To everyone else Halloween might be over, but in our neighborhood, Halloween never ends.

Welcome back to Mister Smith's Drive-In, Neighbor. I hope you've recovered from your holiday celebrations and maybe watching some of our 13 Movies of Halloween. On Halloween afternoon, I betrayed my drive-in principles and left Callie at home to go to a sit-down, indoor theater for "Halloween Kills."

But before that, I rewatched 2018's "Halloween," a movie I didn't care for when I watched it on opening night. To be fair, it was the second half of a double feature with the original "Halloween," which did the 2018 sequel no favors. At the time it felt like a middle-of-the-road slasher that kept getting in its own way with side characters and unnecessary humor when it should have been ramping up the dread like its predecessor.

We aren't reviewing the predecessor, though. We're talking about David Gordon Green's vision for the "Halloween" story, and giving "Halloween" another run helped me see the bigger picture, I think.

"Halloween 2018" is a direct sequel to the original, forty years after Halloween Night 1978. Ignore all of the other movies in the "Halloween" franchise, unfortunately including the masterpiece that is "Halloween III: Season of the Witch." In 2018, the original Final Girl Laurie Strode is a tough-as-nails survivalist, having spent the intervening years on her compound prepping for what she believes is the inevitable return of Michael Myers.

I really loved this new iteration of Laurie Strode. Of course in the original "Halloween," Jamie Lee Curtis showed us what it looks like to have your mind coming apart during an unrelenting night of terror; in the sequel, she shows us the result. How this performance didn't get a nomination for one of those normie film awards escapes me (oh, right: it's a horror movie and so it doesn't deserve to be given serious thought).

"Halloween 2018" tells the story of what happens when the sanitarium holding Michael Myers decides to try transporting him to a different hospital on Halloween Night again. If they did it right, there would be no movie, and so after another escape he's back in Haddonfield and out for blood.

One of the things that irked me initially was that this time around, Michael is after anyone he can get his hands on, unlike the stalker Michael that fixates on Laurie and her small group of friends after Laurie is in the wrong place (Michael's childhood home) at the wrong time (Halloween morning). It felt like "Halloween 2018" wasn't playing by the rules. But this movie has its own rules, and one is that Michael is a weapon of mass destruction for Haddonfield. He's been out of the serial killing game for forty years, so time to cut it loose.

His warpath through Haddonfield takes him through a cast of characters numbering around one billion, each one getting their own scene. This brings up that unnecessary humor I already mentioned. I think I get it now, though; we're fleshing out Haddonfield and its residents, which pays off big time in "Halloween Kills." I liked how these scenes bumped up the stakes, giving us just enough time to enjoy these characters' companies before they get that ol' Michael Myers shepherd's crook while also demonstrating the inhuman strength and brutality of Michael at the same time.

"Halloween 2018" isn't for everyone, maybe least of all die-hard enthusiasts for the original, like me and Callie. But try letting it stand on its own and you have some compelling characters in a fun, familiar story that's filled with some really nasty kills and an excellent final standoff in Laurie's compound. We give it three stars.

Now, on to "Halloween Kills," a movie whose reviews have become litmus tests for how nasty strangers can be to other strangers online.

Right out of the gate, I love the ambition of these movies: "Halloween Kills" picks up in the action of "Halloween 2018" and takes us through roughly the next two hours of Halloween Night. With one installment left in this trilogy, they have to conclude the story before morning on November 1.

And what a story it is: "Halloween Kills" submits the idea that Michael Myers is in fact not human, but maybe evil personified. That explains how he survives the raging fire trap at the end of "Halloween 2018," coming out of Laurie's burning house swinging at first responders. Michael walking out of the inferno relatively unscathed is an image that should go down as an all-timer in horror history.

That also explains how just his presence in Haddonfield incites an angry mob almost as bent on destruction as Michael himself. Maybe more terrifying than Michael Myers is the scene in which the townspeople corner another mental patient loose from the same asylum as he begs for help, the mob either not knowing or not caring that he isn't the man they're after. Haven't these people ever seen "Frankenstein," or even "Beauty and the Beast?" Angry mobs do not typically end well.

Not all the residents of Haddonfield are bad though. The wine enthusiast couple that fly drones around their house have a great scene early on, a foregone conclusion to the audience but still a nice moment of levity before another thunderclap of violence. And Big John and Little John, current residents of the old Myers house, deserve some kind of continuation to their story if not their own prequel. Their scenes hit that perfect ratio of horror to comedy; you can't bring yourself to look as they move around their old dark house, looking for the intruder hiding somewhere inside, but you also can't help but laugh at their game of Marco Polo, constantly checking in with each other with a "Big John?" "Little John" call and response.

It's a bold move and maybe an unintentional nod to "Halloween II," which again is not part of these movies' world, to sideline Laurie Strode in the hospital with injuries from "Halloween 2018." She barely leaves her room, instead delivering the movie's big questions to her hospital roommate (another Haddonfield Halloween victim in more ways than one) while the mob rises outside. It's all about as subtle as a concrete saw to the head (which we do get to see in this movie), but in a world where seemingly everyone that isn't being murdered is part of a screaming gang carrying improvised weapons, it computes somehow.

For me, it worked. I'll give "Halloween Kills" four stars. I love the scope of the story in this series, the oddball characters that fill it out, and of course all those creatively nasty kills. I'm looking forward to spending a few more pre-dawn hours in Haddonfield in "Halloween Ends."

I can't offer a counterargument to anyone that disliked "Halloween Kills." It's as over the top as I'd heard before going in. Between its deliberations on the nature of evil and its hundreds of gruesome kills, it's sort of a movie about everything and nothing at the same time.

I can offer one suggestion though: please be kind to each other, in our neighborhood and in all the other neighborhoods out there. There's been a lot of ugliness between fans and non-fans of "Halloween Kills" since its release, and before I sign off let me remind you: you never know what someone else is going through; always be kind.

Happy Halloween, Neighbor.

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