Aka Love Lives Today!
Fair warning: Plenty of spoilers for the Halloween franchise including Kills and Ends in particular.
Just when I thought they couldn’t possibly make another Halloween sequel as controversial and polarizing as Halloween Kills…Halloween Ends comes along only one year later. To be upfront from the jump, I am one of the five fans of Halloween Kills and still prefer it to Halloween Ends. But I also didn’t hate Halloween Ends like some viewers seemed to.
I have no problem with Ends as another Halloween sequel – I am happy for any major theatrical slasher release. Moreover, I like how weird later franchise entries can get. You don’t get Corey Cunningham till you’ve gone so far and made so much money you can basically create Halloween fanfiction and throw it on the big screen.
That being said, I wasn’t wild about this being the finale of a trilogy of legacy sequels. It was jarring to go from Halloween Kills picking up right where Halloween 2018 left off and focusing on Michael’s impact on the Haddonfield community as a whole to Ends jumping four years into the future and focusing on a new character we are just getting introduced to.
It also feels jarring to see Laurie’s relative normalcy. When we last saw Laurie, Michael had ripped Haddonfield apart again and brutally murdered her only daughter (in this timeline at least). So we are also meant to believe that after 40 years of obsessively waiting for Michael to break free and return, Laurie has moved on from being openly obsessed with him after he has murdered her daughter and escaped into the night? Even if I believe she is “faking it till making it” while secretly anticipating his return, it is odd it is so disconnected from the first two films of the trilogy. Other than a picture of Karen in Laurie’s house, she is barely a presence in this film which really undercuts the impact of her sudden death at the very end of Kills.
I also just thought at some point it was going to be revealed Michael had actually already died and seeing Michael was all in Corey’s head. I thought this up until Allyson saw Michael’s body splayed out on the kitchen table at the tail end of the movie and realized we are supposed to believe Michael, always a singular embodiment of evil, started to Bonnie and Clyde tag team kill people with Corey?
Yet Michael is still so weak from being beat down by a mob 4 years ago that Corey is able to wrestle Michael’s mask off him nearly effortlessly?
I think it would’ve been more interesting to go the full supernatural “Michael’s not there but the idea of him is still bringing out the evil in people” route, but I can understand needing resolution between Michael and Laurie. Sadly despite their best efforts, the midnight parade to grind him in a wood chipper doesn’t feel nearly as satisfying as it should. Halloween H2O in all its 90s cheese has the most satisfying Michael kill scene (ignoring the garbage rewrite Resurrection pulls).
To me (and apparently others as well), it would make more sense to have Ends be the second movie in the trilogy and build up to Halloween Kills. The fire and subsequent fight with the firefighters could leave Michael weak and living in the sewer where he encounters Corey. Corey begins killing people and gradually turning more evil over the course of the year while also forming a relationship with Allyson before snapping on the next Halloween and going on a full rampage before being defeated by Laurie. Then we can jump to years later and follow a bulk of the plot of Kills, culminating with the town mob subduing the real Michael and Laurie dealing the final blows.
That being said, Ends follows an interesting pattern of jarring different “third” movies in the Halloween franchise. The original Halloween and Halloween II are a two-parter set on the same night ala Halloween 2018 and Kills, while Halloween III: Season of the Witch is infamously a completely different storyline not featuring Michael at all (but interestingly still featuring an idea of infecting people or in its case children with evil).
The “Thorn Curse” trilogy follows a similarly disjointed pattern. Halloween 4 & 5 take place within a year of one another and tell the story of Michael’s young niece Jamie. As Nat Brehmer noted on Bloody Disgusting, these films also feature Jamie getting briefly possessed by Michael’s evil and forming a supernatural psychic connection with him. They also feature a vigilante mob who try (ultimately in vain) to defeat Michael. Yet Halloween 6 is another jarring time jump, set years after 5 and featuring Jamie, now a young adult, only briefly before unceremoniously killing her off after implying a possessed Michael was made to rape her by the Thorn cult. Yikes.
So while I personally think Halloween Ends doesn’t actually make sense to end the cohesive story from Halloween 2018/Kills, I can’t say it is unprecedented for this series to do something weird every third movie. It makes me wonder how much weirder a third Rob Zombie Halloween or sequel to Resurrection would have been!
But even though Halloween Ends is a more surprising and creative movie than Halloween Kills (it shifts the trilogy from just being a series of brutal slashers to a tragic love story), I still think Kills is more interesting. I like the way Kills explores how Michael has impacted not just Laurie’s family, but the whole community of Haddonfield. IMHO, this is still a more interesting concept than following a new character getting infected with Michael’s evil (or having Michael bring the innate darkness out of him depending on how you interpret it).
Some additional thoughts about David Gordon Green’s Halloween Trilogy:
- I feel like Halloween Kills & Ends have a similar relationship to The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker (with Kills = The Last Jedi and Ends = Rise of Skywalker). One movie seems to undermine and/or outright ignore the one before it. One tries to give fans exactly what they expect while the other tries to be creative within its franchise framework and do something different.
- Halloween Kills proposes vigilante mobs are bad and can make people do evil things in the name of fighting evil. Yet in Halloween Ends the town once again forms a mob to engage vigilante justice and now it is good I guess?
- I do like that Halloween Kills especially feels like Illinois to me. The trilogy as a whole has a timeless look to it that is probably a nod to the 70s time period of the original, but it has the effect of making it feel like Haddonfield has been trapped psychologically and physically by what Michael did in 1978.
Despite all my negative comments, I did enjoy the movie and it will definitely go in my slasher rotation along with all the other weird little sequels and timelines to the first Halloween.
I also think it is a good thing that Kills and Ends had such polarizing reactions from horror fans. Even though things have gotten pretty heated on Twitter over the two films (I saw someone say their timeline hadn’t been this fractured since the Democratic primaries when Kills came out!), it is nice to have movies generating this much conversation and passion. Having led book discussions for years, it is always better to have a polarizing title than to have one everyone unequivocally hates or loves. Or even worse – generates no reaction or strong feelings any which way. And it was delightful having another powerful performance from Jamie Lee Curtis and another banger of a soundtrack from John Carpenter. I doubt this is truly the end, but it is actually leaving me excited for what could come next.