Halloween Kills is far more violent than any of its predecessors in the franchise but is there a reason behind the significant increase in gore?
Halloween Kills entered theaters with the accompaniment of much violence and blood, exceeding the gore of all the proceeding films in the Halloween franchise. The new entry in the series certainly lives up to its title as the iconic Michael Myers beats, stabs, and slashes his way through the residents of his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, to reach his childhood home. While slasher film enthusiasts will enjoy counting the rising number of bodies Michael leaves in his wake, some may wonder why the movie is more violent than its predecessors.
This is not to say that the Halloween franchise has been lacking in violence in the past, as Michael’s kill count previously fell between 30-58 (depending on which timeline is followed). Yet the kills in past films have been less graphic than those depicted in Halloween Kills, showing far less blood and organs. The original film depended far more on Michael’s stealthy stalking for scares than it did on the creative means of murder employed by its descendant. Halloween (1978) only featured 5 deaths in comparison to the 25 of the most recent in the series, and the methods of killing were far simpler and less bloody.
Many viewers were disenchanted by the graphic nature of Michael’s destruction in the movie, leaving both audiences and critics divided on whether Halloween Kills is good. So why did the creative team behind the film decide to increase the violence factor of the second entry in this modern take on the beloved horror franchise? Most likely, it is to meant to mask the fact that the story and character development in the movie is actually quite weak in comparison to its 2018 predecessor, Halloween.
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The first film in director David Gord0n Green’s new Halloween trilogy focused on the psychological impact that Michael’s original killing spree had on survivor Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). Rather than give Curtis’ character the spotlight for much of the film, Halloween Kills sidelines Laurie in a hospital bed for a majority of the action, instead shifting focus to the impact Michael has had on other survivors and on Haddonfield as a whole. Although Anthony Michael Hall plays the role of an adult Tommy Doyle (the child whom Laurie was babysitting in the original film) with conviction, his grudge and survival (along with the other secondary characters) against Michael is not as compelling as that of Laurie and her bloodline.
The incompetence of the townspeople to act against Michael is also frustrating as they grow increasingly paranoid of him while largely remaining stationary. There is much repetitive and laughable dialogue about “evil” in reference to Michael, with little forward momentum of the plot in terms of actually stopping him. The only person taking steps forward in Halloween Kills is Michael, who strides calmly and swiftly towards his home while making a few stops to remove those who stand in his way. The gruesomeness of each murder is very distracting, drawing attention away from the lack of character and plot development.
The kills included in the movie are very creative, as Michael kills people in new and varied fashions. These include a knife to the eye, smashing a man with a retractable attic staircase, and kicking a door to turn a gun back on its handler among many others. But while some viewers may be gratified by the extreme violence displayed in Halloween Kills, it seems it was necessitated by the poor quality of story available for the middle movie of the trilogy. Perhaps the creative team will remedy their error in the finale to the trilogy, Halloween Ends, and maintain a better balance between the two elements.