What the $125-million-grossing 2018 edition of “Halloween,” shot for under $10 million and twenty-five days, has: The magnificent Jamie Lee Curtis in her lastingly iconic role, as a cascading maelstrom of magnificence. A new score by John Carpenter and his band (Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies) with severe guitar niceties. The eyes of quietly restless director David Gordon Green and doc-and-also-shock cinematographer Michael Simmonds (“White Girl,” “The Order of Myths,” “Chop Shop,” Man Push Cart”). Laurie Strode as materfamilias of three generations of strong women. What it doesn’t have: the adrenaline rush of total and complete surprise. Not the nicely jiggered shocks of the well-made movie, including the apparently blunt yet still ambiguous ending brought to us by writers Green, Jeff Fradley and Danny McBride. But coming out of nowhere, a spare, startling spark plug cobbled by John Carpenter and Debra Hill on the sly. There’s quibblesome quirk to bits of comedy: I’ll take Laurie’s original “The keys! The keeeeeeeys!” over a dozen latter-day lines like “I’ve got peanut butter on my penis.” There are ample satisfactions, and some may be steeped in nostalgic recall, but none match the first time Carpenter’s score was heard in a darkened public screening, or the moving camera that took Michael Myers’ gait and point-of-view as its own. With Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Haluk Bilginer, Will Patton. 106m. (Ray Pride)
“Halloween” is now playing.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.