Oct 27, 2019
NARRATOR: “Welcome back to Reign of Terror 2019! 31 straight days of horror movie reviews and interviews. Today’s episode will be a classic horror movie review from our... let’s call him a hero, Joseph for the 2018 reboot, ‘Halloween’.”
NARRATOR: “Before the review, however, we’ll be running a promo for Sponsor Sundays. If you like what you’re hearing, and want to support future projects, head over to patreon.com/onemoviepunch to support the podcast. All sponsors get to force Joseph to review a movie of their choice, with just a few exceptions. You’ll also find exclusive content, including part two of an interview with Johnny Daggers, about 2016’s ‘Blood on the Reel’, and many related topics.”
NARRATOR: “The interview will be publicly available for a limited time. At least until Joseph makes it back home. If he makes it home. Will he? Let’s turn out attention back to the fate of our host, in Part One of “THE FINAL STRETCH”.”
SCENE: Prison transport bus.
NARRATOR: *bothered, as if speaking to someone else* “The Final Stretch? That’s not what’s supposed to be next, I thought...”
NARRATOR: *suddenly turning attention to microphone / back in character* “When we last left Joseph, he had once again narrowly escaped an attack by Frankenstein’s Monster, with the help of Keith Lyons and the aid of what anyone would clearly consider cheating. Sure, perhaps the person narrating this story is losing some control over the characters, but control doesn’t really matter if Joseph keeps climbing on buses without considering the consequences.”
JOSEPH: “Oh great. A prisoner transport bus. At least I’m on this side of the cage. That one guy back there is HUGE! And... what’s this?”
NARRATOR: “Joseph saw... well, Joseph, dressed in a prison guard’s uniform, introducing himself while keeping an eye on the prisoners in back.”
JOSEPH: “Hello there. I’m Joseph, assigned detail for this bus. How can I help you?”
NARRATOR: “The other Joseph suddenly froze, expecting an answer, and before the real Joseph’s eyes, and conveniently right below his doppleganger’s face, appeared a number of options to select from.”
JOSEPH: “Interesting. Let’s try, ‘Find out more about the prisoners.’”
NARRATOR: “Prison guard Joseph began to animate again.”
JOSEPH: “You’re lucky we picked you up out here. We’re doing a prisoner transport, and there’s not much traffic out here. We should be at our destination in just a moment. Oh look! The sun’s coming out!”
NARRATOR: “Indeed, the sun was coming out, which not only brought fresh light, but also revealed a world of color around both Josephs. It was stunning, but when the real Joseph turned back to the other Joseph, his doppleganger was back to frozen, with other options available.”
JOSEPH: “Not much of a conversationalist. Okay, let’s try, ‘Who’s the big guy in the cage?’”
JOSEPH: “Yeah, that’s a mean one. Michael Myers. Yes, thee Michael Myers. Not the fake one from the movies, but the real deal. It would sure be awful if he were to escape."
NARRATOR: “Joseph looked back at the big prisoner, whose face somehow remained in the shadow, no matter how he looked. And yet, he could feel the prisoner’s eyes judging and weighing him carefully, exploring his many, many weak points. Joseph shivered in fear.”
JOSEPH: “They did a great job with this. I wonder if...”
NARRATOR: “He reached into the pocket of his jeans, which had replaced his desert fatigues, and pulled out the dumb phone. He was hoping for more options, but alas, there was nothing new...”
JOSEPH: “Huh. That’s new?”
JOSEPH: “Unmute narration.”
NARRATOR: “But Joseph wasn’t able to update that setting.”
NARRATOR: *attempts to disguise voice* “No, no. Ummm, pay no attention to the omnipresent voice.”
JOSEPH: “Shane? What the hell is going on?”
NARRATOR: “But the narrator was silent...”
JOSEPH: “I heard that, too.”
NARRATOR: “Well, you see, I’m... uhhh... trying to help you. You know, like the others.”
JOSEPH: “Oh, good!”
NARRATOR: “What other settings do you now have?”
JOSEPH: “Let’s see. Tutorials. That would have helped earlier. Lore cards for the various horror monsters. How to fight. Again, would have been helpful. Here’s one that says fast forward.”
NARRATOR: “Oh, I would definitely do that one.”
JOSEPH: “I don’t know. This movie didn’t end up well from this point.”
NARRATOR: “Everything will be fine. Trust me.”
JOSEPH: “I don’t think I can outrun Michael Myers, Shane.”
NARRATOR: “It doesn’t actually fast forward the scenario. It’ll just skip you to the next level. It’s just how we hacked things.”
JOSEPH: “Oh. Well, in that case.”
NARRATOR: “Joseph pressed the button, and the scenario fast forwarded, thrusting the bus forward at unreasonable speeds straight into a tree.”
NARRATOR: “And there, laying on the ground, was Joseph’s body, thrown from the bus in the crash, limp, bleeding out, really to succumb to the darkness. He had tried so hard to survive, but he couldn’t, and now... One Movie Punch was finished. It would be the last podcast to not include Shane in a multi-episode crossover. He had finally gotten his revenge.”
JOSEPH: “They really make these NPCs look realistic.”
JOSEPH: “Yeah, there’s this other feature I just found, too, called shielding, that allowed me to survive the crash. I’m also getting messages now from the other team members. If I can just survive until Halloween, not only will that nicely round out this month of podcasts, but I’ve been told they can not only save me, but defeat you.”
JOSEPH: “Feel that power draining away? We’re looking for wherever you are, and when we find you...”
NARRATOR: “But the narrator... the guy in control...”
JOSEPH: “Time to use these boosts. Map function shows my next quest point up ahead, with two players waiting. Time to run. We’re coming for you, Shane.”
NARRATOR: “He disabled narration for everyone, because he wasn’t going to stopped by the likes of Joseph, or his friends. And he wasn’t going to accidentally help him anymore. In fact, I’m going to stop asking if Joseph survives and will simply ask, will Joseph die tomorrow? Find out in Episode Two of “THE FINAL STRETCH”, when we’re joined by Brandi and Sunni of the Book of Lies Podcast. Now, where have I heard those two names before?”
<< SPONSOR SUNDAYS PROMO >>
Today’s movie is “Halloween” (2018), the Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures revival of the Halloween franchise, directed by David Gordon Green, and written for the screen in collaboration with Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley, based on the iconic characters created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Forty years after the original killing spree, a prison bus transporting Michael Myers (Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney) overturns, releasing him from the psychiatric prison he’s been trapped within for decades. Now Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), having prepared for this moment her entire life, tries to protect her estranged daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), as Myers restarts the killings.
The original “Halloween” is often cited as the birth of the Golden Age of the slasher film. Although it wasn’t the first, and came four years after “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (Episode #035), it was easily the most popular, and by the time I was old enough to rent R-rated films (with written permission), there were racks on racks on racks of slasher films, launched primarily by the popularity of this one film. It has been years since binging on entire franchises in one caffeine-soaked evening with friends, laughing hysterically at the campier kills, and jumping at each background movement. So much comes back to the original “Halloween”, and much like the copycats and homages that followed, the franchise itself turned into its own self-hating movie machine, with multiple reboot attempts, even with Jamie Lee Curtis, and impossible to retcon. How can this possibly be different? And after seeing it, how can it possibly be this good?
You can tell that everyone involved with this production took a lot of care with doing it right, especially with the mixed results since the original. We’ve all seen plenty of reboots go wrong in our time, and one of the mistakes is generally not paying attention to the elements that made the original a hit. For the original “Halloween”, that’s Jamie Lee Curtis, that’s the first-person camera work, that’s Carpenter’s iconic score, and that’s the brutal realism of a murdering psychopath. Bringing those elements into the modern day also requires reexamining a lot of contemporary racism and sexism that existed in films at the time, especially in developing Laurie Strode after forty years of trauma, and two generations of family that have followed, each looking at Laurie’s trauma through a very different lens, and each only able to process from their own unique perspective, one that can never know the sheer terror that Laurie felt. It’s never explicitly said, just as many of Michael’s kills are never explicitly shown, and that “just enough” storytelling lets our imaginations do the walking.
Two more items in this love fest. First, Judy Greer absolutely nails a scene towards the end, during the final confrontations with Michael, one I don’t want to spoil for the two or three people who haven’t seen it yet. Second, thank goodness they brought back John Carpenter to advise on everything, but most especially the music. Combine that with all the classic camera angles and the awesome art direction in the title sequences and transitions, and you have a successful whatever you want to call it. And for those who wonder about more entries in the franchise, let me just say that while they might be monetarily successful, they may also be another string of flawed attempts to recapture what was done here. I’m willing to be proven wrong, but I suspect this is the last best attempt to close out the franchise, and maybe try something brand new with those that survive. Let’s evolve, and not repeat.
“Halloween” (2018) is the follow-up story that we deserved to the iconic John Carpenter classic, a film that respects the best of the source material and evolves all of the elements for the modern day. It is an unexpected grace note to what has been a lackluster franchise, reminding us of the haunting realism of the original film. Horror fans have probably already seen this film, but even non-horror fans who want a small taste of the golden age of slasher films should definitely see this film in the theaters, preferably with a sizeable audience. My spouse is proof that you don’t need to have seen the original, or even like horror films, to enjoy this one.
Also, note to self. Show spouse original “Halloween”, right after tomorrow’s review.