Spoiler alert for Halloween (1979), Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills, and Halloween Ends.
“Was it the boogeyman?” Laurie Strode infamously said after surviving her first encounter with Michael Myers in the first Halloween film.
With the release of Halloween Ends, the trilogy that served as a direct sequel to the first Halloween film came to a close. Having seen the other two films as someone who dabbles in the horror genre, I was expecting a good old fashioned slasher movie that would ultimately end this version of Michael Myers. Instead I was met with surprisingly complex film with themes of trauma that ended up triggering my reoccurring nightmares.
The movie picks up four years later after Michael’s escape from the hands of the panicked townsfolk and mainly follows three characters struggling to live normal lives following a horrific event they’ve experienced.
Laurie Strode, having spent the 40 years living in survival mode after her first encounter with Michael, finally learns to accept what happened to her and she copes with her pain through a creative outlet. Unfortunately, many people in Haddonfield wrongly blame Laurie for Michael’s actions and still view her as the reclusive freak she once was.
Allyson, Laurie’s granddaughter, bottles her feelings up and is reluctant to socialize. She expresses resentment that people in town act like they understand what she went through and view her as little more than a victim that survived Michael Myers reign of terror that took the lives of her family and friends.
Cory’s involvement with the tragic death of a child the year after the murders ruined his promising future and is ostracized by Haddonfield, which became increasingly paranoid following Michael’s massacre. His mother explains to Laurie that the town would have understood it was an accident and helped her son to heal, but instead turned on Cory because they needed a new boogeyman to focus on because Michael disappeared. The years of constant mistreatment finally takes his toll on his mental health, bringing him down a dark path that cumulates in a series of revenge murders against the people that hurt him.
Michael Myers was barely physically present in the film, but he didn’t need to be because his lack of screen time perfectly demonstrates how trauma can have an effect on people long after the event occurred and/or the person that caused it disappeared. The film is less about a psychotic serial killer terrorizing a small town and more about people living with trauma after a horrific experience.
Due to my own experiences with an abusive parent, I saw comparisons between my own life and what was shown on screen. At my lowest, I let my pain consume me and thought there was no way out. I still have a bad habit of bottling things up and have a hard time with being labeled as a survivor. Like Laurie, I’ve managed to build a fairly good life for myself where I’m not walking on eggshells all the time and worked through this lingering pain through writing, but there are still times where I’m reminded of my own boogeyman—my own mother—and for brief moment I’m put back into that state of fear and stress.
Only when Michael is killed and his dead body is paraded through town before being thrown into a car crusher in front of the entire town are people able to heal. They needed to see him dead and destroyed to kill any paranoid thoughts that he’ll come back to terrorize the town.
And I have long wondered if I’ll only be truly free once my own boogeyman that hides behind a mask is dead and gone.