Support Us!
$2
$3
$5
Powered by
Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!

SEE THE NEWEST CONTENT BELOW!

SEE THE NEWEST CONTENT BELOW!

Monday, October 18, 2021

How the ‘Halloween’ Young Adult Novels from the ’90s Surprisingly Parallel the Current Films

I have a deep love of horror novelizations and tie-ins. I’ve written about them several times. Anything that expands the story beyond the films, even for a franchise as largely simplistic as Halloween or Friday the 13th, I’m there. That love started in a very specific place, when I walked into Mr. Paperback with my dad in 1998 and walked out with a copy of Halloween: The Old Myers Place, the second in a young adult trilogy of novels by author Kelly O’Rourke. These books, published in 1997, comprised a series of Michael Myers tales aimed at young adult readers. The first, Halloween: The Scream Factory, centers on Michael returning to Haddonfield to terrorize a local haunted house attraction. The second, Halloween: The Old Myers Place is about the girl who has just moved into the Myers house and become an unknowing target of Michael’s murderous rage. The third, Halloween: The Mad House, sees a student documentary crew journey to the abandoned Smith’s Grove Sanitarium to see if they can unlock the secret behind Michael’s evil.

I wasn’t too lost starting with the middle chapter, thankfully, because it was a self-contained story centering on a whole new cast of characters, and the references to Michael having supposedly caused a massacre and disappeared again the previous year only added to the mystique of the character in my young mind. I read that book over and over again, gobsmacked even as a kid by the fact that I’d somehow gotten my hands on an actual Michael Myers novel. I even did a book report on it for school, which did not go over well. 

Over time, my love for that book in particular has not lessened. It’s a teenage soap opera, it reads like so many other teen books of the era, and yet there is Michael Myers injected right into the heart of it. And even though it’s a YA book, he is not toned down for younger readers. More than anything, though, even after all this time, I am still shocked by how gory these are. There’s a passage in The Old Myers Place that describes a girl’s fingernails snapping off on a tombstone that deeply affected me as a kid and still makes me incredibly squeamish to read even now. Unfortunately, though, these books are pretty much lost to time. Whenever they pop up online, the prices are astronomical. To this day, I’ve still only managed to get my hands on two out of the three. But the two that I have I re-read often, especially this time of year. And despite the fact that I should have them memorized, every now and then you pick up on things you never noticed before. Even, or in this case especially in Halloween young adult novels.

On this most recent re-read, I started to pick up on parallels between these books and the current phase of the films. This started in the most obvious place, in that like the new movies, these books were only directly following the events of the original Halloween. Admittedly, they’re much more subtle about it than the 2018 movie, and there are no returning characters. There are even references to previous massacres, one which sounds almost like Halloween II, but doesn’t match up, and one vague return to Haddonfield in the early ‘80s. The events of the first film are the only thing clearly described, even on the back cover of each book: “Many years ago, in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois, a boy named Michael Myers murdered his sister with a knife. Later, he returned to town on Halloween night to kill again. The only ones who knew how to stop him were his doctor and a teenage girl. Now it is time for Michael Myers to return to Haddonfield once again. And this time, there is no one who can stop him.” 

What I began to notice more and more, though, were the connections that went well beyond simply the framework of only making concrete references to the original. There are much larger parallels between these books and the current films, some of them incredibly specific, and I think those parallels are definitely worth diving into.

For the most part, Halloween: The Old Myers Place reads like any other teen girl book of the ‘90s. Mary used to be popular in her old school in Los Angeles, but now she’s moved to the small town of Haddonfield where nothing exciting ever happens, doing her best to fit in with the small group of cool kids, especially superstar heartbreaker Josh. But she also briefly dated Jeff over the summer, who is made fun of by the other kids because he’s poor and lives by the cemetery. As Mary keeps up her hip appearance, she’s also worried that her goth cousin Julifer will out her for her own counterculture past. That’s a ‘90s teen novel in a nutshell. Of course, it also happens that the house Mary’s moved into is the old Myers place, and that she and her friends have become the targets of an unkillable boogeyman. In terms of the overall plot, there’s not a lot here that really links to 2018’s Halloween, except that it returns Michael Myers to a motiveless enigma. Which is impressive to think about, considering the Michael-stalks-family-members momentum of the franchise was still firmly ingrained at the time.

Aside from the general continuity-free approach, let’s look at the ending of Halloween: The Old Myers Place. At the end of that book, Michael is trapped underneath the Myers house and left to burn, while Mary and Jeff make their way outside, believing the evil to finally be vanquished. Of course, Michael survives, escaping the fire minutes later while our heroes are none the wiser. This is nearly identical to what happens at the end of the 2018 Halloween, swapping the Myers house for Laurie’s compound, with that being much more of an elaborate trap sprung on Michael than a moment of desperate opportunity as it had been in The Old Myers Place. More than that, carrying on into the next sequel, Halloween: The Mad House, Michael’s mask is burned as a result of that fire, and he wears that burned mask from the beginning of The Mad House until the end. The parallels here are obvious. 

Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Kills, directed by David Gordon Green.

The Mad House is unique in that it is one of the only—if not the only—Halloween tie-ins to not actually be set on Halloween. Instead, it follows a high school video crew looking to make their own documentary about Michael Myers by returning to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium (now abandoned) in hopes of finally uncovering what exactly drove him to kill. They’re amateurs investigating something that no one has ever solved, looking to answer questions that no psychiatrist or journalist has ever successfully answered. In that respect, they are very similar to the podcasters of Halloween 2018. While Aaron and Dana certainly aren’t high schoolers, they’re not celebrated journalists, either. They’re like most podcasters, amateurs with an audience. This setup, especially with the aspect of it being filmed, also bears some similarity to Halloween: Resurrection, with that movie’s characters engaging in an internet broadcast in the Myers house. 

There’s another element of The Mad House that is definitely worth mentioning, though. Through the characters’ research, they find the notes of another doctor, other than Loomis, named Dr. Blackwell, who worked with Michael mostly in secret. Blackwell was sort of the anti-Loomis. Whereas Loomis, according to his monologue in the original film, spent years trying to reach Michael before admitting what he was, this other doctor was conducting his own bizarre, hidden experiments, feeding into that darkness in Michael in attempt to understand it. This bears some strong similarity to the 2018 film’s Dr. Sartain. He took over as Michael’s doctor after Loomis, but unlike Loomis who was horrified of Michael’s evil, Sartain is fascinated by it to the point that he attempts to take a human life just to better understand how Michael feels. He is just as obsessed as Loomis was, but expresses it in an entirely different way. 

Halloween The Mad House

In David Gordon Green’s Halloween, Sartain feels no remorse for his actions, and continues to be driven by his own obsession right up until the moment Michael stomps on his face and explodes his head like a watermelon. While both characters essentially boil down to the concept of “evil Dr. Loomis,” Blackwell and Sartain do end up having very different arcs. The Mad House sees its main characters searching Smith’s Grove for evidence of the doctor’s ghost. And they do find him, but not as a ghost. He still lives inside the abandoned hospital, consumed by guilt, and hoping to find a way to stop Michael after feeling at least partly responsible for unleashing him to begin with.

One thing that really fascinates me, reading these books with the current movies in mind, is that it’s not just the bigger swings and larger story beats that carry over from one to the other. There are some much more specific set pieces as well. One of the most tense moments in the 2018 Halloween finds Laurie in a darkened room inside her compound, knowing Michael is in the room with her, but being unable to see him as he hides amongst a group of mannequins. In Halloween: The Old Myers Place, there is a particularly strong sequence in which our main teens sneak into the Haddonfield mall, which is empty as it’s awaiting its grand opening. Two characters, naturally, sneak off to have sex.

They make their way into a clothing store and start making out, surrounded by white, blank-faced mannequins all around them in the dark. The girl starts to realize that there is someone in the room with them, and eventually Michael bursts out from among the mannequins and kills them both. It is, frankly, amazing that such a specific beat happens in both a ‘90s teen tie-in book and a massively successful franchise revival. It’s incredible. 

Halloween 2018

I do not think that David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley or anyone else involved in creating the 2018 movie or its sequel read these books for inspiration—though I can’t stress enough how fantastic it would be if they did. It wouldn’t be the first time something like that had happened, either. Elements from the Halloween novelization by Richard Curtis made it into Halloween II (Michael and Judith’s middle names, Samhain, and the “You don’t know what death is” exchange between Loomis and the Wallace’s neighbor), the plot of a 1990 Puppet Master comic formed the basis for Puppet Master III , and the tie-in novels The Crow: The Lazarus Heart and The Crow: Wicked Prayer received full-blown adaptations as direct-to-video sequels, the former as The Crow: Salvation. But I emphatically do not think that is what happened here. 

In that respect, it is even more amazing that all of these connections are there unintentionally and that these parallels are purely happenstance. This is the happiest kind of happy accident. I wouldn’t exactly call these new Halloween movies adaptations, especially since they center so much on the older returning characters, but they do keep the spirit of those books intact. It’s felt in the films’ approach to the teenage characters and their relationships as well as the over-the-top and often very mean-spirited gore. I know how ridiculous that will sound to anyone who hasn’t read these books, but it’s true. The gore is another connection that can’t be overlooked. There’s a scene in The Mad House in which Michael hooks a character up to an electroshock machine as the rest of the group struggle to turn the power on, so that when they do flip the switch, they are the ones who wind up electrocuting her to death. That absolutely matches the cynical energy of anything in Halloween Kills.

I will always recommend tracking these books down, but I’m aware that it’s nearly impossible. More than anything, I just want people to know about them, because they’re already a forgotten corner of Halloween lore, despite the fact that their influence—be it intentional or otherwise—remains as strong as ever.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/editorials/3687814/halloween-young-adult-novels-laid-groundwork-current-films/

No comments:

Post a Comment


Support Us!
$2
$3
$5
Powered by
Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!



The Top 10 Streaming Scary Movies of Today (According to Netflix)

Given that Netflix really is the master of their own data, how many times a viewer streams The Ridiculous 6, or what films don't get watched all the way straight through, or how many times someone watches an episode of Bill Nye Saves the World, it was easy for them to come up with the list based on just one percentage: 70 percent.

Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!


Top 5 Original Horror Movies of 2020 (Even During a Pandemic)


3 Frightening Clowns Not from the Underworld or Magical Hell


3 Viral Videos Proving Spiders Are Still Scary as Hell


Stephen King Adores These 22 Horror Films


3 Super Stories on 'Halloween' and Horror That'll Make You Want to Wear the Mask

xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#'