Haddonfield in Chaos

A blissfully intoxicated young man walks down the street, before being chased into his fiery death by a man wearing a trench coat and brandishing a gun. A group of angry townsfolk close shop at the local bar early, to eventually find what they think is a returning serial killer, opening fire on a park bush, only to discover it was nothing more than a local. An entire town, embarrassed of its past and ignoring the horrific events years before.

Throughout the entire Halloween series, the residents of Haddonfield have been through a lot. Already plagued by the memories of young Michael Myers brutally murdering his sister years before, the town was then put through hell when the mask-wearing madman returned to strike up a body count. Depending on which Halloween timeline you follow, The Shape has put Haddonfield through an endless amount of terror and dread, and its in those moments, when the franchise’s potential really shines.

There’s plenty of intensity and horror found within the chaos Haddonfield finds itself in from time to time. And with David Gordon Green’s 2018 sequel Halloween, the series brought the trauma of living with the events of the past front and centre. With both Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends coming out with the span of the next couple of years, the opportunity to really take a look at the lasting pain and impact 1978 and 2018’s events had on the townspeople.

I’ve always found it interesting to consider what the events of the original Halloween film would have on the people who lived through it. 1998’s Halloween: H20 wasn’t my cup of tea when it comes to bringing the character of Laurie Strode back for an examination of the very thing I’m talking about in this. However, 2018’s film did an excellent job of really showing how just how negatively the events of the first film had on the once-promising Laurie, now an alcoholic living in the past, wanting to be able to finally come to terms with the man and horror that stalked her and murdered her friends years before. With how Green approached the recent sequel as a way to address those subjects, the one-two punch of the second and third entries in his trilogy opens a box of bringing back characters from John Carpenter’s classic to not only help Laurie, her daughter and granddaughter survive — but to come to terms with how the events of the original film affected THEM.

Having wiped the events of Halloween II all the way to Rob Zombie’s H2 out of existence for the trilogy’s timelines, Halloween Kills brings back the characters of Tommy and Lindsay, Sheriff Brackett and even Lonnie Elam, the once bullied child who was told by Loomis to get his ass away from the Myers house in the original film. Bringing back those legacy characters shows how much the filmmakers behind the new trilogy want to put all of Haddonfield’s trauma under the microscope. And if I’ve learned anything from the series, that’s when it succeeds the best.

Going back to the timeline before 2018’s film retconned it, the panic found in 1981’s Halloween II helped bring the town’s terror out, when we were given angry residents throwing rocks and busting windows of the Myers house, demanding the end of the murderer. In the same film, Ben Tramer, the boy Laurie mentioned having a crush on in the first film, is walking home after a night of drinking and again, panic reigns supreme, when Loomis, making the mistake of thinking Tramer is Myers, chases the boy into what becomes his demise. It’s that confusion and “could it have been him?” Questioning what Loomis has in that film pushes him to work even harder to find Michael and Laurie by the end of the movie.

In Halloween 4 and Halloween 5, the residents of Haddonfield are not only tired of the cycle repeating but like Loomis in the 1981 sequel, they allow their anger and confusion to lead to the unnecessary death of Ted Hollister, who may or may not have just been having a good self-love moment in the bushes. When Myers is presumed to be dead, the anger of the townspeople shifts towards Michael’s niece Jamie, when they throw rocks through windows, declaring that the child must die. There’s a lot of hurt and defeat in Haddonfield, something that carries into Halloween 6, where it takes a protest of students to even attempt to bring normalcy back to the town, right before Myers appears again, forever giving the town a massive Halloween shit sandwich.

With wiping all of those films out of the timeline this time around, Green has the chance to spend more than a couple of passing moments really showing the collective outrage and anger that Haddonfield feels. The town has been terrorised for decades, not only by the memories of past events, but the events returning to cause more suffering. That’s enough to make the town stand up. The problem is, when you have an entire community angry, things can be dangerous if the information isn’t readily available and, like in Halloween 4, when something happens, people rush towards revenge without knowing what or who they’re looking for. That potential for innocent casualties is a big one this time around and it opens up such big possibilities of what can happen when people are wanting blood for blood.

Sheriff Brackett has lived with not only the failure of not being able to save his daughter Annie back in 1978, but not having taken Loomis seriously when the doctor warned him of what was coming. Tommy Doyle, once a paranoid child always assuming the bogeyman was after him, lives with having come face to face with the masked killer and barely living to tell the tale. There are a lot of possibilities to be explored in the upcoming films, and I hope the horror and pain Haddonfield has had to endure is explored. 2018’s Halloween set up a massive opportunity to take the town and really examine the effects of community pain and loss. When the series takes those risks, we’re given some excellent storytelling. Fingers crossed.

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