It’s almost that time of the year again when trick-or-treating, carved pumpkins and fancy costumes are the order of the night.
Of course, cinema houses everywhere ensure that there’s plenty of scares to be found on the big screen, too. Like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween is a franchise that horror buffs are au fait with. And it makes a gory return - with the storyline picking up 40 years on from where the first movie ended.
Born from close on 80 drafts, Halloween sees Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode, the sole survivor of Michael Myers (most of the scenes were shot with stunt double James Jude Courtney) 1978 killing spree.
The opening scene is of two intrepid investigative journalists visiting the notorious serial killer at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium ahead of his transfer to a maximum security prison.
Standing a few feet away from a physically restraint Michael, any attempts to get him to talk or even display some sort of acknowledgement of their presence were futile - even after dangling the mask, which, ironically enough, gets more of a rise from the other patients.
Meanwhile, Laurie has turned into a mistrustful recluse who drops her guard when she’s around her granddaughter, Allyson Strode (Andi Matichak). Her relationship with her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) remains strained as she refuses to get professional help to deal with her trauma.
Of the belief that Michael will return to finish her off, she has turned her home into a maze of traps awaiting the face-off. And that day has come.
Michael escapes during the transfer to prison. True to his grim killer roots, he leaves a bloody trail of gruesome deaths in his wake as Halloween preparations get underway.
Thanks to an obsessed psychologist Dr Sartain helping him avoid capture, he continues with his mission to kill the one that got away. This time, Laurie is ready for Michael.
His killing spree includes the two journalists that met with him, a few doting mums, a babysitter and her boyfriend as well as a horny teenager. In addition to them, he takes out all the law enforcement officers on the case as well as Laurie’s son-in-law.
Lee Curtis, with her untamed mane, looks fierce as a gun-toting granny channelling her inner Terminator and darting around town trying to track down Michael. Her character’s fear and paranoia is wonderfully offset by her anger and yearning for vengeance.
The script offers a minefield of suspenseful moments as well as comic levity. Yes, most of the murders are senseless - but this is the work of serial killer, who gets off on slicing his victims and bashing their heads into oblivion.
Director Gordon Green cleverly exploits the twilight scenes by creating an eerie and unsettling mood. Aside from the time gap, the horror blueprint held little appeal and even fewer surprises for a horror buff like myself.
Eleven movies on, this franchise is far from over if that ending is anything to go by. Michael’s “successor” has been unmasked...