David Gordon Green’s latest, a heady and metaphorical deep dive into the origin of monsters
I just got out of Halloween Ends and I am sure its going to confound a few folks simply looking for another body count slasher. While not quite going full on “elevated horror”, the film continues the path set in the Kills dissecting what exactly is evil and how it creates these symbols of power otherwise known as monsters. The film does this by setting up a new male babysitter Corey (Rohan Campbell) who accidentally kills his charge on Halloween one year after Michael Myers disappeared. The film then jumps three years later and we witness the innocent Corey demonized for what happened in the Haddonfield community, as well as Laurie Strode who has attempted to reattach her self to society being blamed for supposedly ‘egging Myers on’ and causing this in the first place. David Gordon Green uses this to both show the possible origin of evil, since Corey begins to stray down this path after he is jumped by a group of high school students, while we see how an encounter with evil can mark a person and make them a proxy for hate and fear.
The film has this surreal thread that has Corey discovering Myers weakened and hiding out in the sewers of Haddonfield, barely alive. It’s here Myers grabs Corey and upon sensing his journey beginning down the path of evil, he allows him to leave. Now this is where you can read this film in two ways, and I am going to go full on spoilers, because it’s the only way to really dig into the themes at work here.
SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT.
There’s going to be two ways you can read this film from here on out, the literal and the metaphorical and the film functions completely and coherently on both wavelengths. Literally, Corey comes under the wing of Myers to get vengeance on those who wronged him as he becomes an apprentice to evil, learning the way to harness and control it. The metaphorical reading is Corey used this town’s fear of the boogeyman to get his revenge on them with all of this homicidal mentorship happening in his mind.
This thread comes full circle after Corey’s brief courtship with Allyson (Andi Matichak) is cut short when Laurie forbids him from dating her niece. She claims she notices something in him that was similar to Myers. We do get the full battle at the end between Strode and Myers, after Myers comes in to reclaim his mask that Corey was using pretending to be Myers to take out Strode. But was that simply Corey losing himself to this monster he was channeling, becoming this symbol? The film is told under the guise of a book Laurie is writing and ends with Myers being ground up at a Junkyard, so we are effectively getting an account from a possible unreliable narrator, not first hand through the events transpiring. Myers could have never showed up and Corey could have never encountered him, and simply used the symbol that once terrorized the town town get get those back that demonized him, delivering to them the evil they so desperately wanted him to be. By taking on that mantle, that is who Strode killed in a symbolic sacrifice to cleanse the town of Haddonfield once and for all.
Superficially the film functions well enough as a slasher so most fans will gleam over this and enjoy Myers’ latest spree and some of the cool mythology that is added in for good measure. The final battle is definitely a spectacle of a square off between the two horror titans, capped off by Myers being ground up into mincemeat. But through Curtis’ voiceover there is so many more layers added there for fans to disseminate as the film looks into how our society treats survivors effectively the same as the monsters that created them. Curtis is a real joy here on screen and does a much more nuanced performance as we see her try and fail over and over to reintegrate with society. There’s also a nugget dropped on those that have been spared by Myers in the past, that adds even another layer to how the film toys with the concept of good, evil, monsters and men.
Given so many years have passed with Myers, Gordon Green uses Corey to illustrate Michael’s journey, and how society is partially to blame for manufacturing these monsters through fear and hatred. Its a heady thematic through line for the series, but one that really feels like it links up to what Carpenter was trying to explore in that original film, expanding and dissecting it even further. Its also something that echoes the hysteria and chaos of Kills and makes us truly wonder what actually transpired at the end of that film. Needless to say I’ve got a lot more thinking to do to fully grasp and deconstruct this film that is a horror masterpiece delving into the age old question of what is evil? Its definitely a fitting conclusion and one that while functioning in this surreal manner, managed to give both characters a worthy send off befitting of the legacy of the series.