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John Carpenter & The Halloween Franchise

 Greeting Darklings I am kicking off spooky month with a bang!  I'm going to be talking about John Carpenter and the Halloween Franchise so stick around til the end for the whole story. 

In the realm of horror and genre filmmaking , few names resonate as strongly as John Carpenter. With a career spanning over 4 decades, John Carpenter has left an indelible mark on the film industry, crafting movies that have become cult classics and have influenced generations of filmmakers in the process. Through his unique vision, innovative storytelling techniques, and mastery of suspense, John Carpenter has solidified his place as one of the most influential and celebrated directors in cinematic history.

John Carpenter was born in Carthage NY on the 16th of January 1948. He developed a passion for filmmaking early on and attended the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. Honing his skills leading to the debut of his first film in 1970. A short titled The Resurrection of Broncho Billy, which garnered him his first and only Oscar. His subsequent feature film "Dark Star" was his directorial debut in 1974, which he created with another legend, Dan O'Bannon. His early works showcased his ability to create tension and suspense on a limited budget, setting the stage for his future successes. John Carpenters rise as the master of horror began with the low budget indie film Halloween in 1978. Halloween catapulted him to international fame, revolutionizing the horror genre and establishing him as a master of suspense. Carpenter's trademark was his ability to create atmospheric tension through his use of lighting, music (which most of the time he composed), and cinematography. 

"The Thing" in 1982 further solidified John Carpenter's reputation, showcasing his talent for crafting intense and terrifying narratives, as well as his ability to create relatable and memorable characters, such as Laurie Strode in the original Halloween" that have resonated with audiences for decades.

His versatility as a filmmaker is evident in his ability to seamlessly blend genres, incorporating
elements of horror, scifi, and action. "Escape From New York" and "Big Trouble In Little China" exemplify his unique style, combining thrilling action sequences with dark humour. 

His willingness to experiment with unconventional narratives and characters set him apart from his contemporaries. Furthermore his influence can be seen in the works of numerous filmmakers, including Quinten Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro, and James Wan. His memorable movie scores, often composed by Carpenter himself, have become synonymous with the films they accompany, further cementing his legacy. 

John Carpenter's contribution to the world of filmmaking is immeasurable, and his ability to create
tension, blend genres, and create memorable characters made him the legend he is, but is John Carpenter done with filmmaking darklings? Not by a longshot. Not only has he composed a couple of new collections, he's also just directed a new  TV series titled John Carpenter's Suburban Screams. "I just finished directing, remotely, a TV series called 'Suburban Screams' – 'John Carpenter's Suburban Screams,'" Carpenter said. "It was filmed in Prague, and I sat on my couch and directed it. It was awesome." Nothing else is known at all about this project. he has also finished a fourth Lost Themes album, which I'm sure will be great. He most recently composed the scores with partners Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies for David Gordon Green's Halloween trilogy. Speaking of the trilogy, what does John have to say about it. "I really don't care [about the franchise legacy]," he said. "The 'Halloween' movie I love the most is the one I made back in 1978, the one I directed. Others are other people's visions. That's the way it goes. That's what happens when you give up. I didn't want to direct sequels. I didn't think there was story left. Boy, was I wrong, huh?"

What do you think about John Carpenter, his films, music, and legendary status darklings?  Let me know in the comments.  We aren't finished with John Carpenter yet my pretties. 

Oh no, Halloween month is here and that means we have to talk about the franchise John Carpenter
helped to bring to life. Let's get to it. 

The Halloween movie franchise has become an iconic and enduring part of the horror genre. 

Since it's inception in 1978, the franchise has captivated audiences with it's chilling atmosphere, suspenseful storytelling and the terrifying, oft times supernatural presence of it's antagonist, Micheal Myers, The Halloween franchise is the blueprint of success other horror franchises have not only copied but should aspire to. 

One of the key factors that have made the Halloween franchise successful is its memorable characters.
At the centre of it all is Michael Myers, a silent and relentless force of evil. His iconic mask and eerie presence have become synonymous with the horror genre itself, spawning numerous, creepy, supernatural like slashers in the genre. Myers' character is shrouded in mystery, as his motives remain largely unknown, within the framework of the faithful franchise and not Rob Zombies remakes. This mystery and unpredictability add to the terror he instills in audiences. Additionally, the franchise introduced us to the resilient and resourceful Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Lurtis, who has become the symbol of survival and strength in the face of unimaginable horror. Especially, in the latest Halloween franchise releases. 

Michael Meyers has cemented the Halloween franchise as one of the most fear educing genre movies of all time, with its successful ability to tap into universal fears, such as the fear of the unknown, the fear of being stalked, and the fear of being pitted against something which may have started out as just evil but has grown into a more sinister unknowable supernatural evil. By exploring these primal fears, the Halloween movies have managed to transcend time and continue to terrify it's viewers, even after more than four decades. The franchise's ability to adapt and reinvent itself whilst staying true to it's core elements (well, with the exception of Halloween 3 season of the witch) has allowed it to remain relevant and continue to captivate audiences. 

It's not just the compelling story or captivating heroes, and a terrifying antagonist. The cinematography has also been called out for it's innovative use of long, tracking shots, and point of view perspectives that create unease and tension, allowing viewers to experience the horror alongside the characters. It's signature technique however, is that of utilizing darkness and shadows to conceal Michael Myers, which adds to the suspense and overall terror of the films since 1978.

Now that i've talked about the basics of the franchise lets take a brief look at the movies within. Each with the exception of 3 contributes to the overall narrative and mythology of the series.

1 Halloween 1978 

Directed by, created by, and composed by John Carpenter. This is the original film that introduced us to Michael Myers. Set in the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illois, the movie follows the story of Laurie Stode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends as they are stalked by escaped mental pactient Michael Myers on Halloween. Donald pleseance plays the pivitol character of Dr. Loomis. As an aside, John carpenter liked to use the same actors in many of his films, donald pleasence being one of them. He played a priest in Prince of darkness who, although was never called by a name in the movie, in the dvd subtitles his name is Father Loomis. Coincidence, I think not darklings.

2 Halloween II 1981

Picking up immediately after the events of the first film, Halloween II continues the storyline of Laurie Strode as she is pursued by Michael Myers in a hospital. This film further explores the connection between Laurie and Michael, delving deeper into their shared history.

3 Halloween III: Season of the Witch 1982
Departing from the storyline of Michael Myers, this film takes a different approach and tells a standalone story. It revolves around an evil plot involving a toymaker, a halloween mask company and a doctor. This Halloween all the kiddies want a Silver Shamrock mask. Doctor Daniel Challis played by Tom Atkins seeks to uncover this plot by Silver Shamrock owner Conal Cochran. John Carpenter had a hand in the writing, though it was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. Tommy Lee Wallace was involved in several John Carpenter films, but his most famous work was as director of the original IT TV mini series. I'm going to go off the facts for a minute here just to say. I really enjoyed this film. I'm not a huge slasher fan so I got excited at the idea that perhaps every Halloween we would get a new story. Alas, that wasn't the case, and I know this movie was a typical 80s horror flick, but we did get the infamous song that I find myself singing from  5 days to 1 day til Halloween. It's a catchy little tune. Give it a watch this month, it's defiantly in sync with the Halloween season vibe. 

4 Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, 1988
It's been a hot minute since we've seen Michael lurking around, sniffing out some teens to hack up, but here we are again, set 10 years after the events of Halloween 2. Return follows Myers' escape from the mental institution and his pursuit of his niece Jamie Lloyd played by then little girl Danielle Harris, who went on to star in another slasher franchise Hatchet, which is definitely worth a watch if you like tongue in cheek, but creepy gross slasher flicks. Donald pleasance also reprises the role of Dr. Loomis still on the hunt. 

5 Halloween 5 : The Revenge of Michael Myers 1989 
Continues the story from the previous film. It explores the ongoing battle between Michael Myers and his niece Jamie Lloyd, who somehow possesses a psychic connection to him . WAIT, WHAT? Hey, it was the 80's what can i say, lets continue .

6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers 1995
Here's where we begin skipping multiple years between films darklings.
In this iteration of the film we take a deep dive into the mythology surrounding Michael Myers, eploring the origins of his evil and introducing a cult that seeks to control him (they wish). It also introduces a new protagonist, Tommy Doyle, who was a child in the first film, Tommy played by Paul Rudd. Remember Tommy was from the original Halloween movie, as the little boy Laurie babysat.

Lindsey : I'm scared!

Laurie : There's nothing to be scared of.

Tommy : Are you sure?

[Laurie nods] 

Tommy : How?

Laurie : I killed him...

Tommy : But you can't kill the boogeyman! No you can't Tommy, but you'll see soon enough won't you? 

And of course Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis. I think Dr. Loomis has as many lives as Michael does. On to our 7th of the 13 films.

7. Halloween H20 : 20 Years Later 1998
Set 20 years after the original film, Halloween H20 brings back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Stode, who has been living under a new identity as the dean of a private school. This time Laurie must protect her son John played by Josh Hartnet. One of my favourite quotes from the Halloween franchise is this one.

John : It just occurred to me today that I've never celebrated Halloween before.

Molly : And why's that?

John : Oh, we've got a psychotic serial killer in the family who loves to butcher people on Halloween, and I just thought it in bad taste to celebrate.

Will Laurie save her son John and kill Michael, drive him away with her obsessive insanity over her brother, or will he get a knife through the chest, further driving her to madness? I guess you have to give it watch to find out.

8. Halloween: Resurrection 2002
Resurrection follows the events of Halloween H20 and sees a reality TV show being filmed at the childhood home of Michael Myers. As a group of contestants explore the house, they unknowingly awaken the dormant evil within. Who will survive, and not vomit from all the gross happenings?! Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode, with Busta Rhymes as Freddie Harris (yep you heard me right, the rapper Busta Rhymes) co staring and he does a good job. We also have a couple of now famous actors along for the ride. Sean Patrick Harris as Rudy, Katee Sackhoff as Jen, and Tyra Banks as Nora. This one is one of the better films in the franchise.

9. Halloween 2007 
Directed and reimagined by Rob Zombie. This reboot of the franchise offers a fresh twist to the origin and backstory of Michael Meyers. It takes a look into his troubled childhood, his time in a mental institution, and his subsequent escape to not only continue his reign of terror in Haddonfield, but also his obsession with his sister. It's tag line is "Evil has a destiny". Now, there are 2 camps when it comes to this movie, those that think it's an abomination of the original, and those who think its a masterpiece, those are generally Rob Zombie fans. I, happen to fall in a third category. I like it, I thought it was well made, it was interesting and I appreciated that, but I have only watched it twice in 16 yrs, and have no real interest in watching it again as I watch the original Halloween movie, every Halloween. With that said, he does have a good cast and for the most part they do a good job. Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis. Brad Dourif as Sheriff Lee Brackett, Tyler Mane as Michael. Tyler Mane in case you didn't know also played the original Sabretooth in the first X-Men movie. Of course Sheri Moon Zombie, Udo Keir, Clint Howard, Danny Trejo and the late Tom Towles round out the cast. It's worth a watch if you are a fan of the franchise.

10. Moving on to the 10th film in the franchise Kinda. Halloween II 2009 
Also directed and created by Rob Zombie, this is the sequel to his 2007 reboot. It picks up immediately after the events of the first film. It follows Laurie Strode as she deals with the trauma of her encounter with Michael Myers and the ongoing threat he poses. 

I did watch this movie but just couldn't get into it, nor did I feel the connection with this version of Laurie Strode vs Jamie Lee Curtis's version. In my opinion Jamie Lee Curtis IS Laurie Strode, and I think she has proven that time and again in the sequels. 

11. Simply titled Halloween 2018 with the ominous tag line Face yourfate  is another reboot kinda. This serves as a direct sequel to the original 1978 film. This particular instalment DISREGARDS the events of ALL the previous sequels. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Were they just a dream? This film reunites Jamie Lee Curtis with her character Laurie Strode, who has spent decades preparing for Michael Myers inevitable return. The movie explores the lasting impact of their previous encounters and the ultimate showdown between Laurie and Michael. 

We are getting closer to the end Darklings.

12 Halloween Kills 2021 
This is the second in the final trilogy of the franchise, and continues from the first of the trilogy beginning in 2018. Laurie and her family face the aftermath of their confrontation with Michael Myers. As the town of Haddenfield grapples with the terror that has resurfaced, Laurie and her allies must band together to finally put an end to a relentless killer. HOW ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY ARE GOING TO DO THAT I don't know, considering they have YET to figure out a way. 
On to number 13 and my final take on the franchise.

13. Halloween Ends 2022
The final installment of the current trilogy, Halloween Ends concludes the story of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. I won't spoil it for you. 
Before I finish up I want to add that the Halloween franchise is not just a series of movies. It has also made a huge impact on pop culture, with merchandise , spin offs, comics, fan fic and so much more. The funny thing, is that you don't find Laurie Strode costumes or much merch do you? something to ponder darklings. 

My take on the franchise is this. If you don't want to watch all 13 movies I would suggest the original from 1978 of course, The second one, though not as good in my opinion gives a good retrospective on how far Jamie Lee Curtis has come fleshing out and bringing to life the tormented, survivor which is Laurie Strode. I'd also watch the 3rd - Season of the Witch especially in October it will get you in the spirit. The 8th Halloween Resurrection because it's really a good watch and finally the redo trilogy beginning in 2018. I think it brings everything full circle, and really showcases not just the story but also the growth of Jamie Lee Curtis's portrayal of Laurie. 
And that's it Darklings.  Visit me on IG and FB, and of course let me know your favourite movie in the franchise, favourite quotes, merch you may have or ANYTHING really about the Halloween franchise or ANY of John Carpenters films. and finally me know if you want content about any of John's other movies. Thanks for reading!