Our guest reviewer raves about the metaphorical subtext in this brilliant pandemic commentary.
— by Martin I. Tiburon
(WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS)
While on its surface “Halloween Kills” appears like a straightforward scary movie release for the coming holiday — I mean, heck, it’s right there in the title! But make no mistake, in the film, there is a lot more bubbling under the surface of the pools of blood shown on camera. There is a gusher of metaphors and the beating heart of this fright-fest is a message President Biden would approve of, costumed in a chiller of a thrill ride!
As the movie begins, we are treated to an oppressive scenario straight out of childhood nightmares. A home is on fire, for some reason, and as the firefighters address the blaze, a towering figure emerges and begins killing the first responders. This sets off a string of events that fit in with the fears evoked by the holiday, with Jamie Lee Curtis battling the baddie, and a surprise appearance by Anthony Michael Hall, famous as the hunky QB in “Johnny Be Good.” There is violence, and blood, and gore. But there is so much more.
A perk of being a prominent cinema reviewer is we are given a press kit from the studio, something not available to the general public. In it, there is a stirring quote from co-screenwriter Danny McBride (voice of Bomb in “Angry Birds: The Movie”). In this media packet, McBride mentions a tie-in for the script. “There’s all kinds of crazy crap, and stuff, happening with this virus, and we just thought it feeds into the fear and other nonsense and junk, so…yea.” And THIS is what opened my eyes.
As a film school student at Florida State University film school, we were taught about the concept of movie scripts carrying an overarching metaphorical message not readily apparent to those who have not attended film school. For instance, “The X-Men” franchise is about the oppression of minorities (I know, mind blown, right?!). Also, “Aliens” was a treatise on the Vietnam War, “Inception” is emblematic of filmmaking itself, and “Dumbo” was an animated representation of the space race with Russia. So, too, I came to realize, “Halloween Kills” serves as a representation of our contemporary pandemic strife.
Following McBride’s trenchant tip, I began to see the obvious ties. The most prevalent message is that “Halloween Kills” is a pro-vaxx, Biden administration message film for the ages. How so, you might ask? Look at how the protagonist of the film, Michael Meyers, wears a mask and is the de facto hero of this picture. Doubt this reality? Look at every victim portrayed in the motion picture; everyone who meets their demise, is unmasked and meets a brutal end.
Then there is Jamie Lee Curtis, who clearly serves as the anti-vaccine avatar. She is battling the pro-mask Meyers from the beginning, serving as the representation of the irrationally-driven opponent. There are more nuances than you realize, once privy to the messaging by the screenplay.
In the first act, there is a confounding flashback to 1978, which at first seems to be arbitrary, as it has no real place in the universe of the movie. But once the metaphorical intent is realized, you begin to see the reasoning. This represents the early breakout of the virus from the Wuhan laboratory, the unleashing of the fatal aspects of the virus before becoming the unstoppable force of death and carnage.
More plot points are an exact match to our nation’s plight. Anthony Michael Hall is the force behind a crowd of citizens rising up to the force, emblematic of today’s mandate resisters in the news. And the stories of city workers defying government protocols was reflected in that opening firefighter massacre. As this plot unfolds, we start to see the subtle brilliance in the screenplay, a perfect commentary on our current pandemic plight, delivered in a scary costume that is not immediately recognizable.
The object lesson is clear; those opposing the safety measures today are assuring their own demise, and it is delivered in an appropriately frightening package. Maybe this allegory is just what will be needed to convince people of the dangers and finally sign on to Joe Biden’s safety measures! One can only hope.
Editor’s note: this review is a parody piece. Direct all resulting scorn and praise to Brad Slager at the usual places.