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New ‘Halloween’ installment finds ways to remain relevant

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The "Halloween" franchise logo. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The "Halloween" franchise logo. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Julian Koonce, Staff Reporter

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Going into the new “Halloween” installment, many moviegoers were worried that the new film in the storied horror movie franchise would detach itself from the source material and turn into the typical jumpscare-ridden slasher movie it helped define in 1978.

Thankfully, director David Gordon Green and consultants Danny McBride and John Carpenter knew what worked for the first movie and were able to execute that magic once again in the 2018 film “Halloween” while also adding in a dose of their own flavor to the new film.

Part of that new spin on the franchise: cultural relevance.

While succeeding at telling an entertaining story, “Halloween” also manages to bring important issues to the forefront. Without flat-out saying it or shoving it in your face, Green introduces you to the fact that the main character Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis who reprises her role from the original “Halloween” film) has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

After watching the original “Halloween,” viewers probably weren’t thinking about how an experience like Strode’s could shape the rest of a person’s life. But it is a traumatic experience, and it becomes prevalent throughout the film. Strode has become somewhat of a shut-in, as she lives alone in a house that she’s made into fortress. She has let her past experience define her.

On top of that, she’s also purchased a staggering number of firearms in preparation for a possible Myers return. It’s raised some controversy about Second Amendment rights and mental health, which have been important topics of discussion in our nation for the past several years.

Chronologically, this fall’s “Halloween” stands as a true sequel to the original cult classic 1978 horror film. It stars Judy Greer, Nick Castle and Curtis, who reprised her role as Strode for the first time since 1998.

Halloween managed to pull off what all of its seven other sequels failed at: Instilling that same fear of the Boogeyman myth into the minds of the viewer. Accompanied by an eerie Carpenter score, the film also serves as a psychological horror movie.

For example, a scene from the trailer shows “The Shape” — the term former director Carpenter uses to refer to the main villain Michael Myers — hiding in the closet of a child’s room. It’s a jarring display of a basic fear in the mind of children being “The Boogeyman” in the closet.

The film is a love letter to fans of the “Halloween” franchise and die-hards can pick up on easter eggs and callbacks that reference the original movie or the (now non-existent) sequels.

In the end, “Halloween” succeeded at what it set out to do, and that was to make an entertaining and faithful adaptation of a franchise that many thought was dead.

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Julian Koonce, Staff Reporter

Julian Koonce is a staff reporter with the Guardian.

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New ‘Halloween’ installment finds ways to remain relevant