All Hallows’ Eve has been haunted by wokeness since universities — from Yale to across the pond at my alma mater, the University of Kent — began banning “culturally insensitive” costumes at campus parties. The season’s scary movies aren’t immune from the specter of snowflakery and censorship either. The titular progenitor of the slasher genre, Halloween, has been an ailing franchise since the 1978 classic cemented the faceless “Shape” Michael Myers as one of Hollywood’s creepiest antagonists. (With Harvey Weinstein coming in a close second.) Halloween (2018) was marketed as a return to form for the ailing franchise. But with the recent release of Halloween Kills (2021), it’s obvious that the scariest thing on cinema screens this century is the way social justice is slaughtering entertainment.
Horror occupies a unique space in cinema: with its “Final Girl” trope meaning most films culminate in an inevitable showdown between an innocent female protagonist and the murderous monster resurrected in each unnecessary sequel. The parallel to this warrior princess are James Cameron’s “Mother Bear” heroines: Ripley in Aliens, and Sarah Connor in Terminator 2.
The progressive parasitism of blockbuster franchises has claimed quite the kill count in the last decade. Star Wars, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Charlie’s Angels, Disney, Doctor Who, DC Comics, and now Marvel have seen diminishing returns at the box office due to “all-female” reboots, and misandrist lectures delivered to the mostly-male fanbase. Now, the reaper of joy comes knocking for slashers, starting with the first: Halloween.
The 2018 installment beat its audience with social-justice snippets like Jason Vorhees handling a sleeping bag. Its male cast was portrayed as impotent, incompetent, and irresponsibly obsessed with firearms. The film’s female characters equated gun ownership with stupidity and overcompensation, while its lead actress called for an “assault weapons ban” on Twitter. These stereotypes smack of the “basket of deplorables” line which haunted the Hillary Clinton campaign; and the film validates this moral repugnancy which coastal elites look down on middle-class Americans with by killing all these rubes off.
By the conclusion, only an intergenerational triage of Final Girls are left alive to deliver the finishing fiery blow to the bogeyman trapped in their basement. Joining Jamie Lee Curtis’ “Laurie Strode” are her daughter and granddaughter, “Karen” and “Allyson.” Allyson’s high-school melodrama chews up screen time with the express purpose of disparaging the Second Amendment and lecturing men on #MeToo.
When questioned at the premier, Curtis and the co-writers/directors concurred that the #MeToo and Time’s Up trends were “very much a part of the conversation of the production process.” Take Oscar, for example, who attempts to kiss Allyson, before being righteously rebuffed with a lecture on consent. Allyson storms off in empowered defiance, leaving Oscar to sulk before being impaled through the throat by Myers. The script telegraphs Oscar’s “incel” heel-turn, and treats his murder as deserved with its proximity to his unwanted advance.
By predicating its characters on contemporary narratives, Halloween politicized the slasher genre, making murder selectively righteous, rather than universally terrifying. The film legitimizes some of Myers’ massacre as a vigilante act. One only need expand the category of political enemies the writers believe deserve death, and this becomes a far more sinister message.
And that is where this year’s Halloween Kills comes in.
Unsatisfied with calling its audience creepy unintelligent gun nuts, the sequel lets its plot get as lost as a scantily clad teen in a chase scene by dedicating half its runtime to obsessing over President Trump. A Guardian interview with Curtis compares Myers to “a Trumpian provocateur, only with a carving knife instead of Twitter.” The idea that Trump could ever be as quiet as the silent Shape shows the ludicrous level of Trump Derangement Syndrome infecting the film. Curtis then compared the mob hunting Myers to the unsupervised tour of Capitol Hill on January 6. Said mob is slaughtered by Myers at the end of the film, in a similarly morally instructive fashion to Oscar.
In short: like Netflix’s YOU endorsing slaughtering the unvaccinated, the new Halloween sequels believe MAGA hat patriots and men who fall afoul of #MeToo’s opaque standards should be open season for serial killers.
Wokeness won’t produce good stories because it treats characters as representatives of ideas on either side of the culture war, instead of as individuals. Horror kills these characters accordingly, heightening the rhetorical tensions that legitimize violence against political opponents.
But regurgitating woke talking points have not spared Halloween Kills from the wrath of clickbait journalism. Two victims of Myers’ double-digit body-count in the film are a gay married couple who moved into his childhood home. Michael Myers joins Pennywise in being canceled not for supernatural serial-killing, but over charges of homophobia. Even equal-opportunity axe-murderers can’t catch a break these days…
Hollywood parroting the Democrat establishment is par for the course. But, as artistic integrity wanes, so will reviews and revenue. Audiences have voted with their wallets and abandoned sanctimonious sequels to formerly profitable franchises. This Halloween, spare yourself the scare of a left-wing lecture in your slasher flick, and skip out on watching Halloween Kills in theaters.
Connor Tomlinson is the Policy Director for the British Conservation Alliance, and a Young Voices UK Associate Contributor. He has a regular by-lines in American Spectator & 1828, and appearances on talkRadio & GB News. Follow him on Twitter: @Con_Tomlinson