Movies have always been a way to explore themes happening in the real world. However, horror in particular can be a vehicle to talk about deeper and darker social issues. For example, Candyman is a critical examination of race and class. Real-life horrors can sometimes be scarier than any movie monster. Michael Myers, also known as The Shape, is the most iconic element of Halloween. However, the 2018 sequel and Halloween Kills couple him with timely topics in the Jamie Lee Curtis-starring films.
2018’s ‘Halloween’ is about trauma
David Gordon Green’s Halloween is a direct sequel to the 1978 original. Laurie Strode, played by Curtis, must face Michael Myers forty years after her night of terror.
Curtis talked about the themes of the Halloween trilogy with Variety. She explained that the first movie is about trauma, calling Laurie, “the personification of trauma.”
Curtis recalled that it took place during the MeToo Movement. She continued: “It married at the time when the MeToo Movement was at its ascent. Here you have a movie about a woman traumatized for 40 years and she is now rising up. And it collided with what was happening globally.”
However, the trauma theme would end up expanding into its sequel.
Jamie Lee Curtis talks about ‘Halloween Kills’ and mob violence
Curtis said that the sequel is about mob violence, but related it to the previous installment’s theme of trauma. “So somehow they intuited in understanding that the next wave of trauma is rage.”
However, the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack occurred around the time that Halloween Kills was made. Curtis explained how the citizens of Haddonfield are taking justice into their own hands, pushing aside the law and the officers that enforce it.
“They wrote a movie about mob violence and five months later, the mobs started to gather,” Curtis said. “We were supposed to come out a year ago. And then Jan. 6 happened – this was supposed to be released in October of last year and now we’re watching a mob descend on the U.S. capital.”
She continued: “That’s what the next movie is about: the town of Haddonfield, all of the people in the town who were also victims of Michael Myers. There’s a group of people who are very angry at the authorities and are going to take the law into their own hands.”
‘Halloween Kills’ is premiering at the Venice International Film Festival
Halloween Kills will be making its world debut at the Venice International Film Festival. Curtis expressed how the horror genre is generally more embraced in Italy than it is in America. There’s a certain lack of prestige associated with the genre, which is why there are so few horror movies that have been nominated for the Academy Awards.
The film festival circuit tends to be more friendly toward the horror genre than the awards circuit. Hopefully the stigma associated with horror will be dispelled one day. Curtis compared horror movies to ‘high art’ cinema, asserting that, “You still show up and you work the same hours and the process is the same.”
The sequel will be hitting theaters on Oct. 15. Halloween Ends will be the final installment of the trilogy. Stay tuned to find out how the themes of the first two entries transfer to the next one. Perhaps the screenplay will end up being timely with another socially relevant event.