Here’s the deal:
Sequels get a bad name. While it’s true that, every year, Hollywood churns out plenty of pandering and carbon-copy sequels for cash grabs, those practices shouldn’t be allowed to become our definition of what a sequel is. At its core, the presence of a sequel (or prequel, reboot, preboot or rebootquel) is that we, the audience, enjoy a given world and set of characters enough to want to visit them again.
And though the onslaught of Transformers, Fast and the Furious and Saw movies continues to assault us, we can’t forget that sequels have also brought us Aliens, The Godfather Part II, the Back to the Future series, the Toy Story series, and Schindler’s List 2: Checkin’ It Twice.
When sequels are given any praise, it usually falls upon the very famous ones, like the above examples, but there are plenty of lesser-known and offbeat sequels that deserve our attention.
I present to you, Halloween H20.
Don’t let the unnecessarily silly title fool you (it refers to the film being released 20 years after the original), this is not only one of the best horror movie sequels, but also one of the few great “late in the game” sequels where you’ve all but given up on a property.
As stated, the film picks up 20 years after the original Halloween and its direct sequel Halloween II (itself a very fine flick), telling us that following the tragic events in Haddonfield, Laurie Strode changed her name and began a new life in California as a school principal. Michael Myers, not seen since the events of part II (the film thankfully ignores everything in-between), has finally tracked down his dear sister and carnage begins anew.
The movie is full of good moments, from the tight and tense script, to Curtis’ performance, to the clean, stark cinematography, to fun references to the original film as well as Curtis and mother Janet Leigh’s shared scene, in only the second onscreen appearance of the two “scream queens.”
Something else that has always stood out about this film is the way Myers was portrayed. In the first two films he had an almost robot-like quality with his movements and unrelenting pursuit. That vibe is replicated well here, with the scene in which Myers flips over tables in a deliberate, mechanical fashion searching for a victim being of particular note.
The only real drawbacks to the film are what could have been. The great Donald Pleasence, who had starred in almost all of the awful sequels, died a few years prior so was unable to reprise his role. Also, John Carpenter, the director of the original, was approached to helm H20 as well, but demanded a high salary due to a loss of profits from the original film. Had both of these gentlemen been back, the film might have been even stronger, but it remains a worthy sequel nonetheless.
If you haven’t seen Halloween H20, you really should. I recommend watching it with the first two installments which, with the finality of H20’s ending, creates a fitting trilogy for the series.
But seriously, it’s Halloween. Everyone’s entitled to one good scare.