Sunday, December 5

Horror is the modern condition, no wonder the Halloween franchise still resonates | Anna Bogutskaya

During the past 18 months we have collectively experienced more anxiety than we could have imagined, which ironically makes it appropriate that our appetite for horror has increased. Times of anxiety call for anxiety movies.

Independent filmmakers responded to the locks by making horror movies that reflected our state of mind: Ben Wheatley made the psychedelic terrestrial horror, Into the Earth, leaked into pandemic paranoia, and Rob Savage took advantage of the horror of Zoom’s calls with Host. Big franchise launches like The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Spiral: from the book of Saw and Quiet Place Part II was delayed for theatrical release and did relatively well at the box office. But none have broken records quite like Halloween Kills, the twelfth installment in the long-running franchise, which premiered both in theaters and online. The film dominated the box office on its opening weekend in US theaters, more than $ 50 million. Streaming service Netflix also joined in, uploading six of the Halloween movies. movies in time for the new release.

Is there something in the franchise that speaks of the moment in which we find ourselves? There are only two constants in a true Halloween movie: Laurie Strode and Michael Myers (aside from the questionable Rob Zombie reboots and the third installment, Halloween III: Season of the Witch). Well that and John Carpenter’s synthetic goodness Original score.

The main antagonist, Myers, in the 1978 film and in the reboots, is billed as The Shape. Nick Castle, who played him in the John Carpenter and Debra Hill original, was directed to just walk from A to B. No backstory. Without emotion. Without humanity. Myers has been the target of endless attempts to kill him, and yet he lives on, keeps coming back to the same city, to the same house.

And so does Strode, played from the original by Jamie Lee Curtis. While Myers remains an eternal form hidden beneath William Shatner’s white mask (in a fun twist, the mask ages), Strode has been carrying the burden of fear for 40 years. She is the beating heart of the movies. While Myers may be the empty void of evil, he is a complete, imperfect, bruised, life-clinging human being. When I interviewed Curtis, spoke about the vulnerability of his unexpected heroine: “We have wanted to take care of her all these years.”

The palpable dread in Curtis’s performance has morphed over the years into something more empathetic, something we can connect with more intensely now that we too have had such an intense fear of the world around us and unstoppable forces. . Strode knows that no matter where he is, the possibility of Myers showing up never goes away. Fear is a certainty Strode has to live with, just like we do.

Being afraid has become the norm for many of us, and it can feel good to cling to supernatural stories when the natural world feels so out of control. Myers is the shapeless, faceless bogeyman onto whom we project our own personal anxieties. We can experience fear, and then, most importantly, its release, when we watch these movies. Halloween The franchise always taunts us with the bogeyman death, but it’s never really defeated. And Strode has yet to face him. That is why we keep going back to these movies, because she reminds us to keep facing our own fears head-on.

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