The Daily Egyptian | Entertainment Column: “Halloween Ends” slashes all preconceptions and becomes one of the series’ best

Very few franchises have sustained pop culture like “Halloween” has. Since the original film terrified audiences in 1978, the series has seen 12 sequels, passed through five production studios, been rebooted three times and had nine different directors helm it.

The series has spanned over sixty years and has seen some amazing departures and returns to form, as far as John Carpenter’s first film is concerned. While the ups and downs of “Halloween” are interesting in their own right, the newest film “Halloween Ends” is the funniest thing ever. “Halloween Ends” is the first time that the series has definitely stated that it was the last film and it is the first time that any sequel has been planned in advance.

Usually, the sequel was completely dependent on the success of the one before it, which led to them feeling disjointed or with large gaps between films. The longest is nine years between Rob Zombie’s 2009 film “Halloween II” and David Gordon Green’s 2018 film “Halloween.”

But David Gordon Green has, by far, been the most proud director/writer to helm the series since its inception. His first film in this series, “Halloween” of 2018, was very different because it ignored all the previous canvases, except for the first film. It was a huge hit, had the highest grosses of any previous film, and was the first to spark a “legacy sequel”, where a long-running franchise is rebooted but retains the belief of its previous film, which it always contains. A lot of fan service and respect for them.

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After the success of “Halloween” in 2018, two more sequels directed by Green were greenlit, “Halloween Kills” and “Halloween Ends.” This had fans interested in knowing what this trilogy has planned and if it will really “end” or continue to pump out sequels, as the franchise always has.

Another pandemic and four years later, we’ve reached “Halloween Ends.” Released on October 14, the film had built up huge expectations, given the task of wrapping up a story that took place 40 years ago. Jamie Lee Curtis stars in the film again as Laurie Strode, her best role to date. The film serves as the end of his story, along with Michael Myers.

The movie has gone viral these days since it hit the theaters. It boasts a remarkable twist, like the ending and the “Halloween” movie in general. The film chooses to follow a new character, Corey Cunningham, rather than expected Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. Although, these characters are still there and they get their promised end.

This surprise takes many listeners who are upset by the choice, feeling cheated or cheated. But this couldn’t be further from the truth of the film’s purpose. The way this trilogy can be viewed is that “Halloween” in 2018 was Laurie’s film, “Halloween Kills” was Michael Myers and “Halloween Ends” was Haddonfield’s film. Haddonfield, Illinois is where the movies take place.

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All three are central to the first film and almost every sequel. All have deep significance to the plot of the film itself, and the themes of the trilogy. “Halloween Ends” forces the audience to really think about what the series is all about, rather than just a simple fan service filled with one last hurrah.

Corey Cunningham, played by breakout star Rohan Campbell, serves as a vessel for the evil that inhabits Haddonfield, providing insight and commentary on what collective grief can do within a community. “Halloween Ends” is the most advanced film in the series, choosing broad ideas and questions, rather than concrete answers expected by some fans.

Although this aspect has disturbed many, this is completely faithful to what made the original film of 1978 work and why it continues to work to this day. “Halloween” has always been about things the audience doesn’t know. The more we know about Michael, the less scary he is; The more you understand evil, the less evil it appears. Ambiguity and anonymity are at the heart of the list.

While Green’s trilogy delves into many aspects of the series that have never been explored before, the team behind the films always make sure to tread that line carefully. This, among countless other issues, makes this trilogy the closest any sequel has come to meeting the original and expanding upon it, rather than milking it.

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Beyond its subversive plot and complex themes, “Halloween Ends” still works as a satisfying and highly entertaining experience. The performances were excellent all around, especially Curtis and Campbell. There’s yet another amazing moody synth score from Carpenter himself with haunting and haunting effects, which will surprise even veterans of the genre, and the signature Illinois spirit it’s built into.

“Halloween Ends” is not the movie I, or frankly anyone, expected. Personally, I’m surprised and happy with the direction taken, trying something new and fresh for the series, it works as a standalone film, instead of the throwaway fan service that most of the same episodes have fallen into.

David Gordon Green and his team have created an excellent trilogy that does not change and what fans of “Halloween” have been hungry for years, true art and care. “The End of Halloween” challenges its audience but also, strangely, shows the relevance of its fans and the culture of fans in general, in my opinion, it should happen again and again if we want anything to change about the state of filmmaking today.

Rating: 8/10

Staff reporter Zaden Dennis can be reached [email protected] and you can find more of his reviews at letterboxd.com/Zadenator.

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