10 Reasons to Celebrate ‘Halloween: Resurrection’
One could make a good argument for Halloween: Resurrection as the worst film in the storied franchise.
Many arguments could be made, actually: It isn't very scary, makes one bizarre choice after another and is often borderline incoherent. Then again this was never high cinema. This franchise has nearly as many retcons as it does kills, and more fake deaths and abandoned mythologies as it does well-developed characters. If you remove the idea of watching something because it's "good," and substitute the idea of watching it because it's first ridiculous, then fun as hell and then even more ridiculous, it doesn't seem like such a terrible film after all.
There's a lot of joy to be found here.
So while the eighth outing in the Halloween franchise, which premiered in theaters on July 12, 2002, might be the most reviled, we still find reasons to celebrate it with 10 points below.
Watch the Trailer for 'Halloween: Resurrection'
1. The story is wonderfully bonkers.
It opens with series heroine Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) locked up in an asylum, in the same way that the infamous killer Michael Myers was at the beginning of John Carpenter's original 1978 movie. But the film then dispatches with Laurie and turns to a much more contemporary (for 2002) idea: Six college students have been recruited to star in a reality show on the internet (put on by a character played by Busta Rhymes, no less), in which they'll spend the night in Myers' old house. Of course, reality turns to terror, as the masked menace shows up and wreaks havoc on them one by one until he's defeated by the final girl Sara Moyer (Bianca Kajlich). Does any of it make sense? No! Are we given any reason why Myers has been living beneath his old house, waiting for these kids to come along? Of course not. But it's terrible, zany fun.
2. It kills off Laurie Strode, giving fans plenty of ammunition for debates.
Fans of the Halloween movies love to argue about when and where the franchise went in the wrong direction. By making the bizarre choice to feature Laurie for the first 15 minutes and then kill her off in what turns out to be a long pre-titles sequence, Resurrection serves as a vital milestone in this argument. Is the franchise really about her or Michael? And how seriously should we take all of the other retconning that has gone on over the years? It's not like this is the first time Laurie had disappeared – in other iterations of the story (namely, sequels 4, 5 and 6), we were told that she died sometime in the past, and in Rob Zombie's 2009 Halloween II (actually the 10th film in the franchise — yes, we know, it gets confusing), she was killed again. But in Halloween: Resurrection we see her die for the first time. Any fan who wants to step into the Halloween-argument octagon should probably have a grasp on this moment.
Watch Laurie Strode's Death in 'Halloween: Resurrection'
3. It marks the return of director Rick Rosenthal.
Franchise devotees, as well as trivia buffs, will remember that Rosenthal directed Halloween II – which many fans consider the second-best film in the franchise – in 1981. In his only other return to the series, he has enormous amounts of fun. Admirers of his earlier film will enjoy watching him re-stage the infamous blue-and-white color scheme from it at several points, particularly in the opening sequence. This is exactly the kind of callback that makes franchises like this worth following. And Rosenthal (a Harvard graduate) also gets a quick cameo as a college professor lecturing about Carl Jung.
4. It's full of cheeky references to other movies, both inside and outside of the franchise.
Another way Rosenthal entertains himself (and fans) in the film is by throwing in references to other movies. He reprises the famous closet scene from the first Halloween in a clever way and also makes several visual nods to Halloween III (which was, famously, the only one in the franchise not to feature Michael Myers). On top of this, he pulls in all kinds of material from films outside the world of Halloween. Two kids dress up as the hitmen from Pulp Fiction. Another character notes, in defense of his education, that he went to Cal State Long Beach just like Steven Spielberg, this coming immediately after Orson Welles gets name-dropped. And in one famous sequence, a character is watching the 1971 Shaw Brothers kung-fu flick The Duel on television. But the cheekiest reference in the film is a shot-for-shot re-staging of a sequence from the 1960 British proto-slasher horror classic Peeping Tom, in which Myers kills a kid with a camera tripod while filming. So it's not just a terrible horror film - it's a cinematic education.
5. The film retcons an entire town.
In the first film, and throughout the series, Michael Myers' hometown of Haddonfield, Ill., was a small, rather rural place. But suddenly in Resurrection, it's so large that it's home to Haddonfield University, replete with ivy-covered marble buildings. (The university sequences were filmed at the University of British Columbia, home to 66,000 students.) Depending on your view of this kind of stuff, the choice to just randomly rewrite the location of the franchise is either infuriating, ridiculous or entertaining. But like so much else in the movie, it's a great piece of trivia.
6. It gives true aficionados the chance to rate stuntman Brad Loree's performance as Myers.
Despite what you may think, there are subtle differences in the way that a total of 10 actors have portrayed Michael Myers over the years. Here, Loree gets his shot. He is not quite as tall or broad of the shoulder as some of the men in the famous mask, which makes him slightly less physically intimidating. He's also slightly more animated in his gestures than many of the others, which is a big point of debate among people who care about these things: Should "The Shape," as Myers is often known (a callback to the way he was referred to in the original script of the first film), be more human in his movements, or should he be more stoic, often to the point of being robotic? Loree leans to the former. And the final thing Loree nails is that he never turns his head as he walks, even when he goes around corners. This alone makes it a solid performance.
7. The film answers a fascinating question about Michael Myers.
In every franchise, there are little tidbits that are either exceedingly trivial or surprisingly vital, depending on how you look at it. In the Halloween series, one of the main questions is just what kind of supernatural powers Michael possesses. Resurrection gives us a tiny but fascinating clue to the answer: In one scene, the college kids find Michael's lair in the sewers beneath his house, and on a hot plate there is a half-eaten rat. So he's superhuman enough that he can come back to life again and again but not so superhuman that he doesn't have to eat food occasionally to keep his energy up. Good to know!
8. The film marks an important point in media history.
Through its strange combination of elements, Resurrection manages to become a surprisingly interesting document of its time. Its internet-reality premise plays on the immense popularity of contemporary shows like The Real World, reminding us of what things were like in the earliest days of internet fame before anyone had ever heard of the idea of an "influencer." At the same time, it shamelessly rips off elements of the found-footage horror genre that had been kicked off three years before with The Blair Witch Project. Because of this, watching it is like taking a time machine back to the moment when these ideas were fresh and new, rather than standard elements of our lives.
9. It plays shamelessly on the trope of Michael Myers being killed and coming back to life.
One of the most famous aspects of the franchise is that Myers is impossible to kill. This idea was established in the final sequence of the first film, when he gets shot several times in the chest and then falls off a porch, only to disappear a moment later. Virtually every subsequent movie uses this idea to one extent or another, but it reaches an apex in Resurrection (which is what gives the film its name). Not only does it explain how he somehow managed to survive being decapitated at the end of the previous film –Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, from 1998 – it also shows him resurrecting himself onscreen not once, not twice, but three times. Myers seems to die at two different points when characters manage to hang him but then he comes back to life. And at the very end of the movie, he's taken to the morgue in a body bag after he's been electrocuted, with the hapless coroner leaning over him just in time for his eye to pop open.
Watch Busta Rhymes Kill Michael Myers in 'Halloween: Resurrection'
10. Busta Rhymes!
The most famous reason this film will entertain you is the presence of Busta Rhymes. He plays Freddie Harris, the proprietor of Dangertainment, the company putting on the reality show at the center of the movie. Early on in the film, we learn that he's a fan of kung fu when we see him geeking out to a Shaw Brothers movie in his hotel room. And at the end, in one of the most glorious (and notorious) sequences in franchise history, Harris uses kung fu of his own to fight Myers. He first harangues Myers, thinking that he's someone else in disguise until Myers turns around and leaves; then, in another scene, he kicks Myers through a window; and in a third scene he uses more kung fu to stab Myers with the broken handle of a shovel, before saving the film's heroine and carrying her out of a burning building, while he wishes the "dying" Michael a "happy fucking Halloween!" Is it ridiculous? Absolutely. Is it a hell of a lot of fun? Indeed it is.