Why the “Halloween trilogy” is one of my guilty pleasures

I’m not ready for Halloween to be over.

It’s not that I dislike Thanksgiving or Christmas… I just love the feel of the Halloween season. It’s not the candy, the costumes, or the foliage… It’s all of the above, and more. I was born in late September, so fall was always a time I got excited about – my birthday is on the first day of fall, and so I enjoy a month that starts with my birthday and ends with Halloween! Plus, when you combine my love for scary movies and my (previously) bad eating habits… SOLD.

This past-pre Halloween week I spent a day before watching what I call the “Halloween trilogy”… John Carpenter’s original Halloween, Halloween II and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers. While I also love Halloween H20 (and rewatched that film a day later), these three films tell a great, compelling story on its own… And if you know how Halloween 4 ends, you know that the story comes full circle.

Here’s the reasons I love these films:

The original is a classic. This is the “No duh” statement of this piece, but you look at how well constructed and produced the film is you have to marvel a bit. John Carpenter had a budget of about (maybe) $12.50, and he made a fantastic work that was duplicated/homaged/ripped off by almost everyone in Hollywood.

Illinois never looked…. Err, “better.” It is so obvious that they are shooting these movies in southern California… but that is part of the charm. And knowing that they had to ship in dead leaves to throw on the streets (and then sweep them up to reuse in the next scene) makes watching the street scenes even more enjoyable.

“Hey, speed kills!” “Totally!” “You don’t know what death is!” The dialogue in the first two films is… well, not really that good. But that’s OK! It just adds to the charm of both films.

P.J. Soles’… “assets”. Enough said.

Nancy Loomis’ return in Halloween II. Her character was killed in the first film, and she returns in the scond film… as a corpse. Only one scene, but as she played the Sherriff’s daughter Annie, it was a necessary and effective moment. I wonder how much she got paid.

Poor Ben Trammer. First Laurie has the hots for him in the first film, then he’s run down by a police car and killed in Halloween II. Poor kid can’t catch a break (and I can only imagine the scene after the end of the second film when Laurie is told what happened – “umm, you know that one guy you like…”)

The horrible Laurie wig in Halloween II. Obviously, over a year passed between the making of the first and the second film, and Jamie Lee Curtis had a completely different hair style… so they put a wig on her that looks completely fake. Especially when you see the

The reveal of Laurie and Michael’s relationship. I know a lot of fans hate the “reveal” of why Michael is trying to kill Laurie in the second film, but I love it. Especially because I first saw Halloween II on TV, in the extended “TV cut” that added extra scenes to explain things through flashbacks. That cut also had Lance Guest’s character surviving, which was lame…

The ludicrousness of Michael Meyers surviving. Michael was shot multiple times, twice IN THE EYES, and then he was blown up. The last shot of the film is Michael’s face AND (William Shatner) mask MELTING. And yet, they brought back both Michael AND Loomis for Halloween IV. Of course, they HAD to bring Michael back… Just like they had to bring back…

Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis. The Holmes to the Shape’s Moriarty, Donald Pleasence is SOOOO good in these films. He overacts in the first one, REALLY overacts in the second one, and loses his s*** in Halloween IV. And his reaction/screams at the end of the fourth film is chilling. Which brings me to…

The “bookend” endings. Halloween ends with one of the best moments of exiustential dread ever put on the screen. It’s not Michael that disappears, it is The Shape. Michael is death, personified, and death can never be defeated. Death will always be there. And when you look at Michael as the personification of both death and madness, then the ending for Halloween IV is Just. Perfect. I won’t spoil it for you, you just need to see it if you haven’t.

Maybe for Halloween…

Joseph Dickerson is a user experience professional and UX Lead for Microsoft based out of Atlanta, GA. He has implemented processes in user testing, design and ethnographic research and provided design and consulting services for many different projects and organizations.

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