The plinky piano theme music. The dark blue jumpsuit. The slightly ratty, inside-out William Shatner mask, and of course, the big ol’ kitchen knife. It must be that time of year again…
Stab, stab, stab
Michael Myers (no, not that one) is one of the most recognisable faces in horror cinema, which is a bit ironic considering we never see it. Instead, much like his comrade in (chopping off) arms, Jason from Friday the 13th, he wears a mask. He made his debut in 1978 in the movie directed by horror legend, John Carpenter. As he did for many of his films, Carpenter also created the soundtrack which was synth heavy and very creepy. In the original, Michael Myers escapes from an asylum to hunt down teenage babysitters. But Laurie Strode, played by scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, manages to foil his plans before veteran British actor Donald Pleasance (who plays Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr Loomis) shoots him repeatedly until he falls out of the window. This is the only film in the series of 11 movies (so far!) to be directed by John Carpenter.
Things start to get a bit complicated from there on. The sequel changes the story slightly, making Myers and Laurie Strode brother and sister, and picks up immediately after the events of the first film. Set primarily in a hospital, again Loomis and Strode team up to defeat (but not kill) the sociopathic serial killer. Everyone takes a break during the third film, which, despite the name, is a completely different story, but then most of the cast return for Halloween IV. Jamie Lee Curtis declined to appear in the fourth instalment, instead starring in the significantly better and much more successful A Fish Called Wanda. Instead, the writers gave her a daughter, who becomes the focus of Michael’s ire. Again, Dr Loomis shoots Michael, and he falls down a mineshaft.
Save us, Busta Rhymes!
Unsurprisingly, Michael survives and returns for number five, but it’s film number six where things get a bit silly. It turns out that Michael is driven by something known as the ‘Curse of Thorn’ which means he has to kill his family in order to save the world. Or something like that. This is very much the least entry in the series and is only notable for an appearance by a young Paul Rudd, who is now looking after a baby, Laurie Strode’s grand-daughter. The makers of the next film in the series, H20 (named because it came out 20 years after the original – clever, eh?), very wisely decide to ignore everything that happened in films four, five and six, and Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the story. This time, she beats Michael, eventually stealing and decapitating his body to be absolutely sure he’s finally gone.
Laurie Strode is finally killed by Michael in the 8th movie (it turns out that wasn’t him under the mask in the last one), Halloween Resurrection, and he then goes on to slaughter a bunch of students who are making a reality TV show in the house where the original movie took place. Fortunately, Busta Rhymes is on hand to finish off the monster. Then there were then two attempts by horror director Rob Zombie to reboot the story, but these performed pretty badly.
Rebooting the Reboot of a Reboot
Now, 40 years after the original (so, H40?), Halloween is coming back to our screens this month, again with Jamie Lee Curtis in tow. This one also rewrites history, wiping the events of ALL the other sequels, including the part Michael turns out to be Strode’s brother. In this, Jamie Lee Curtis plays a bitter, survivalist type who has been preparing all this time for Michael to return and finish the job. Well, it would be rude to disappoint her, wouldn’t it? At least this one has some involvement from John Carpenter, who produces, consults and once again scores the soundtrack.
The game itself is actually quite unsettling, considering that it’s a slot game. With a view of the Strode house from the original film, the perspective is constantly changing between the five reels. Play for a short while, and you may see someone sinister lurking in the bushes around the side of the house or standing near the washing line with a carving knife in hand. The music is gentle, but not too creepy – the iconic theme music only kicks in when you come to the bonus round, but here is where you can really win big. You must spin the wheel, which leads to a number of options. Firstly, you may land on a bonus multiplier before your Free Spins even start. Or you could land on one of the characters, including Laurie Strode, Dr Loomis or one of Michael’s other victims. If you land on Michael himself, you’ll need to fight him off to proceed to the Free Spins round.
So lock all the doors, check the cupboards and for goodness’ sake, don’t go and check out that creepy noise in the yard. Settle down with a slot game instead, and spin your way to safety. Trust us, you’re perfectly safe here…