Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)
Plot: Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role that kick started her career in 1978. Terrorized by the memory of her brother, she faked her death, changed her name, has become a functioning alcoholic pill popper, and is the headmistress at a private school out in sunny California. But with Halloween right around the corner Laurie is feeling edgy especially now that she has a 17 year old son to protect.
My Review: I first saw this movie when it originally came out to the theater. I was running “Amazing Kat’s Halloween” website (which is now reopened and called Haddonfield: The Home of Michael Myers) and I had been keeping all up to date on what was going on in the movie before I even went into the theater to see it. After all, I had to report on every last detail for the website. I remember by the end of seeing the film I was so disappointed in what was supposed to be an amazing “reunion” sort of film. I also clearly remember saying to my friend and sisters that the ending would be dismissed to make room for a sequel, and just how they’d go about doing it…years later they did just that. Anyhow, I’m jumping ahead of myself here…
The film starts of with Marion, the nurse from Halloween (1978), and Halloween II (1981). She comes home to find her house has been broken into and waits for the police to arrive with her teenage neighbor. We discover of course that Michael Myers is back, he’s hunted through all the files in Marion’s house – files that once belonged to Dr. Samuel Loomis. Myers found a file on Laurie Strode…she’s still alive and kicking out in California at a nice secluded private school. He hacks up Marion and the neighbor kids and takes off to go find Laurie Strode…now known as Keri Tate.
There are definitely some great one liners and comedy mixed in the beginning with Jimmy and Marion, actually in the whole movie. Can’t forget the opening scene with all the cool newspaper clippings. The voice over as the credits begin not being Donald Pleasence was a stupid move. No reason it couldn’t have been his voice…
However, you’ll begin to notice a theme here, nothing is ever mentioned about Jamie Lloyd, Laurie’s daughter from Halloween 4,5,6. That’s because the creators (and Jamie Lee Curtis) felt that those movies should be forgotten about because they weren’t good and they couldn’t fit them in to even begin to explain. At the time this movie came out you only knew this if you browsed around horror/Halloween sites. And hey, it was 1998, the internet was popular, but nowhere near how it is now. Heck, computers were $1000+ back then for like 2GB of space. Most families couldn‘t afford them. So people went into the theater and were like “what the heck, what about Jamie, and Thorn, and blah blah” it was a HUGE slap in the face to a LOT of fans. And quite frankly, I lost all faith in the series after this came out. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the Thorn storyline, I loved little Jamie Lloyd, and I don’t think, in my head, she can ever be forgotten or thrown away. So to me, even though nothing is actually mentioned about Jamie, she still exists for me in this film. And if you pay close attention on the wall during the credits there is a shot of bloody scissors and it says puncture wound to the aorta. Could this be Rachel from Halloween 5’s death, or Jamie attacking her foster mother at the end of Halloween 4? Who knows, but definitely seems like it could be..which means there was once hope to connecting them!
We are introduced to Laurie by her having a nightmare pertaining to the closet scene in the original film and her son. She wakes up screaming. I still, to this day, think this is by far one of the worse screams I’ve ever heard in a movie, and that’s kinda sad considering Jamie Lee Curtis is supposed to be a “Scream Queen”. The movie rolls on, we see that she takes a lot of pills for her issues stemming back from the Halloween incident. She’s very overprotective and eventually tries to let loose by giving her son, John, permission to go camping without her on Halloween for a school fieldtrip. Of course he doesn’t go, he stays behind with a group of friends without her knowing until its too late and everyone is already being stalked and killed by Michael.
One of the exciting bits to this movie was going to be that moment when Laurie and Michael came face to face again after all these years and actually fought one another. But it was ruined by the crappy mask used. Actually, if you get a hold of old trailers to this movie, there are a few different versions of this scene in them using totally different masks….Anyhow, the moment comes, and it feels like their whole fight takes place over the course of 10 minutes and then its over and done with. Lots of build up for an “easy” and quick ending…and lets not forget the “second” ending. Kinda obvious how they’d bring Michael back in the sequel.
The only things I’d change about the movie is I’d make the fight between Laurie and Michael last longer, add the original score back into the movie, not this orchestra stuff, plop a little blurb about Jamie in it (like originally was supposed to be done in the scene where they are talking about Frankenstein – Molly or someone was supposed to give a report on the Halloween murders and I *think* Jamie Lloyd was supposed to be mentioned) and last but not least, fix the terrible masks used…really, a much better showdown then Freddy Vs. Jason ended up being…don’t even get me started on that one folks…but still needed some fixings!
Gore/FX: Definitely a little more gory then the original back in 1978, but not terribly gory. The main problem with the “effects” in this film is the horrible use of like 10 different masks. One of them even CGI. They should have stuck with the mask in the opening scene, it looks great!
Sexual Content: No sex in this one. No nudity either.
Acting: This came out around the time that it was popular for teen TV stars to get roles in Horror films and I remember a lot of people being outraged that “WB Network” stars were in the film. Its “normal” these days but back then it was the new trend. The acting isn’t that bad, and it was nice for Jamie Lee to come back. It’s a shame her opening scene was acted poorly, but the rest of the film is decent.
Overall: Quiet honestly…I HATED this movie when it first came out. But now that I’m older, its really grown on me. I look past some of the cruddy acting, and the fact they ignored the previous films from the series and am able to just enjoy it for what it is. I prefer to watch it over Halloween 6, Resurrection, and definitely over Rob Zombie’s train wrecks.
View The Trailer