October 1, 2015

8 things they need to get right for ‘Halloween Returns’

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Written by: Lee Skavydis
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Halloween is finally approaching this month, and what better way to celebrate than to kick off October 2015 with a discussion about the latest developments and general going on’s with the upcoming Halloween film, slated for a release some time next year.

An announcement was made a couple of months ago that fans should expect a return for the Halloween franchise. Described initially as a “recalibration,” further details were released last month. Expectations were rife that it could be expected for Michael Myers to return in 3D but the latest information has seemingly put that to rest. Or, at least the plot will be at the forefront of the minds of the filmmakers rather than the special effects!

Saw series writers, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton used the word “entity” when describing the title of the film. Could this mean that Myers will be returning in the form of a ghost or some kind of evil spirit? It was further told that the masked killer would be on death row and that his execution would take place. Michael would find an opportunity to escape during this moment and wreak havoc. If the latter is true then Michael Myers would indeed still be in “human” form. But we have been caught out before. (Looking at you, Rob Zombie!)

Although the brief plot sypnosis sounds interesting, just what is needed to create a good Halloween movie? Read on!

Suspense – it was promised that the new Halloween movie would focus primarily on this and that John Carpenter’s original classic would be the “blueprint” for the tone. But despite the best intentions of the directors of previous installments, they could not quite nail it! Effective use of a score, together with slow panning camera techniques would be a good start. The only concern is that what was considered scary in 1978 is no doubt far different to what would scare an audience today….

Michael Myers – yes, the very thing that represents the central evil in the movies. Efforts to make Michael scary by extending his size only became futile. Myers is not scary when he is a bigger guy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. John Carpenter could have chosen a bigger actor for the original movie but went with an average sized person. Size does not always matter! In fact, it’s more frightening when “true evil” is in the form of any common person you would come into contact with in your day to day life. You don’t exactly run into Hulk Hogan every 24 hours.

Score – The last Halloween movie, a sequel to the remake, titled Halloween II, cannot be recalled for having a score. Even the renowned Halloween theme was missing! Other previous entries contained it and a complete score, but all were not used most effectively. It is important to get this right. Music does indeed have its own way of telling the story!

Characters – Going¬† back to Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, this time to the Director’s Cut, the heroine was so annoying that it almost made the film unbearable to watch! Yet, the Directors Cut is considered to be the superior of the two versions. In Halloween 5, the character of Tina is thought to be one of the most annoying of the entries. Case in point, don’t develop characters that will irritate unless you plan to give them a grisly death as pay off. And that did not happen with neither characters.

Dr. Loomis – It’s nobody’s fault that Donald Pleasence passed away back in 1995. But he was the glue that kept the series together when he was around. Ever since his passing, there has been a noticeable decline in quality with every film made since. Even the critically acclaimed Halloween: H20 was sorely lacking Loomis’ presence. It is not known if the obsessed doctor will make his own comeback but it would be wise to make his spirit felt even if it is not planned to have him physically return. H20 did give the character a nod at the beginning of the movie but it was not enough to sustain any kind of occupancy within.

Scenery/atmosphere –¬† Halloween: H20, Halloween: Resurrection, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II and even Halloween 5 to a degree did not create enough visually for it to feel like the nerve wracking holiday was taking place. That sounds bizarre considering the original movie, made only on a budget of around $300,000, could pull off this master stroke. If you are going to make a Halloween movie then at least make the audience feel as if they are spending a couple of hours watching characters being busy during such a vacation. Otherwise the believability is severely diminished.

Kills/violence aspect – It is always fun when watching extremely gory sequences, especially for a teenage audience. But when you go over that “point” then it all feels something like a Friday 13th movie, especially when it comes to a Halloween picture. The villain in the Halloween films is not known for his excessively gruesome ways. Of course, there have been such installments that did go down this route. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and the remakes did. But all three of these have something in common. They are not all highly thought of. As previously mentioned, suspense should take precedence. But in this day and age of torture porn, who knows.

The mask – It is the little things that often count. And Michael Myers’ mask falls right into that statement. As with his walk and general demeanour, his mask is an important feature. A couple of previous movies did get the job done almost correctly. But none have gotten it spot on, save for 1981’s Halloween II, which just used the mask from the original film anyway. And then there were some that made God awful efforts! Would you believe that CGI was used to produce a mask in Halloween: H20 in a sequence? It’s true. And the result was horrendous! Halloween 5’s mask was also terrible. And fans pick up on these things. They consider the mask as one of the series’ signatures. So listen up, Marcus Dunstan!

About the Author

Lee Skavydis
Lee Skavydis
I am a die hard movie fan, owning over 500 movies on both DVD and Blu Ray. I try to go to the cinema at least once a week when time permits. My other hobbies include following fight sports such as boxing, travelling around, writing and editing, listening to heavy rock and cook the odd occasional recipe. I used to write for several prolific boxing websites, interviewing some of the most famous names associated with the sport around.


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