’t have that satisfying finality you’d expect with a normal film, but that’s completely intentional. The Shape is still out there and supercharged after his battle with the townspeople, and for some reason Strode is out to end this once and for all. Being a Halloween fan, its really hard to say whether I really loved it or just plain enjoyed it, because some of that payoff is still a film away, and I want to reserve my full judgement to see how that shakes out.
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