Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) - Weasello Rating: {>>>>} (Ahhh!) {{ Prequel | Sequel }}
Please note that this review is laden with spoilers.

Finally, a Halloween movie worthy of calling a sequel. Unfortunately, the DVDs I rented of the previous Halloween movies were scratched up and I have no references to them at this time. Lucky for me, the script completely ignores movies 3 through 6! (This movie is officially #7)

Body count: A suprisingly low 6! And furtherly suprising, only 2 of those 6 are female. One additional male would raise the tally to 7 but he thankfully only had a bullet graze him. *sighs* This is, however, one of the few Halloween movies where nobody has killed themselves. Michael even wandered around in the daylight and didn't kill people. It was quite odd. So many beautiful opportunities... Gone forever!

Michael Injury Tally: Michael sustained quite a few injuries in this movie! Perhaps the iron-fire-poker to his neck dulled his senses. Or maybe the 3 punches to the face threw him off, after the fire poker to the chest. Or that time he had his legged flipped up from under him and he went crashing down to the ground. It's amazing how much abuse this one guy can take, especially after being officially declared "dead" in several movies. As he walks through a wooden door (one of his favorite activities), he is whacked in the back of the head with a large fire extinguisher, gets an axe to the shoulder, impaled on a flag pole, a knee to the groin (as if that would affect him more than the other injuries... way to go!) 7 stabs with a big kitchen knife to the chest, and he reels backwards, falls off of a balcony, and lands on his back on a dining table (which procedes to break apart around him). This last sequence of events was almost duplicated at the end of Halloween and the begining of Halloween 2.

Incidentally, at this time, Michael is declared dead.

Then, he goes flying through a car window and rolls along the ground several times. As he sits up, the car smacks him good and hard and swerves off road. The vehicle goes tumbling down the cliff... Michael is then squashed between the high-speed rolling-sideways vehicle and a very solid log. The vehicle proceeds to catch fire, but it (super-suprisingly) didn't explode nor did Michael catch on fire. Instead, Our Hero decapitates Michael with an axe. How will he recover from this one? I'm not sure, but the next movie in the series is dubbed Resurrection.

Scream Count: As horror movies get more and more modern, the screams - and usually the suspense - increase. I find this is mainly because people are uneccesarily scared and "fasley scream" several hundred times before there is actually something to be afraid of (such as cats jumping out of closets, or branches blowing in the wind)... Wheras in older horror movies, people are killed before they can open their mouths. In any case, this movie had 16 screams, evenly divided into 8 male and 8 female.

Porn Count: Though modern and littered with many a bopping teenager, there was no softcore porn at all. Not a bit. Even less than Halloween III.

Outline: Jamie Lee Curtis, the original female lead of the original Halloween movie, looked at her calendar and said "pretty soon it will be my 20th anniversary for acting... And Halloween started it all!"... She then approached John Carpenter and begged him to make a new movie, sort of an anniversary thing. He declined. So she went to Steve Miner, and he agreed to do it. Carpenter stayed on the sidelines and sort of oversaw the whole thing.

Because this movie was all Curtis' idea, she had a lot of input. It was her idea that the tables should be turned on Michael in this movie, and that her character should "overcome her fear" and open a can of whoop-ass.

In any case, this movie was set to take place 20 years after Halloween II, the last movie that Laurie Strode (Curtis) was in. With some minor changes to the plot (see interesting notes), it was determined that Michael didn't just "hang around" the mental institution and decide to break out after tens of years, he actually waited for Laurie's 17th birthday to kill her. This had something to do with the fact that Michael's sister, whom he murdered years before Halloween 1, was 17. Well, 20 years later, Laurie's son is 17 years old... And it's time to kill again!

The movie largely takes place on a fenced-in private school campus, with many a horror-movie-condusive locked doors and iron gates.

My Opinion: This movie is the first in the Halloween series to be professionally done. It is comparable in quality to Scream or I know what you did last summer, other movies that appeared around the same time - the film quality, camera work, and suspense was all very nicely done. The only drawback to this movie was the fact that it was so short (80 minutes) and that Michael took a huge amount of damage, making the sequels even more unlikely (and making Michael look somewhat less dangerous). Definately a movie to see if you like the new-fangled horror movies.

Special features on the DVD included a neat interview with a few notables, mainly starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Wes Craven (suprisingly, as he is often considered competition for John Carpenter). There is also a little 10 question trivia game you can play. Fun!

Interesting Notes:
  • Jamie Lee Curtis is, of course, the main character that was revived from the original Halloween movies - but other notables include Nancy Stephens, who played a nurse in Halloween II and plays the same character in this movie. Secondly, Janet Leigh (J. L. Curtis' mother) who appears in this movie also starred in Psycho, which was ultimately John Carpenter's inspiration for the Halloween series.
  • As a further homage to Psycho, Janet Leigh stands in front of an old chevy - the same car used in Psycho, and the same camera shot... And even the music was lifted from psycho. It was an exact psycho-like scene.
  • To forward the "17 year old killing" plot, some figures were changed for the script. In Halloween II, it was established that Michael's sister was 16 when she died.
  • In one scene, there is a wall-map with pins for each of Michael's killings. There are also pins in an area of California where Halloween III took place - but Michael never appeared in that movie.
  • Michael's Mask was originally a costume-shop's mask of William Shatner. It was obviously heavily altered, but isn't it scary that the face of evil is Captain Kirk?
  • Though I cannot yet confirm the numbers as I have not watched every movie in the series, the trivia game on this DVD says that Michael has killed 71 people. This may be, but I doubt it. In Halloween he killed 3 people, and in Halloween II he killed 7. In III he didn't appear, and in H20 he killed 6. This means over movies 4, 5, and 6 he killed an average of 19 people... WAY above average, even for Freddy or Jason (the biggest mass-murdering horror movie star to date).
  • From IMDB: "The original soundtrack was written by John Ottman. It was cut from the film and replaced with music written by Marco Beltrami for the movies Scream (1996) and Mimic (1997)."
Lead roles: Directed by: Steve Miner

Writing credits: Debra Hill (I) (Characters) & John Carpenter (Characters) & Robert Zappia (Screenplay and Story)

Tagline: This summer, terror won't be taking a vacation.
Sources: The oh-so-wonderful IMDB, my head, and the box.

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