Halloween is a prequel/remake of the 1978 horror film of the same name, directed by the (aptly named) Rob Zombie. This 2007 version follows the life of Michael Myers, from his childhood of horror to his life in isolation. Having murdered his mother’s boyfriend, his sister and his sister’s boyfriend on Halloween night when he was 10 years old, Michael was sentenced to isolation under the care of Dr. Samuel Loomis.
This half of the movie was the more interesting half. Though it showed michael in the early stages of being a cold-blooded killer, it as able to create a kind of relationship between the audience and Michael. The verbally abusive father, the negligent sister, the offensive schoolmates, the suicidal mother were all successful in garnering sympathy for Michael from the audience. This added backstory on how and why he became the way he did really gave the audience a chance to identify with him and to understand the very realistic factors that lead to his murderous ways.
This was as far as the depth went though, sadly. Only the character of Michael was really depended. The rest seem to be introduced just to be taken out soon after. Once the second half of the movie was entered, especially when they introduced the teenage girls, it was hard to distinguish one from the other. But, most disappointing aspect of the second half was Michael’s hair. No, not because it was dirty and greasy, but because it covered his face the whole time. This made it difficult to sustain the feelings of sympathy and connectedness to Michael because he was now just a monster – no longer a person we could relate to.
Linda William’s idea of the active gaze can be applied here. Usually, in horror movies, the woman is seen as passive, as victim, as punishable for her gaze. Laurie, being the subject of the gaze, is portrayed as an outspoken but loving daughter and friend. She is in no way portrayed as fearless and strong. As a matter of fact, while her and her friends were walking down the street and they noticed he was lingering around them, both her friends try to tell him off while she does not. That is what makes her actions in the end all the more surprising, all the more unconventional. As Williams mentions when talking about the active gaze, women are refused this gaze of activity or control and punished if they try. The fact that Laurie was more concerned about defeating MIchael than running away was very telling of her use of active gaze. It was the psychiatrist that found himself close to death while Laurie was the one who pulled the trigger. The sweet, babysitting daddy’s girl defeats the monster. Again, like Claire in the Innkeepers, Laurie is a atypical portrayal of a female horror character. But being a woman myself, I am happy to see women portrayed as more than just the victim but also in a way a hero in their own right.
Dare I say, “you go, girls.”