Film & Television · Health

Laurie Strode’s Revenge — The New #MeToo Version of ‘Halloween’

Even though I started watching in broad daylight, it was dusk by the time it was over. My husband was at a networking event. My dog weighs only twelve pounds. And you wouldn’t believe how many doors I had to check in my antique house.

Having learned my lesson, I planned to go to the very earliest showing of the new Halloween in case I needed the entire afternoon to get over it. I’m relieved to report that it isn’t as frightening as the first. (Phew.) And also, that it is a really excellent movie.

The opening credits pay homage to the original film, and Carpenter has created a similar soundtrack, although he didn’t direct this time (David Gordon Green did). There is far more blood and gore, and I actually lost track of the body count.

But, the biggest change is in Laurie Strode. In the first movie, she was enterprising, but very much a damsel in distress. In the new film, she’s an avenging granny, a survivalist who has dedicated her adult life to being ready to face Myers again. She’s the perfect horror heroine for the age of #MeToo. “I’ve prayed that he would escape,” she tells a local sheriff. “Why would you do that?” he asks. “So I can kill him.”

Strode is determined and single-minded, but she’s not a female Rambo here. What adds so much depth to the movie is that even as she has monster-proofed her home and built up an arsenal, she’s also suffering from severe PTSD. Her family has been fractured because of her obsession; she’s been through multiple divorces and lost custody of her now grown daughter (played by the always great Judy Greer). Curtis’s performance is nuanced, multilayered, and often quite physical. She does a tremendous job, and you can’t help but imagine that she’s dedicating it to the teenager who once cowered in a closet.

Strode’s granddaughter (compelling newcomer Andi Matichak) is the damsel in distress this time — until she joins her mother and grandmother in a brave and brilliant showdown with Myers.

Surprisingly enough, I loved the new Halloween (and, for the record, I slept like a baby that night). And, I’m not alone. The film has already earned exponential returns. Made for about $10 million, it grossed more than $77 million its first weekend, and has earned more than $172 million worldwide.

Last week, Curtis tweeted, “Biggest horror movie opening with a female lead. Biggest movie opening with a female lead over 55. Second biggest October movie opening ever. Biggest Halloween opening ever,” and added the hashtag #womengetthingsdone.

Curtis, who can be a rather humble star, apologized in advance for what she warned was “one BOAST post.” But really, who can blame her?

And, if Michael Myers comes back again, I for one want her on my side.

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