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Halloween H20 [VHS]
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Laurie Strode, now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, must battle the Shape one last time and now the life of her own son hangs in the balance.
Halloween is one of the great modern horror films, but as a franchise its track record has been spotty at best, painfully bad at worst. Halloween H2O: Twenty Years Later, directed by horror vet Steve Miner (Friday the 13th parts 2 and 3, House), won't displace John Carpenter's original but it might help you forget the films in between. Miner certainly has: the film begins as if sequels 3 through 6 never happened. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, reprising her role for the first time in almost two decades) faked her death and is now a single mom and headmistress of an exclusive California private school. She's also a secret alcoholic who lives in fear of her homicidal brother-bogeyman Michael Myers. Guess who decides to show up for a family reunion? The film begins with classic horror-movie exposition (the deserted college campus, Michael's escape, Laurie's waking nightmares) accomplished with some humor and style, but it's all setup for the second half, a driving roller coaster of stalk-and-slash thrills. There's little of the self-conscious genre referencing of Scream and at times the film is a little far-fetched--it is a slasher movie about a knife-wielding homicidal maniac who won't stay dead, after all--but Curtis transforms Laurie from a shrieking victim into an empowered, determined horror-movie heroine who's learned a thing or two from the previous films. Adam Arkin, Josh Hartnett, and TV cutie Michelle Williams (Dawson's Creek) costar, and the script received uncredited polish from Scream writer Kevin Williamson; Curtis's mom, Janet Leigh, pops up in a cameo. --Sean Axmaker
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Apparently, Jamie Lee Curtis had the idea to do a 20th Anniversary Halloween film because she wanted resolution for her character, original "Halloween" heroine Laurie Strode. That is an inspired idea. "H20" sensibly ignores/disregards the events of "Halloween IV, V, and VI" (Great-- because I never bothered with those sequels, anyway). "H20" brings everything back full-circle by bringing everything back to Laurie. The original working title of this film was "Halloween 7: The Revenge Of Laurie Strode." Laurie may have survived the original murder massacre of her "brother" Michael Myers (which comprise the original "Halloween" and "Halloween II"), but she is, in many ways, a psychological and physical mess. In order to escape the terror of Michael Myers, Laurie faked her own death. Living under the new name of Keri Tate, she had a son named John (Josh Hartnett) and became a teacher at the exclusive and private Hillcrest Academy in California. She is also a "functional alcoholic", using several medications to help with her re-occurring nightmares of Michael Myers. As a mother, she is overprotective and paranoid, and John is growing tired of acting as his "mother's keeper." To be whole and free again, Laurie must battle Michael Myers on Halloween, 1998-- exactly 20 years after the original nightmare began.
"H20" functions successfully as a homage to other films; most specifically the original "Halloween" and Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1960), the classic horror film that inspired IT. A classmate tells John that if he remains so attached to his mother, he will end up running a deserted hotel off some deserted highway-- a direct reference to "Psycho." Janet Leigh, mother of Jamie Lee Curtis and star of "Psycho", has a small role as Laurie's secretary. We even see Leigh with the original car she famously drove in "Psycho." Recalling the original "Halloween", it is especially nice to see Nancy Stephens briefly reprise her role as nurse Marion Chambers from "Halloween" and "Halloween II." It is mentioned that Chambers was the devoted assistant and care-taker to Dr. Sam Loomis ( the late Donald Plesence) who pursued Michael Myers throughout "Halloween I, II, IV, V, and VI." Chambers' discovery that Michael Myers has broken into her home and stolen the private file on Laurie Strode sets the plot of "H20" in motion. When John's girlfriend Molly (Michelle Williams) asks why his family does not celebrate Halloween, he casually answers, "We have a serial killer in our family who kills people on Halloween." Of course, Michael Myers does show up at Hillcreast Academy for some 20th Anniversary murders. But, like the original "Halloween", the emphasis in "H20" is on suspense instead of graphic murders, so the body count is surprisingly low.
The climax/resolution between Laurie and Michael Myers is enormously satisfying; both dramatically and psychologically. It is an almost perfect "end" to the "Halloween Saga"; meaning that THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN "THE END." But somebody came up with "Halloween: Resurrection", which negates everything in "H20". But, as "H20" ignores/disregards "Halloween IV, V, and V", simply ignore the "Resurrection" and let "H20" be the perfect end to the Halloween series.
The Dimension Collector's Series DVD features a Behind The Scenes Featurette, a "Halloween Trivia Game", and a Music Video.
This movie pretends like none of the other sequels existed, and brings back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. It is revealed she faked her death after Halloween II and has been living in hiding ever since. She is the Head Mistress at a private school and has a 17 year old son. Michael discovers her location by tracking down the nurse from Halloween I and II (in a cameo role that likely would have gone to Donald Pleasence had he not passed away), and tries to finish the job he started 20 years ago.
The things I like about the movie is that they made the character of Laurie a strong heroine figure. She never bought that he was dead. While she did still drop the knife a couple times she did end up picking up an axe. The entire set up to their coming face to face (in a great scene) was her realizing she would have to confront him and not just run away. The movie also paid nice homage to the late Donald Pleasence in the beginning even having a voice over from the original movie. You really can look at this movie as creating a Halloween Trilogy. While I did not dislike Halloween IV and V, and would had been fine if they incorporated some of that story in as well, Halloween VI and VIII are better left ignored. If you are a fan of the original movie this one is a must have.
Short and to the point, having the novelty of Laurie Strode return is almost enough to elevate this above the subsequent movies that were abruptly made null and void with this entry. Almost.
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So this movie is a plus for me.
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