"I'm your singing tel-a-gram!": Michael Myers (Nick Castle) visits Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in David Gordon Greens Halloween .…
Trauma is not neat and quite manageable; It’s not easy to diagnose, it does not disappear on its own, and its long-lasting effects can touch them around us. In the latest sequel to the long and winding Halloween series, the trauma plays an important role in famous final girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). You may remember her from the original John Carpenter 1978 movie, which saw her screaming, jumping, discovered her friends brutally murdered and then a serial killer went to protect the children she was babysitting.
The 2018 sequel picks up several decades later, and while it largely conforms to the retro tension of the “serial killer of the loose” genre, it makes something interesting about Laurie’s previous experience. In this film, trauma and survivors’ debt does not break under the carpet, which often happens in consequences. Instead, Laurie’s experience embodies her behavior and her relationship with both her loved ones.
Horror movies have been easily played with a traumatic trauma for dramatic effects before. In Neil Marshall’s The Descent Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) is trying to cope with the loss of her family in an accident by reconnecting with friends and taking a girls trip. The affairs are terribly wrong with the group’s crying adventure, and her daughter’s memory and her survivors blame her when she turns off cannibalist monsters. Wes Cravens Scream presents Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) struggling to cope with her murder’s murder. When a similar assassin begins to attack his classmates, it leads to her worst fear back to her doorstep.
However, in this present Halloween directed by David Gordon Green, trauma is not merely plotting; It is the explicit subject of the film. Laurie has become a virtual hermit that relies on a world that saw her more like a freak show than a survivor. She’s quick to turn off journalists who want to make a sensational story out of her experience. In this timeline, jumping over all other sequelers, Laurie’s mind is about serial killer Michael Myers returns. She teaches her daughter how to survive, how to shoot, and when looking for protection in the family panic room. She tries to inoculate her daughter from fully experiencing her trauma, like when young women learn to go to their cars with their keys between their fingers. This Halloween unfolds to explore the emotional cost of seeing a monster in every shadow.
Laurie insists that her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) learns to protect herself and control around every corner causing a rift in their relationship: Karen regrets her mother to survival education and to expose her to secondary paranoia. She settles for a passive man and refuses to train her own daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) as her mother grew her. She considers naively that her mother’s trauma is her lonely and tries to actively distinguish Laurie from spending time with her grandson. In the movie, trying to break the bike for fear leaves them vulnerable to the man who caused the fear in the first place.
We see why Karen so heavily pushed Laurie into a particularly excited dinner scene: A visibly shaken Laurie turns out late to meet the family in a restaurant that bothers them pleasantly. Granddaughter Allyson tries to calm her, while daughter Karen becomes confrontational, angry that her mother has shown herself at all. Curtis performance here moves – she is clearly uncomfortable within a few seconds after sitting down at the table. She continues to look past the other nervous, while Karen’s body language telegraphs her frustration against the challenges of taking care of someone who is struggling with mental problems.
Trauma manifests in ways we can not control, often sometimes when it is not advisable to cry or scream. Laurie’s instability at these moments is palpable and helps explain why she took so drastic action against a (probably supernaturally driven) killer.
Laurie’s story could have gone in some ways. She could have buried her trauma and revived it only in nightmares. She could have moved to another part of the world. If it’s a disappointment to see Laurie Strode turned around here, to a gun-toting survivalist in a standard revenge plot, actress’s own words can shed some light on that decision.
By Austin’s amazing Festscreening last month, Curtis crowd told us “Laurie Strode went back to school on November 1 with a bandage on her arm. She left school on the 31st this dreamy, intellectual, go-to-college girl. come back on November 1st, a freak, where everyone talked about her. No one helped her. And that’s what I think was the reason behind going back to the original trauma. And I’m really glad they did. “
That would have been nice if more women could have had something in the narrative lane Laurie has taken, instead of the film’s completely male screenwriting trio by Green, Danny McBride and John Fradley. However, this Halloween highlights a question that horror movies often ignore: How is a genre that releases so much violence on its characters, grabs post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma and sadness? Horror makers will always terrorize their characters at the moment – but here we hope to see more movies willing to explore the long-term cost of living with fear every day.
While this recent Halloween may not do all that it turns out to be doing, it shows how hard it may be to move on from the traumas past ghosts.